CHATHAM, Mass. – Imagine you just finished running a marathon when you hear about a different marathon taking place in a separate region of the country, so you quickly gather your things and prepare to immediately run another 26.2-mile race.
Sounds pretty nutty, right?
That scenario is similar to what college baseball’s best and brightest prospects experience each year. Not long after they complete the grind of their respective college seasons, many embark on another slog of a season in one of the various collegiate summer leagues that feature wood bats.
Rising sophomore Cayden Wallace is no different.
After receiving freshman All-American accolades following a debut season at Arkansas in which he posted a team-high 67 hits, the Arkansas baseball outfielder is cutting his teeth in the Cape Cod Baseball League in Massachusetts, considered by many to be the premier summer league in the nation.
“I’ve enjoyed it,” Wallace said after his team, the Bourne Braves, dropped a recent 5-2 decision to the Chatham Anglers.
“My host family is great. It’s been fun, this is a beautiful place. It’s definitely a different place than Arkansas—the weather is a lot cooler, but it’s been a lot of fun up here.”
Cayden Wallace Recalls Arkansas Baseball Season
The Greenbrier, Ark. native was a key contributor for the Hogs during his first season in Fayetteville.
Wallace hit .279 with 44 RBIs while starting 60 of the team’s 63 games, and the 14 home runs he hit tied the program’s record for most homers hit by a freshman, a mark previously set by Heston Kjerstad in 2018.
When asked about his freshman season and what went right, the humble outfielder is quick to praise his Razorback teammates, particularly the veterans on the team that made him feel so comfortable while making the transition from high school to college.
“The older guys really took me in,” Cayden Wallace told BOAS. “Even when I was going through a struggle, they were there and they picked me up. And when I was doing well, they were still there patting me on the back. It was just an easy atmosphere to have success because the coaching staff and the players are just great people.”
Still, even though he experienced so much personal success, the fashion in which the Arkansas baseball season ended still stings Wallace. He’s already looking forward to what the Hogs might accomplish next year, however.
“It ended and it wasn’t what we wanted, but we have no regrets,” he said. We gave it our all—pitching and hitting—and we had an unreal season as a team. I’m looking forward to this year.”
“We’re going to reload and I think we’ll be just as good, if not better.”
Cayden Wallace in Cape League
Wallace has found himself in a good situation this summer. Similar to the way Arkansas dominated for much of the spring, the outfielder’s Bourne Braves squad has been the class of the Cape League so far.
The team opened the season with a 9-0-2 record before finally suffering its first loss—a 2-0 defeat at the hands of the Cotuit Kettleers—on July 5. Bourne had already been clicking before Wallace’s arrival on July 2, though his addition has undoubtedly made the club an even stronger championship contender.
The Razorback is hitting .290 with two homers and 14 RBIs through 18 games. When asked about the success the Braves have had thus far, however, Cayden Wallace is quick to credit the team’s pitching staff, which leads the Cape League in multiple categories, including runs (64) and earned runs allowed (57) and walks surrendered (46).
In all, Bourne’s pitchers have combined for a 2.51 ERA.
“Our pitching staff has been unreal since I’ve been here and I know before I got here they were still really good,” Wallace said.
“They just shove, honestly, just low scoring and they let us hit and score runs. They’re just a good staff.”
Although there are many differences between Arkansas and Cape Cod, which is nestled along the Atlantic Ocean on the edge of Massachusetts’ southern border, one of key change Wallace has had to made on the diamond is the switch from aluminum to wood bats.
While the transition can be brutal for some hitters, Wallace has thrived at the plate.
“I feel like I’ve always liked swinging wood, so I was kind of looking forward to swinging wood again when I got here,” he said.
Even if Wallace might be feeling a little tired as he nears the finish line of his second marathon season of the year, the Arkansas standout said he has enjoyed his time in the Cape League.
And, as was the case when he joined Arkansas this spring, Wallace said he has received another warm welcome after joining Bourne as the new guy.
“This team is just like our Arkansas team—we’ve just been mixing really well and having a lot of fun,” Wallace said. “It’s really fun and the competition is really good up here.”