The Student News Site of St. John Fisher University

The Student News Site of St. John Fisher University

The Student News Site of St. John Fisher University

The Student News Site of St. John Fisher University

The Student News Site of St. John Fisher University

The Student News Site of St. John Fisher University

For the Love of the Game: St. John Fisher Athletes in Summer Collegiate Baseball Leagues

Meeker jokingly asks for the ball as he got a hit after being in a slump

The trials and tribulations of amateur baseball leagues often paint a better picture of what baseball is truly about, rather than what’s happening on the playing surface. The bus rides, small towns and living situations help show what seasons are really like for ballplayers honing their skills. 

One Fisher baseball player found himself in a town called Auburn, New York, and more specifically, “in an old Convent.” Meanwhile, another was living in a St. Bonaventure University townhouse. Those men are Dom Guccia and Jake Meeker, who took their talents to the Auburn Doubledays and Olean Oilers playing baseball in the summer.

The Doubledays and Oilers both have notable histories, as they were originally a part of the New York-Penn League, a level of Minor League Baseball classified as “Single A-Short Season.” Both teams have seen many successful ballplayers appear for their respective franchises, including Juan Soto and Billy Wagner for the Doubledays, as well as Bobby Richardson and Ralph Branca for the Oilers. 

The Doubledays do some not so serious poses for one of their team pictures

Auburn was in the New York-Penn League from 1958 up until the league’s demise in 2020, while Olean participated from 1957 to 1962. The Oilers joined the New York Collegiate Baseball League (NYCBL) in 2012 after a 50-year hiatus, and the Doubledays opted to become a part of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League (PGCBL). Both leagues are currently comprised of teams with rosters of college baseball players and are not affiliated with Major League Baseball (MLB).

Guccia was a member of the Doubledays for the summer of 2022, and Meeker was a member of the Oilers in 2022 and 2023. Often, college players can join summer leagues through personal connections or they can apply online through a league’s website. Guccia joined through Coach Potter at Fisher, while Meeker built a connection with Oilers President Matt Fidurko when his high school friends had participated on the team.

Both players weren’t overly far from their hometowns, an hour for Meeker and an hour and 40 minutes for Guccia, but the two were thrust into different living situations. For Guccia in particular, it happened to be pretty unique. “Some players were placed with host families, some rented their own apartments, but the majority of us lived in an old convent, which is attached to a church and used to house nuns,” he explained.

The aforementioned church wasn’t very up to date with some of the things you might expect to have with a roof over your head. “This was a very unique experience, as everything was old, the Wi-Fi didn’t work, and there was no service inside of our living area. However, this helped us to all become very close, and I am very grateful to have had this experience,” Guccia said.

The “church-dwellers” and the rest of Guccia’s teammates became an inseparable unit, despite having different backgrounds. “We quickly meshed, making it a great experience. My teammates were from all over the country, including Texas, California, Nevada, Louisiana, and even Israel.” He went on to say, “It was a very valuable experience to meet these people that I would have never interacted with had it not been for the Doubledays.”

Meeker celebrates after scoring

It was a similar feeling for Meeker, who valued the bonding time he had with his teammates. “We play a lot of backyard games like cornhole, CanJam, and Spikeball. Sometimes you kind of stop thinking about baseball and just get to hang out with your teammates,” he said.

Another oh-so-important aspect of amateur baseball is the fans. Both athletes emphasized that the fans are truly supportive and value baseball in their towns. Fans knew Guccia and Meeker by name and frequently asked for autographs. “We also put on a clinic every year, so we get to hang out with our younger fans for three days and teach them all about the game,” Meeker added.

When they weren’t playing in front of their home fans, Meeker and Guccia were traveling around the state to opposing ballparks. The two had access to buses but also carpooled with teammates to the closer games. Players were reimbursed for gas money when this situation arose.

The atmosphere that the two were now playing in was also much different than what they were accustomed to. Meeker said that Bradner Stadium, his home ballpark, was “always packed,” and Falcon Park for Guccia would see between 1,000 to 2,000 attendees at times. With that many fans, you have to entertain, and Guccia stated, “The players that were not in the lineup that night would also dance on top of the dugouts between innings, in an attempt to include the fans as much as possible.”

Jake in the dugout

A big difference is that athletes in both the PGCBL and NYCBL use wooden bats instead of the metal bats they are used to at school. Meeker prefers wooden bats anyway, but he, like Guccia, does not enjoy the experience of breaking a bat. “It stinks when you break one though. One, because you just lost $200, and two, because you might not get the same feel from another wood bat,” Meeker explained.

The pair’s main goal was to improve their hitting skills over the summer. Both players had to face various college athletes, ranking from Division 1 to the junior college level. This ensured that they were facing top-tier talent to help improve their skills at the plate, which was a rewarding yet challenging experience. “There were many moments over the summer when I doubted myself, as I was playing against very difficult competition. However, I learned to deal with the failure, as it is bound to happen in baseball,” Guccia stated.

Doubledays players watch the fireworks on the field after a win

As the summer came to a close, the pair had accumulated countless memories of their seasons. One memory in particular stands out, and it happened on the evening of July 21. Meeker hit his only home run of the season, a 2-run shot to right field, that was much more than a line in the box score. “This summer, a close family friend found out some unfortunate news, and that night I hit my first home run on the big field [Babcock Park in Dansville]. I was able to give the ball to her. It was very special to me,” Meeker explained.

The experiences of playing in collegiate baseball leagues over the summer were unforgettable for Meeker and Guccia. For those looking to get into summer ball, it’s all about getting out of your comfort zone. “My main advice would be to try and play away from home at least once, if possible,” Guccia said. And for Meeker, he’s proud to be an Oiler. “If anyone were to ask me about what team they should play for, I would say the Oilers without hesitation.”


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About the Contributor
Nick Kehoe
Nick Kehoe, Sports Editor
Nick Kehoe is a junior Sport Management major. He is currently the Sports Editor for the Courier. Nick also writes game recaps as well as student-athlete spotlights. He hopes to write for a professional baseball team after graduating. Nick Kehoe ’25 – Cardinal Courier (
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