Impossible Dream Becomes Reality For Opp 0

By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
Editor/Collegiate Baseball

WEST POINT, N.Y. — Every high school player has a dream of playing college baseball.

For Cam Opp, Army’s superb 5-foot-9, 185-pound southpaw pitcher, the quest was extremely difficult.

He was born in Highlands Ranch, Colo., and his family moved after six years to Hinsdale, Ill. for three years and then made a third move to London, England when he was almost 10.

While England is a hotbed for soccer, cricket and rugby, baseball is an afterthought on the sports scene.

The bond of many young boys and their fathers is the wonderful sport of baseball. In the case of Cam and his baseball loving dad Stuart, it was special.

Stuart helped his son learn every facet of the game by working with him every chance he got while Cam played Little League and beyond.

The only problem was that the competition level in London was terrible. As Cam started high school, the reality was that he would have to move back to the USA if he stood a chance of playing college baseball.

The family came to a decision to allow this young man to return to the United States and attend Christ School in Asheville, N.C. for his junior and senior years of high school. He would then see where his baseball skills would take him while going through a demanding academic load at this well known boarding school.

Cam would be on his own 4,040 miles and six time zones away from his family back in London.

The dream of playing college baseball was the fuel that drove him.

“I lived in England for about seven years from the ages of 10-16.

“I wanted to give college base-ball a shot in the USA, and the best way to do that was to go to a boarding school back in the U.S. The competition in England wasn’t where it needed to be to play in college.

“I was accepted at Christ School and began the next chapter of my life.

“For that two year period, I stayed on campus at dorms that house people from all over the country. My entire family was in England during this time.”

Opp said that he improved as a baseball player at Christ School.

“I have always been a pretty competitive kid and played with a chip on my shoulder because of my size (5-foot-9). I played a lot of outfield in high school and started pitching. I threw my fastball 80-83 mph at the time during my two years there.

“Most of the pitching instruction I had had prior to that was with my dad to be perfectly honest. There was not any scientific process to gaining velocity. By the time I graduated Christ School, I was throwing in the low to mid-80s with my fastball as a lefthander.

“I don’t think I topped out any higher than 85 mph. I had a few looks from a college teams but nothing really too significant.”

Opp said that he missed being with his dad a great deal during his time in North Carolina and had many long conversations with him on the phone about pitching.

“I always talked with him about all the things going on in my life whether it be pitching after a game or going out to golf as I went over every hole. He was always a role model for everything I did.

“Sundays, when many of the students would go back home to towns in the area or within a few hours, I would still be there with other international students. I would typically call my parents in the morning since London is six hours ahead in time.”

Life Turned Upside Down

Cam pitched well his junior season at Christ School and survived the rigors of a tough academic grind.

When he flew back home to London after his junior year, he was excited to share his experiences with family.

“When I got home, my parents sat me down on the couch and told me that dad had cancer,” said Opp.

“Everyone was crying. It was really hard because it seemed as though everything was coming together in our lives at that time.”

Cam had no idea his dad was fighting for his life for the previous three months.

To read more of this story, purchase the Feb. 22, 2019 edition of Collegiate Baseball or subscribe by CLICKING HERE.