Trevor Edge missed playing baseball after a year away from the game. This past school year, he was an N.C. State freshman student, no “athlete” tag connected by a hyphen.
For the 2015 North Raleigh Christian Academy graduate to attempt to walk on with the Wolfpack in the fall or transfer to a smaller school, he knew he needed to test himself over the summer.
His first thought was to play American Legion ball. Edge graduated from high school at a young age and was still eligible as an 18-year-old. But the Raleigh Post 1 club he played for last summer didn’t field a team this year.
Fortunately for Edge, he didn’t have to look any further than the North Wake Fungo.
The Carolina-Virginia Collegiate League team based at Heritage High provides exactly what he needs – playing time. While Edge’s case is unique, most of the players on the 26-man roster play for the same reason he does.
“They’re younger college guys that redshirted or didn’t play much,” Fungo coach Robert Dudley said. “They’re looking for more reps, more at bats or more innings on the mound. For the rising freshmen that just graduated from high school, it’s a chance to prepare themselves against college athletes. It helps them get up to speed.”
Edge’s two-run home run Thursday helped the Fungo to an 11-5 win over the Piedmont All-Stars at Heritage’s field.
“This league has given me another opportunity to show colleges what I can do,” said the first baseman, who was named Player of the Game after going 1-for-3 with a home run, two RBIs and two walks. “By taking a whole year off, it made me realize how much I still want to play baseball. I knew the first two games would be rough, but after that I think I’ve settled in fine. I definitely missed it.”
Edge said he has been in communication with N.C. State assistant coach Scott Foxhall about a walk-on opportunity. He has also emailed other schools to inquire about their interests.
“We’re glad we were able to provide another opportunity for someone like Trevor,” Dudley said. “We don’t want to take away from Legion ball, but for him this was a chance for him to improve his game over the summer.”
Vinny Bailey, who recently graduated from Heritage, is another example. For him, playing with the Fungo is experience against college-caliber competition. He is committed to play junior college ball at Louisburg College next year.
I think the feel for the next level is important.
2016 Heritage grad Vinny Bailey
“I’m getting good reps and a feel for what the next level will be like,” Bailey said. “I think the feel for the next level is important. The competition is definitely better (than high school), but with experience I can get the hang of it. The pitching is harder. It’s faster, better and more accurate. Defensively, you’ve got to find the gaps.”
Bailey played right field in Thursday’s win. He contributed to the score after knocking in a run with a sacrifice fly ball to right in the fourth inning. He drew a walk in the second.
Most of the Carolina-Virginia Collegiate League players represent small colleges or junior colleges, but make no mistake about the dedication of the athletes. They said they are serious about working on their games to come back better and more mature college players for 2017.
The Fungo play about six games a week – including back-to-back double-headers on Saturdays and Sundays in the 11-team league with East and West divisions. As the league name suggests, they are traveling throughout North Carolina with a stop at the Roanoke Rails representing the Virginia entry. The league in early June started its season, which will run through August.
The Fungo are largely made up of players from the Wake Forest area but include others from around the Triangle.
“It’s win-win for the community,” Dudley said. “We have kids from other areas, but we also want to have a family atmosphere with a lot of players from North Wake.”