Samela Signs Contract to Play in Can-Am League
Contact: Justin Long
AMHERST, Mass. – Former Amherst College baseball standout Mike Samela ’12 signed a contract today to play professionally for the Worcester Tornadoes of the Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball.
Mike Samela '12 will begin his professional baseball career
with the Worcester Tornadoes of the Can-Am League.
The Can-Am League is one of the most historic names in minor league baseball. Formed in 1936, it has become one of the most respected of the independent circuits.
"I am extremely proud of Mike's accomplishments, and I appreciate the Worcester Tornadoes for giving him this opportunity,” said Amherst head coach Brian Hamm. “He has one of the most decorated careers in our baseball program in the past 30 years, and I am confident that he is going to do very well in the Can-Am League.”
Samela is the third Amherst player to sign a professional contract during Hamm’s three-year tenure as head coach. Ryan Healy ’11 joined the Moncton Mets of the NBSBL shortly after graduating, while Kevin Heller ’12 was drafted by the Boston Red Sox earlier this summer.
The Can-Am League adopts a rigorous 100-game season and features several former Division I players who are experienced at the professional level. The Tornadoes play their home games at historic Fitton Field, which has stood for more than 100 years and seen the likes of Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth and Ted Williams come through.
Samela put together one of the most impressive three-year stretches of any Amherst player, joining Wes Adams ’91 and Josh Carroll ’98 as the only Lord Jeffs to bat at least .380 in three consecutive seasons. In addition to boasting the second highest single-season slugging percentage in program history (.753, 2010), Samela is among the school’s career leaders in hits (139, 14th), doubles (30, 13th), home runs (12, 13th), RBIs (95, 11th), runs scored (96, 14th), triples (11, 3rd) and total bases (227, 9th).
Samela was named the NESCAC's 2011 Player of the Year
and 2012 Defensive Player of the Year.
One of only five baseball players in NESCAC history to earn three consecutive All-Conference First Team selections, Samela was named the league’s 2011 Player of the Year and 2012 Defensive Player of the Year as a standout catcher and outfielder. “During his four years at Amherst, Mike worked hard to develop his skills with the goal of playing professionally, all the while putting the interests of his school, team, and teammates first," said Hamm.
Signing professional baseball contracts is particularly impressive for Samela and Heller, who also played a significant role in helping Amherst’s football team post a 22-2 record in the past three years. Heller was an All-NESCAC safety in 2011, while Samela developed into a versatile offensive weapon and one of the team’s top receivers. “The support and teaching that Mike and Kevin received in our football program had a positive influence in their development as athletes and baseball players,” Hamm said.
Hamm also recognizes other members of the Amherst Baseball family for their role in helping Samela reach his goal of playing professionally. “Several people helped Mike along the way, beginning with former catching coach Neal Allar ’08, former pitching coach Shaun McNamara, and our current top assistant, Bryan Adamski. Dan Duquette ’80 was extremely helpful in getting Mike exposure to professional organizations—he, like many of our alumni, has done so much for our current players."
Samela will join his new team for Saturday's game against the SouthShore Railcats. For more information about the Tornadoes and the Can-Am League, visit http://www.canamleague.com/index.php.