Sixth Street has always divided the 5Cs into a fierce athletic rivalry, one particularly bitter between the P-P and CMS baseball teams. Amid the hostility, last season’s ace pitchers developed a unique connection: David Colvin PZ ’11 and Alex Sunderland CMC ’11 were both drafted by the Seattle Mariners this past June. After spending the summer playing in the minor leagues, Colvin and Sunderland shared their experiences with me.
Both Colvin and Sunderland had aspirations of playing professional baseball when they graduated high school. After neither got many Division-I offers, both wound up in Claremont. Fortunately, playing at the Division-III level did not deter them from pursuing their dreams. Colvin spent the summer after his junior year pitching in the prestigious Cape Cod Baseball League, where he was exposed to many scouts.
“Coming out of high school I had no idea what could happen, but after playing in the Cape Cod League, I realized there was a chance I could get drafted,” he said.
Even though Sunderland did not have as promising of a summer season, the presence of scouts also made him realize getting drafted was a realistic possibility.
“My first game senior year I noticed there were a few scouts there,” Sunderland said. “I didn’t think anyone had any interest.”
During the 2011 baseball season, scouts were constantly crossing Sixth Street to catch both Colvin and Sunderland on the mound.
“Colvin was scouted more heavily than me,” Sunderland said. “But I benefited from playing on the same campus as him. [Scouts] would go to watch him and take the opportunity to watch me as well.”
Despite the intense rivalry between their teams and scouts splitting their time between them, Colvin and Sunderland never felt like they were competing against each other.
“I talked to [Colvin] a little bit and found out a few of the same scouts were talking to both of us,” Sunderland said. This was not a bad thing, as the same scout wound up drafting both of them.
“There is plenty of room [in baseball] for the both of us,” Colvin said. “We’re both just trying to do our best.”
Both pitchers had similar experiences when they got drafted—neither one actually heard his name called.
“I had been watching the draft all day and was tired of it,” Colvin explained. “I started watching TV instead. Suddenly, I got a bunch of texts and my parents came upstairs screaming. That’s when I knew I got drafted.”
Sunderland, who had seen Colvin get drafted earlier, was frustrated with waiting.
“My brother and I started watching Up on TV and stopped paying attention to the draft,” he said. “It [the draft] got really boring and you can only take so much of it. Then my phone rang and it was my dad screaming about how I had just gotten drafted.”
Over the summer, Colvin played with Mariners minor league teams in Pulaski, VA and Everett, WA. Sunderland spent his summer with a different Mariners minor league team in Peoria, AZ. Although Colvin and Sunderland did not play on the same team, they had similar experiences in the minor leagues. Both entered the season prepared for a rigorous baseball schedule, and they got just that.
“It’s a lot different from college ball,” Colvin explained. “We had a game at least every other day.”
Now that Colvin and Sunderland have had a few months off, they are excited to get back to throwing. They will both be attending Mariners spring training in March and are looking forward to seeing each other there.
“It’ll be nice to see [Sunderland] again and see how he’s doing,” Colvin said.
Although they do not know what teams they will be placed on, they are excited about the possibility of playing together.
“It would be a lot of fun to be on the same side, finally,” Sunderland said.