HARWICH – Eric Reyzelman could feel the vibration of his phone next to his head as he lay in his hotel bed in Ontario, California.
It was June 26th, the day before Reyzelman’s birthday, and he woke up at 6 a.m. It was a text by Harwich manager Steve Englert. The coach had a void in his squad and he wanted Reyzelman to fill it.
So the pitcher packed its things and began a 45-minute drive to John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, California. On the way there, he called his parents to bring them the good news, and they put him on a flight to Chicago, where he spent the night. And on June 27, his birthday, Reyzelman flew to Boston that morning, where he rented a car and joined the Mariners later that day.
“I just wanted to get everything done as quickly as possible and come here without wasting time before he finds another pitcher to take this place,” Reyzelman said on Sunday. “And, man, that was an amazing opportunity; (I) will always be grateful for it because it is something I will remember for the rest of my life. ”
Since joining the Mariners, Reyzelman has been one of the best throwers in the team and the league. In five starts he is ninth in the league in ERA (2.66) and second in strikeouts (36). He continued a dominant summer Sunday at Harwichs (19.11.4) 11: 7 win over Brewster (21.10.3) at Whitehouse Field.
In five innings, he scored seven strikeouts while running only one and giving up two earned runs, which was enough to attribute the victory to him.
“I think he opened a lot of eyes for the scouts,” said Englert. “He just walks in, he fills it up, he attacks and delves into games.”
While Reyzelman found success and even a new home for the upcoming college season on the hill, his trip to Harwich this summer was a steep climb, well into his sophomore year of De La high school. can be predated Salle High in Concord, California.
Despite becoming the school’s first baseball team, Reyzelman was struck off the team in both his sophomore and junior years during probationary periods.
“It can be attributed to a lot of things, but I put it down to not understanding how to have a work ethic enough to play baseball at such a high level,” Reyzelman said. “The maturity level wasn’t there yet, and (it was) a few tough years, mentally. The parents wanted me to stop playing. The family told me it was time to hang it up. ”
But Reyzelman got out in his senior year and eventually made it. He joined a roster that ranked second in the country for the third time in a row by MaxPreps.
Reyzelman finished the year with an 8-0 record and 0.55 ERA and found himself in a rotation that eventually included third-round MLB draft pick Kyle Harrison.
From there, Reyzelman would go to San Francisco University. As a freshman, he made five appearances and three starts for the Dons, but ended the season in March 2020 through surgery on Tommy John before the pandemic shortened the USF season.
Despite the setback, Reyzelman’s experience of surgery and rehab was an eye opening.
“(It) takes a mental toll, takes your maturity to another level,” he said. “Simply being able to sit outside for a year and experience the game through a different lens. I definitely believe that I wouldn’t have the opportunity to be out here if all the dominoes hadn’t fallen like they did. ”
The next domino to fall for Reyzelman was the decision to enter the transfer portal after his sophomore season at USF, where he set a 3-3 record in 10 starts with 39 strikeouts and an ERA of 6.17.
After the season, Reyzelman initially had a Cape contract with Wareham, but after that failed he went south to Montclair, California for a month to work with Dave Coggin, a former MLB pitcher and founder of PFA Baseball.
“I think this was maybe the most influential month of my life,” said Reyzelman. “Just understand how to take things into your own hands.”
The pitcher spent this month alone in his Ontario hotel room, away from family and friends, and “just put your head down” and worked, he said. He spent three hours each day, five days a week training before going to Coggin’s pitching facility to work on arm trails and the ability to comfortably throw punches.
“I came on the fastball that month at 87.89 (mph), couldn’t throw punches, and had a lot of arm pain, shoulder pain,” Reyzelman said. “This month has been great because I had the right guidance, the right people around me, and I was lucky enough to take my game to the next level.”
After his month in Montclair, Reyzelman received this fateful text from Englert.
While Englert’s text was a moment he’d been waiting for, Reyzelman got more good news 10 days later when LSU made him an official offer on July 5, the day after his first start in the Cape League.
The opportunity in Baton Rouge was one that came suddenly, Reyzelman said, but it felt right.
And it wouldn’t have happened without his time in the Cape.
“If I didn’t have the opportunity to be up here, none of this would happen,” Reyzelman said. “So I attribute everything to the people around me and only to the people who were hopeful enough to take a risk with someone who really didn’t have much.”
For Harwich: Orleans Firebirds at 7pm on August 2nd at Eldredge Park in Orleans.
For Brewster: Hyannis Harbor Hawks at 4pm August 2nd at Stony Brook Field in Brewster.
Adam Cole can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @colereporter.