The latest Wellesley, Mass., sports news:
Vasil pitches in Major League Baseball All-Star Futures game
While the drafting of Harvard-via-Wellesley pitcher Jay Driver by the Cleveland Guardians grabbed local headlines, let’s not overlook the great progress that Wellesley’s Mike Vasil has made since being drafted as a powerful right-handed pitcher into the New York Mets’ system in 2021.
Vasil played at Boston College High and the University of Virginia before going pro.
This season, the 6-foot, 5-inch pitcher has split time between the Mets’ AA and AAA affiliates, the latter being in Syracuse.
He pitched a third of an inning, walking 1 and striking out 1, at the All-Star Futures game, which was part of Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game festivities this week in Seattle. Vasil has averaged more than a strikeout per inning in the minors.
Here’s a recent interview with Vasil about making the jump to AAA and the challenges that come with that. He certainly sounds like a big leaguer.
Big O’s hockey comeback
Rising Wellesley Middle School 8th grader Owen Keating is an all-around athlete whose 6-foot 1-inch frame helps him make a presence in football, baseball, and hockey. But he was laid up at the start of this year after slipping and falling over the winter at the middle school, and breaking his leg (tibia and fibula). Surgery scheduled for Friday the 13th of January didn’t comfort the family, which had been readying for “Big O”‘s upcoming tourney in Buffalo.
“It was quite the turn of events,” says Patrick, his father.
An impressive cast kept Keating off his feet—and skates—at the start of the year, but hard work and a strong young body have helped him return to action. Keating used his healing time to study film of other players, including NHL star Patrick Kane, and even though he was hobbled, the 13-year-old was able to practice his shot on synthetic ice in his family’s basement.
“He works a lot on that shot,” Patrick says.
Keating was back skating by this past April, and has been ramping up again via private lessons, some 4 on 4, and pickup games, often with older players. “He’s learning a lot,” Patrick says. “He wouldn’t necessarily have had these experiences if he hadn’t broken his leg.”
Keating all along remained supportive of his hockey teammates, attending games as often as possible around his physical rehab. Losing much of his mobility also put in perspective his good fortune at otherwise having solid health.
Patrick says he’s as proud of Owen’s athletic feats as of his sportsmanship and leadership. Skills-wise, Owen is a winger and sometimes center with a wicked shot that’s been developing since the age of about 5. On the leadership side, he likes to show up early in the locker room to greet teammates, according to his father.
Now the family, including mom Julie and younger brother Finn, are readying for a trip to Europe to see Owen compete for the MCN hockey club in the Lions Cup Tournament in Finland next month, where he’ll play with and against talented players from across the world.
Keating is looking forward to a return to competitive hockey after his leg injury cut short his Wellesley, Wellesley Middle School, and Crimson Hockey Club seasons. And he’s no doubt really looking forward to using that shot.