For Stevens Grad, a Big Step Up
Blewitt Adjusts at Southern New Hampshire
Lebanon Post 22 second baseman Cam Blewitt throws to first for a double play against Concord Post 21 last month. Blewitt spent the spring on the Southern New Hampshire University junior varsity. (Valley News - James M. Patterson)
Claremont — When Cam Blewitt was playing through the youth programs in Claremont, it was quickly noticed that he had a chance to be a special athlete. At Stevens High, Blewitt was all-state in three sports, but baseball was where he excelled, and baseball was what he liked the most.
With that in mind, Blewitt spent his early teenage summers playing AAU baseball, before moving on to junior American Legion baseball at Contoocook and senior Legion baseball at Lebanon. All this was in preparation for the next step — college baseball.
After some deliberation, Blewitt chose to attend Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester. To the unknown, staying in the Granite State to play NCAA Division II baseball may not seem like a big step, but it is. This season, the Penmen were 35-19 and had three pitchers selected in the recent Major League Baseball draft.
Of the 35 or so that made the varsity, only four were from New Hampshire — but not Blewitt, who landed on the junior varsity team.
“I kind of expected what I got,” said Blewitt. “I did my research. I knew I probably would not make the varsity.”
While Blewitt did know what to expect talent-wise as a freshman, there were some things he didn’t expect.
“In high school we practiced maybe an hour and a half a day; at Southern New Hampshire it was four or five hours a day,” he said.
When the team first held its tryouts, Blewitt knew that when he watched the other players that he was not going to be a varsity player right away.
“There were 60-70 kids trying out, and they all were good. And (the pitchers) threw in the 90s with stuff,” he said. “It was unbelievable. The highest I saw in high school was maybe in the 80s.”
Blewitt was a shortstop for the junior varsity and finished the season hitting about .250. After being No. 3 or No. 4 batter in high school he usually was deep in the order in college.
The Northeast-10 Conference, the league in which the Penmen play, is also a wooden bat league; Blewitt used aluminum bats in high school. But Bill Blewitt, Cam’s father who attended several junior varsity games, didn’t think that was a factor because in Legion ball, wooden bats are used. What affect the wooden bats had with Blewitt perhaps was in the distance the balls he hit traveled.
“He didn’t many long balls,” Bill Blewitt said.
While the SNHU coaches want Blewitt to wait on pitches, they also want him to get bigger, even though he is 6-foot-2 and weighs 200 pounds.
“They told him they want more muscle for more power,” Bill Blewitt said.
“You know I wasn’t even one of the bigger guys,” Cam Blewitt said. “Not even close. Just average size.”
Blewitt has been told that if a lot of things go right, including returning to school for fall baseball bulked up, there might be a chance he could make the varsity.
What he does know is that he wants to play baseball in college and that might mean transferring to a Division III school such as Keene State College. But for now, Blewitt is going to do what the coaches have asked, get bigger and keep working hard.
“I’m still motivated,” he said.
In high school, Blewitt hit .525 as a sophomore and .508 as a senior. He was all state his last three years at Stevens.
“Cam was a pleasure to coach,” said Stevens baseball coach Paul Silva. “When he took the field he was all business and had the desire to excel at whatever sport he was playing.”
One of the few successful New Hampshire players on the SNHU varsity is Franklin’s Derrick Sylvester, who started out at Boston College and transferred to SNHU. This spring, he had a 6-2 record with a 1.34 ERA with 71 strikeouts in 73 innings.
Until 2001 SNHU was known as the New Hampshire College of Accounting and Commerce. Hence the nickname — the Penmen.