So why did he leave Florida? Too much sunshine? Not enough dodgeball? "The coach's son was a senior in high school, and he played catcher," says Cook.
"Cook's probably having a lot better time in baseball here than he ever did in Tallahassee," says Hillson.
One spot behind Cook in the batting order and four feet below him in their homemade bunk bed in an off-campus house is McCauley. "They call him Kegger because he's so big and strong (6'4", 230 pounds) that he can carry two kegs on his shoulders," says Hillson.
Fate plus a bit of trouble after high school helped to land McCauley at Mansfield. "An injury kept me out of high school ball my senior year," says McCauley, a senior from Ambler, Pa. He was also convicted of public drunkenness and disorderly conduct; while he was serving a year's probation, his probation officer steered him toward Mansfield.
McCauley hit four home runs in his first two seasons as a Mountie. In the last season and a half, he has launched 24. Moreover, he is the undisputed team leader, as evidenced by his perch atop the tarp tree. Which brings us to Mansfield's weather.
"Whenever it looks like rain, coach calls me at about 7 a.m.," says McCauley. Last year it often looked like rain in Mansfield, so McCauley heard from Hillson fairly regularly. "I have the tarp tree, which is the team phone list. It's my job to spread the word that we all have to go down to the field and spread the tarp."
"It's the worst part of being Kegger's roommate," says Cook. "It's not as if I can leave my phone off the hook."
"That's just Mountie baseball," says McCauley. "The weather, the baby-sitting. Waking up at 6 a.m. when it's 24-below to lift weights. It's what separates us from the other teams up North."
It's what separates the Mounties from almost everyone. "When we're lifting weights," says Cook, "Coach always says, 'I guarantee you that [former Division II powerhouse] Cal Poly isn't training right now.' Of course, when he says that, it's 3 a.m. in California. That makes us laugh."
Good thing. On a team of baby-sitters, there's no room for a crybaby.