For Australian James Darcy, the Hamptons College Baseball League brought together his passion for baseball and his desire to visit the Hamptons. So playing for the Southampton Breakers was a no-brainer.
“My old coach Chris Johns, who coaches with coach Rob [Cafiero] at Hofstra, sent me a text: ‘Hamptons?’ And I said, Absolutely, I’m already on my way,” said Darcy.
The 22-year-old pitcher recently finished his junior year at Campbell University, about 45 minutes south of Raleigh, North Carolina. However, his journey to Southampton started a long time ago, when he was just a kid, playing tee-ball in Australia.
Growing up, Darcy played both Australian Rules Football and baseball—a less popular sport in Australia. High school sports isn’t offered in his native country, but he played summer league club baseball starting at age 12 and subsequently made the Victoria All-State teams at ages 12, 14, 16 and 18.
“When I was 16, I made the Victorian Institute of Sport in Melbourne, and then from there I was in a weight program with some of the best athletes in Australia. That’s how I started off in baseball,” said Darcy.
At the age of 18, he further showed his abilities by being accepted into the Australian Academy in Queensland, which is a development program hosted by Major League Baseball for all the best prospects in the country. Scanning the baseball rankings of top-25 community colleges that he got from a buddy, he singled out a few schools in Florida and one in Iowa. Despite a preference to play in Florida, he ended up enrolling at Iowa Western Community College, near Omaha, Nebraska, in 2012, and eventually helped them win a national championship in only his freshman year.
“I loved baseball, and I always wanted to come out and play college or professional baseball,” Darcy said. “It was fitting, and it was a great experience.”
He transferred to Campbell after he finished his two years at Iowa Western. Despite the success the team had, Darcy’s first year in the new program didn’t go so well. He finished 1-1 with an 8.71 ERA and 12 strikeouts in only eight appearances on the mound this season. Campbell made the NCAA Tournament regionals after winning the Big South conference tournament, but only could muster one win in the double-elimination tournament. Campbell was eliminated after a 9-0 loss to South Carolina.
“I didn’t have a very good fall, and that spilled over into the spring. I had a bad first outing, and that set a negative tone for the rest of the season. I wasn’t in a good place—I started to miss home, and really lost myself in the game,” he said.
Despite the tough first year at Campbell, Darcy seemed quite excited and optimistic about playing with the Breakers. “I’m ready to get back to where I was, with a good ERA, and to continue to help the team win by competing,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity to be out here.”
Darcy made his debut for the Breakers in their 10-4 loss to Sag Harbor on June 7, giving up three runs over three innings in a relief appearance. He currently has appeared in eight games, going 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA, seven strikeouts and two saves in 10 innings of work.