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Tue, Jun 11
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EAST GREENSBORO – Days after seeing one of its own selected in the 2019 MLB Draft, the North Carolina A&T baseball team added another prestigious accolade to a growing list that includes over the past three years two MLB draft picks, two Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Southern Division titles, one MEAC championship, an NCAA regional appearance, a conference coach of the year award and a player playing for the 23-and-under Puerto Rican national title team.

 

N.C. A&T pitching standout Michael Johnson (5-11, 220, RHP, Lexington, NC) has been invited to play in the Cape Cod Baseball League this summer for the Orleans Firebirds. 

 

An invite to the Cape League is considered a major accomplishment for a collegiate player because the league is widely considered by college coaches and professional baseball scouts as the best amateur summer league in the United States. More than 1,000 Cape League alumni have played professional baseball (all levels) and 306 of their alum have played for an MLB team. 

The league has been in existence for 133 years and was the first collegiate summer league to use wooden bats instead of the aluminum bats used in collegiate baseball games. The league’s longevity, willingness to be unique and its vast popularity with scouts and collegiate coaches has N.C. A&T head coach Ben Hall elated for his star pitcher. 

“We strive to challenge our players over the summer to raise their game and the profile of our program,” said Hall who has led the Aggies to their best two-year run (61 wins) since the program joined the MEAC in 1975. “This is the first time in A&T history placing a player in the Cape League. We look forward to building that relationship going forward for future players in our program. “ 

Johnson is scheduled to return for his senior season in 2020. Over the first three years of his career, he has been an innings devourer for the Aggies. In 44 career appearances, he has pitched a whopping 220.2 innings while posting a career 4.28 ERA. In 2018, he earned first-team All-MEAC honors after going 7-2 with a 3.62 ERA, 43 strikeouts and only 22 walks in 14 appearances. 

The highlight of his career thus far was earning a win over college baseball powerhouse South Carolina by going five shutout innings, giving up only three hits and striking out five in a 2-0 N.C. A&T victory over the Gamecocks at Founders Park in Columbia, S.C. in 2019. 

Johnson was informed about the Cape League’s desire to have him play for one of their 10 teams from Hall. Johnson, who was 22ndin the nation this past season in fewest walks allowed per nine innings (1.44), described himself as excited after hearing the news. 

“I never imagined getting this invite and it wasn’t until a few minutes later that I realized I will be playing with the best of the best in the country,” said Johnson. “Being able to play and learn from these guys will be an experience I will not forget.”

The Cape League season opened June 10 and will run into early August with the start of the playoffs. Follow Johnson’s progress throughout the summer at the Cape statistical website.