Golden Giants allow WU players to sharpen skills in summer league

Eric Smith

Athletes at Washburn often play their sport not only at WU but with other competitive leagues throughout the school year when their sport is not in season. And this is no different when talking about seniors Joe Hosey, Brian Gorges, and Curtis Hamilton, three members of the Washburn baseball team.

This summer, these men played for the Topeka Golden Giants, a local baseball team for college level athletes.

“Summer ball is just a lot more relaxed. It gives you a chance to go out and swing a wood bat against a lot of D-1 players,” outfielder Brian Gorges said. “You get a lot of games in and it keeps you from taking those three months in the summer off. It translates well into the fall.”

The Golden Giants play in the M.I.N.K. League, which stands for Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas. Their home games were played at Falley Field on Washburn’s campus.

“The Golden Giants team gives us somewhere to play in Topeka. They are a good team,” Gorges said. “We have good coaches and good players, so it’s fun. I like playing with those guys. Curtis and Joe are good players.”

Washburn coach Steve Anson is pleased to that he had Washburn players participating for the Topeka team and getting experience against some tough area athletes.

“I think it’s a very high level of competition. The league isn’t really new, but I think in the last few years they’ve upgraded the teams and the talent in it,” said Anson, who has been at Washburn for 30 years.

“There’s an awfully lot of Division I players that play in the league. I think just to be able to go and play in that environment and play against that level of competition is great that they have the opportunity to do that.”

Although only three players played on the Golden Giants, he says the Washburn team had players scattered all over the country.

“The NCAA has a rule that you can only have three players for one team. So that is why you only saw three players on the [Golden Giants],” Anson said.

“But we had guys playing in other summer leagues. A lot guys went back home and played. Wes Joy was back east playing in Maryland. Some were in Kansas City playing while others still had Legion eligibility around here.”

Anson has even made it out to some games to check up on the Washburn players and look to pick up some new ones.

“[The Golden Giants] played some good games. They were competitive for the most part. There weren’t too many games that got away from them,” Anson said. “I honestly spent more time going to see players that we could recruit.”

Although the Golden Giants finished 18-19 for the summer, Gorges hopes that the experience will pay off during the spring season so the Washburn baseball team can get back to winning.

“We’re hoping to have a good year and bounce back from last year,” Gorges said. “Last year was kind of a disappointment, so I think we’re all pretty determined to have a good season.”