College baseball: Three Rowan players in action in Cape Cod League game

Published 4:25 pm Monday, June 17, 2024

By Mike London

HARWICH, Mass. — South Rowan 2022 graduate Kane Kepley has a double major at Liberty University in behavioral science and sports management.

While that sounds awfully impressive, Kepley shakes his head, chuckles and says that’s just a glorified way of saying he’s studying very hard to be a baseball coach, something he plans to do once his playing days are over.

But Kepley’s playing days might last for a while.

He’s off to a super start in the Cape Cod Baseball League, the premier summer league for college players. One of every seven current MLB players spent some time in the Cape Cod League.

Kepley walked three times on opening night and scored two runs in a 10-0 win.

On Sunday, he had two hits, including a double, walked two more times, and scored two more runs. He’s stolen a base in both games so far.

Sunday was really special as Kepley faced former teammate Haiden Leffew, a 2023 South Rowan graduate who just finished his freshman season at Wake Forest, in the first inning.

High school teammates facing each other in a game at that level can’t happen very often.

Leffew, a lefty pitcher, figured to be a tough matchup for Kepley, a lefty hitter, but Leffew tried to come inside, and Kepley drilled a double down the right-field line. Kepley was batting second and a fast lead-off man had reached on a walk, so Kepley’s Hyannis team led right away, 1-0.

Then Kepley stole third base. He scored from there on a groundout for a 2-0 lead. Hyannis went on to win 5-1 and is 1-0.

Believe it or not, a third Rowan County player got into the game, as well. One of Leffew’s teammates on the Harwich team is 2023 East Rowan graduate Chance Mako, a tall right-handed pitcher who was a freshman this season at N.C. State but had only a couple of appearances for the Wolfpack.

Mako pitched a scoreless top of the ninth for Harwich.

Leffew and Mako were both high on MLB draft lists coming out of high school, although both went un-drafted after discussions regarding the draft position and signing bonus it would take to persuade them to forego college.

Kepley, Leffew and Mako will be performing in front of a small army of scouts and MLB personnel all summer.

Kepley’s team could be a powerhouse, as it expects to add several standouts from Tennessee and Florida State after the College World Series.