HARWICH – Whitehouse Field is a familiar place for Sean Gould. He’s been there as a bat boy for the Harwich Mariners, and crouched behind the plate as the catcher for the Monomoy boys varsity baseball team. But this summer the soon-to-be junior has a special gig at the ballpark: bullpen catcher for the home team.
Gould started playing baseball when he was just a toddler in his Harwich backyard, developing an immediate affinity for the sport.
“I started tee-ball when I was three years old,” Gould said. “It's always felt different from other sports.”
Gould, who also plays soccer for the Sharks, said the major difference between baseball and other sports lies in its scoring opportunities.
“When you're playing other sports like soccer or basketball, you can run the clock out,” he said. “In baseball you have to give the other team a chance to score. It's a pretty fair sport.”
Though Gould likes playing soccer, baseball is where his heart lies.
“I just enjoy it more than playing other sports,” he said. “I'd come back from practice and I couldn't wait until the next one.”
Gould’s passion runs so deep, he spends his time away from the ball field honing his skills at the Dugout in Hyannis, a baseball and softball program where players can further develop their strengths through various training opportunities.
It was during a workout at the facility that Gould caught the eye of Geoff Phillips, a catching coach who had spent the summer as an assistant coach with the Chatham Anglers,5 before joining the Brewster Whitecaps after the Anglers were eliminated from the playoffs. Phillips asked Gould if he’d like to step in as bullpen catcher for the Whitecaps during their playoff run, which ultimately ended with a league championship. Gould signed on immediately, realizing the potential value of the experience.
When the Mariners learned that a local player was lending a hand to the Brewster team, Gould said they expressed their interest in bringing him aboard for the 2018 season.
“Once they found out I was with Brewster, they were like, ‘you should do it here,’” Gould said. He agreed and this season has helped various pitchers warm up at a number of games. “I've probably done seven or eight games. They're all really nice. They'll grab me and ask to throw with me to get some work in before the game in case they have to go in.”
Gould said the time spent in the company of some of the country's best college baseball players has helped him gain perspective, and has also added new tools to his repertoire.
“I have learned a few things about catching, like when it's appropriate to do certain things, and a lot more about how college baseball works,” Gould said. “What it takes for these guys to compete at a high level and how much work they put in. I think in general when you move up to the next level it gets harder because you have more to learn and more to know. You understand the game better. The competition gets better.”
Gould has been putting some of what he's learned to work as catcher for Lower Cape Babe Ruth, part of the Cape Cod Senior Babe Ruth program.
“I've been trying tips that I've learned from the guys and it's seemed to work so far, so I've got to give them credit,” Gould said.
He also gives kudos to the folks at the Dugout.
“I give a lot of credit to how much I've improved over the years to the Dugout. Ryan Kinski is the owner and I've learned a lot from him,” said Gould. “And obviously Steve Wilson from Monomoy. He's a great guy and a great coach.”
Wilson, longtime head coach of the Monomoy squad, who also coached Harwich High, said the chance for Gould to work with the Mariners is invaluable.
“It is a great opportunity for a high school player to get to know, observe and learn from players, and experience the coaching and collegiate culture in the Cape League,” he said. “In years past, Harwich grads Dillon Degroff caught for Chatham and John Charves caught for Y-D.”
Gould is also grateful for his parents, Dave and Jen, and their tireless efforts regarding their son's passion for baseball.
“They support me and try to get me wherever I need to be whenever I need to be there,” said Gould. “They support me in whatever I need to do. It's definitely appreciated.”
After getting a taste of summer baseball with the Mariners, Gould acknowledges his own desire to someday play for the Harwich home team.
“That would be nice,” he said. “It would definitely be a cool experience to play baseball for a summer on the Cape.”