In the land of New England clam chowder, Mike Schultz and Ryan Hamill are working hard to make themselves better baseball players in preparation for the most important season of their college careers.
Schultz, a pitcher at Loyola Marymount, and Hamill, a catcher who is transferring to UCLA, are playing summer ball in the wooden bat Cape Cod League.
Each will be a junior next spring and eligible for the amateur draft.
Schultz, who was an All-City right-hander at Cleveland High and the West Coast Conference pitcher of the year as a freshman, struggled last season with a 7-6 record and 5.11 earned-run average.
Hamill, The Times' Valley player of the year as a senior at Chaminade High, hit eight home runs last season at Nevada-Las Vegas, half the total he hit as a freshman.
Both are using the Cape Cod League to work on skills that rank among the best when they are healthy and focused.
"I'm feeling great," said Schultz, who is 2-1 with a 1.35 earned-run average for Cotuit.
Schultz said he had a mechanical problem in his delivery until late last season and is trying to improve his arm strength so his velocity returns to what it was as a freshman.
"My heel was a little bit forward and I was throwing across my body and wasn't getting my full velocity," he said. "And I wasn't hitting my spots. It was such a small problem no one noticed. I've been working hard this summer and will be working hard during the off-season to get back to where I need to be."
Hamill, playing for Yarmouth-Dennis, is tied for second in the league with four home runs. He's playing against left-handers while Brian Kennedy of Long Beach State, younger brother of former Cal State Northridge All-American shortstop Adam Kennedy, plays against right-handers.
"I struggled in the beginning, but now I've turned it on," Hamill said.
Hamill is living with a host family and working part-time at the Gap in Hyannis, Mass. He hasn't spotted any members of the more prominent Kennedy family yet. "I just have to give a smile and hopefully they buy," he said.
Schultz is happy to have survived a week of temperatures above 100 degrees.
"The humidity was unbelievable," he said.
Two Cal State Northridge sophomores, pitcher Mike Frick and first baseman Tim Arroyo, are having big summers for the Santa Maria Indians.
Frick, who attended Buena High, is 6-1 and showing off an overpowering fastball.
"He's been dominating," Coach Chris Stevens of Santa Maria said.
Arroyo, who played at Kennedy, has four home runs batting No. 3 in the lineup.
"He's going the other way [with pitches]," Stevens said. "He's a good one."
Problems with the whereabouts last week of Ottawa Lynx first baseman Brad Fullmer (Montclair Prep) was much ado about nothing.
A story published in the Montreal Gazette and picked up by the wire services said Fullmer refused to report to Ottawa after being demoted by the Montreal Expos.
It turns out Fullmer, 24, was in Ottawa all along but had not played while awaiting results of an MRI on his left knee.
Short hops: Rich Aude (Chatsworth), first baseman for Birmingham (White Sox), is tied for third in doubles in the double-A Southern League with 23. . . . Right-hander John Snyder (Westlake) gave up five hits and two runs over five innings to gain his first win for Charlotte (White Sox), 4-2 over Norfolk. Snyder was 7-6 with a 5.81 ERA for the Chicago White Sox before being sent down July 1. . . . Third baseman Eric Gillespie (Northridge) of Jacksonville (Tigers) is fifth in the Southern League in slugging percentage at .522.
Staff writers Fernando Dominguez and Eric Sondheimer contributed to this column.