Boston Red Sox

Easton's Justin Pacchioli, New Jersey's Tommy McCarthy loving their independent league baseball lives


Two hours before an Independent League game earlier this month between the Somerset Patriots and the New Jersey Blasters, Pacchioli took his share of hacks in the batting cage, glided through the outfield to shag fly balls and talked to any teammate within shouting distance.


“I remember ramping things up in February getting ready for the season,” said Pacchioli, who played football and baseball at Easton before transferring midway through his senior year to Nazareth.


However, Somerset worked within local and state health and safety guidelines to come up with a plan to create two teams — the Blasters are the other — with mostly regional talent.


The teams use TD Bank Ballpark’s two clubhouses and play each other 13 times on weekends from mid-July until the Aug. 22 finale, with a maximum of 450 fans per game in attendance.


McCarthy’s first pro baseball experience, with the Gary (Indiana) SouthShore RailCats of the independent American Association, lasted a little more than a week, but it was enough to confirm that he wanted to continue on that path for as long as possible.


“It was learning the mindset of how to be a professional player,” said McCarthy, who also spent part of the pandemic quarantine hitting in a backyard cage, with his father pitching.






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