Notre Dame righthander Cameron Junker (Aaron Fitt)


NECBL All-Star Game Notebook

Summer Baseball

Dan Jurik of Prep Baseball Report will have full scouting reports later this week from the NECBL all-star game and prospect showcase. Here’s an in-depth look at four players who had standout days.

HOLYOKE, Mass. — Cameron Junker has all the physical gifts to pitch in pro ball for a long time. He’s a physical 6-foot-4, 215-pound righthander with a good fastball and feel to spin his slider, and he has tantalized the coaching staff at Notre Dame with his potential during his first two seasons on campus. But one thing was holding him back from putting it all together: the mental part of the game.

“Like every Notre Dame kid, he’s a really intelligent kid,” Notre Dame pitching coach Chuck Ristano said early this year. “Sometimes that brain is your best weapon; sometimes it paralyzes you.”

It’s obvious when you speak with Junker that he’s very bright, and that he’s dedicated to his craft. And he has made big strides each of the last two summers with the Plymouth Pilgrims in the New England Collegiate Baseball League, where he has gone 6-1, 2.33 with 46 strikeouts and 16 walks in 42.1 innings this summer, earning him the start in the league’s all-star game Sunday in Holyoke. That’s a huge jump from the spring, when Junker flashed potential but battled his command, going 1-4, 8.74 with 41 strikeouts but 25 walks in 35 innings.

“This spring it was just kind of confidence. I’d sometimes have confidence, and I’d sometimes go out there unsure of myself,” Junker said. “This summer has helped me push myself, and I’ve been going six innings pretty much every start, working my way through the highs, through the lows — more highs this summer than lows. But it’s really just been a grind, sticking to the process, working the bullpens, getting the flat work in, and just sticking to my routine.”

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