There wasn't much Cam James didn't do on the baseball diamond in his first three seasons at Ipswich High and like all seniors across the North Shore he was looking forward to doing it all a fourth time this spring. The coronavirus pandemic robbed James and his Tiger teammates of a chance to make some school history -- a tough and bitter pill to swallow.
Last week, James could at least exhale knowing his entire baseball career wasn't over. He officially committed to join the Bridgewater State University baseball team this fall and couldn't be more excited to get on the diamond again when the times comes.
"It's a dream come true to be able to play at the next level. For my whole life I've wanted to pursue athletics at the highest level possible and get after that better competition," said James, who plans to study criminal justice.
Playing baseball in college wasn't an easy choice for James, who was a phenomenal football career at Ipswich High also playing multiple positions. He was recently named a Shriner's football all-star and considers his Tigers victory over Hamilton-Wenham two Thanksgiving ago his top IHS memory since its always satisfying to win on the road. Even after being recruited by several football teams, including Bridgewater, he decided to focus on baseball.
"It was definitely the hardest choice because my heart was in all for football. I realized my potential and focus in baseball was better and it would save my body for the future," said James, who was immediately drawn to the coaches at Bridgewater and the chance to play in the highly competitive MASCAC.
"Probably the biggest reason was the atmosphere I felt when I walked in for the first time," he said. "The coaches and players made me feel like I was already part of the program."
A standout shortstop who hit .333 as a junior and led the Tigers in runs scored and RBI, James also pitched. Next year, he plans to try out as a catcher and has been doing everything he can to keep up his strength during this time of social distancing.
"Mostly its using the home gym and getting out to the turf to try to keep weight up and excel the endurance," said James. "For baseball, if you're trying to get swings in, my tip is use some of of net to hit against. It'll help a ton in the long run."
With James and several experienced teammates in the fold, Ipswich seemed primed to make its first state tournament appearance in 11 years in its third season with coach Zach Lamkin. Not getting that chance hurt but there's also a sense of accomplishment in that they'll get to represent the Tigers at the next level.
"It really took a toll. I didn't play basketball to prepare my body for the season and we had big goals. We wanted to be the first time to finish over .500 since 2006," said James.