Like father, like son.
More and more, Mike Borrelli — who is in his first summer with the Kingston Night Owls — is beginning to resemble his father Dean, who enjoyed a terrific career as a baseball player that included eight years in the minors including three at triple-A before turning his attention to coaching and the business side of the sport.
Like Dean, Mike has pretty much always been a catcher, he attended Central Catholic and he may be coming into his own at the right time.
Mike spend the past year at Worcester Academy, hitting .300 with a pair of homers and 21 RBIs. He threw out 40% of would be base stealers, picking off three runners, and he’s off to a great start with the Night Owls.
Sharing time behind the plate with Methuen’s Brett Blackwell, Mike was hitting .385 after six games with a pair of home runs, and impressing Night Owls coach Paul Sartori.
“He’s been a great addition to our team,” said Sartori. “He has excellent defensive skills with a strong, accurate arm. He provides youthful maturity and leadership in the middle of our lineup and ... I think his best baseball is still ahead of him.”
Worcester Academy coach Jim McNamara feels the same way.
“Mike is a great leader and excellent player to have behind the plate and calling pitches,” said McNamara. “He did a really good job handling pitchers and he’d be a huge asset to any program. He has a bright future ahead of him.”
Mike had a fine career at Central Catholic, but he hardly had the chance to stand out, partly because he was behind Dom Keegan, who is now at Vanderbilt, as a catcher. But he appears to have taken a big step forward in the last year and is on an upward swing.
“I think he’s the prototypical late bloomer,” said Dean. “He’s grown a lot — he’s 6-4 now — and he’s become a lot more athletic. He’s really improved a lot. I think it took him a while to grow into himself.
“I was a late bloomer myself. I was pretty good before, but I really came into my own when I was 18.”
Defensively, some of Mike’s improvement can be attributed to Dean, who has been working with his son over the last couple of years, particularly on throwing.
“Things like footwork, transferring the ball, his release — little things,” said Dean.
Of course, instruction from dad has been a constant from the start and it’s no accident that Mike became a catcher.
“As soon as I started playing ball, I was a catcher,” said Mike. “I knew my dad played there and I got interested in it. Once I started playing there, I really liked it.
“He would show me the proper form and worked with me but I never felt any pressure to be a catcher or even to play baseball. Hopefully, I got some of his talent but he never forced anything on me.”
After the summer with the Night Owls, who are in first place in the North Shore Baseball League as the defending champions, Borrelli is headed to St. Anselm on scholarship. He’s not sure what he’ll major in, although it could be business. But, if his upswing on the diamond continues, his future — like his father — may lie in baseball.
DEAN BORRELLI’S CAREER
High School — Central Catholic, All-MVC
College — UMass Amherst
Pro — Drafted by Oakland in 20th round in 1988, played eight years in minors including three in triple-A
MIKE BORRELLI’S CAREER
High School — Central Catholic, Worcester Academy (post-grad)
College — Headed to St. Anselm in fall
Summer ball — Playing for Kingston Night Owls in North Shore Baseball League
Mike Borrelli isn’t the only catcher enjoying a strong start to the season for the Kingston Night Owls. He’s sharing duties with Methuen’s Brett Blackwell. After the first six games, Blackwell was also hitting .385 and doing the job defensively.
“I think we have the best two catchers in the league,” said Night Owls head coach Paul Sartori.
When not catching, both can play other positions.