Oswego Little Leaguers Continuing Baseball Journey to College
Four players from the Oswego Little League program are continuing their baseball journey by playing at the college level in the fall.
The alums, and current seniors at Oswego High School are former Elks players Will Adkins and Noah Rogers, former Police player Kyle Familo, and former VFW player Cole Pratt.
Rogers, Familo and Pratt will be playing for Jefferson Community College (JCC), while Adkins has committed to SUNY Oneonta.
According to Oswego Little League President and former Elks Coach Tim Kirwan, the players were each stars of their respective little league teams, but they each made an impact on the program far beyond that.
“They were role models and leaders that other players emulated,” Kirwan said. “They all started playing at a young age and progressed through AA, AAA, Majors, Juniors, Seniors, and most recently in the Oswego Little League High School League.”
The high school league and program, established in 2020 and developed by Oswego Little League Board Member, Coach, and Director of Player and Coach Development Chris Cafalone, consisted of teams from Oswego (2), Fulton, Pulaski, Mexico, and Hannibal. The new league allowed many of the players to display their skills to college coaches despite having no high school baseball last spring due to COVID.
“I was so pleased to assist these players and their families in continuing their education and baseball careers,” Cafalone said. “For 25 years I was on the side of recruiting young student athletes. Now I am on the side of helping young high school athletes get recruited. All of the players have done their work academically and athletically to gain the opportunity to play college baseball.
“You usually see this in travel baseball, but for Oswego Little League to have four alumni in the same graduating class go play college baseball, it is huge for our organization and for our players. There are more players who I am assisting and look forward to these and others following a similar path,” he added.
According to Kirwan, who coached both Adkins and Rogers, he wasn’t surprised about the news of each of them continuing their baseball careers at the collegiate level.
“Will was a good player that worked tirelessly to make himself a great player,” Kirwan said. “He was a quiet leader that led by example. A true leader and a joy to coach.”
“Noah always had a smile on his face whenever he played and was always having fun when he was on the field,” Kirwan added. “He wanted to pitch in that big game and was a success whenever he did. He was a pleasure to coach.”
Leo Babcock, an Oswego Little League Board Member and former coach of the Police team had the opportunity to coach Familo for four years.
“Kyle had a tremendous work ethic and a will to succeed. He worked day and night to get better,” Babcock said. “He is a very humble person and very coachable.”
Former Oswego Little League President and VFW Coach Eben Norfleet spoke highly of his years coaching Pratt.
“I had the pleasure of coaching Cole for three years as the coach of VFW,” said Norfleet. “Cole was the type of player you could put anywhere on the field and he would always perform at the highest level, whether it was snagging balls at shortstop or in high pressure pitching situations.
“His leadership allowed him to guide the team from winning only one game his first season to winning back-to-back championships in his final two years,” he added.
Oswego High School Varsity Baseball Coach John Finch has worked with each of the four players over the years and was proud of their accomplishments and looks forward to their respective futures.
“I’m really happy that these guys found an opportunity to continue playing a game that they have grown to love. Not everyone gets that opportunity,” said Finch.
“I’m also excited to see how they lead our group this spring, especially after not having the chance to play last year at this time. These boys serve as a fine example of what hard work allows you to accomplish, as they all have dedicated extra time away from the field to better themselves as players. I look forward to seeing what they accomplish in their futures.
Jefferson Community College Coach Brandon Noble, said that it is rare to have three players from one High School class as he recruits from all over the country. He is excited to have each of them and they each have a great opportunity to play from what he has seen from them.
Oneonta Coach, Ben Grimm, said that he is excited to have Adkins pledge his support to his program. According to Grimm, Will caught his eye from Coach Cafalone, but it was Will who showed him he was right for his program. He will be able to further develop over his four years at Oneonta.
According to Kirwan, all of these players have dedicated parents that helped their kids develop into the person and players they are today.
“These parents never missed a game or practice if they could help it. They could not be prouder of the young men and athletes that they have become,” he said.
Blake Adkins (Will’s father) said, “Will has made us proud the minute he first stepped on the ball field and every day we watch him, we are that much prouder.”
“These are true leaders of Oswego Little League. They have showed us all that any player in the program can do whatever you want if you put your mind to it.” Kirwan added.