Cameron continues baseball career Down Under – Hometownlife.com
Even after a successful high school and college career, Daniel Cameron can’t quite get baseball out of his system.
The 2013 Livonia Churchill grad, who recently earned a degree in Finance and Economics from Shenandoah University (Va.), is taking his talents Down Under to the Carine Cats, a feeder team for the Perth Heat of the Australia Baseball League, which is affiliated with Major League Baseball.
Perth, the capital of Western Australia, is the country’s fourth most populated city with 1.9 million people.
“The real world — you could say — I’m not ready for yet,” joked Cameron, a catcher who batted .347 with 37 RBIs for Shenandoah, which earned a school-record 41 wins and was ranked No. 1 in NCAA Division III for six weeks. “The beaches are gorgeous. I’ll be living right on the beach. There’s Starborough Beach, world renowned. It’s pretty cool.”
The 22-year-old Cameron signed a pro contract with the state minor league team on July 8 and will leave on Sept. 26. The season begins Oct. 1 and will run through March and possibly into April (depending upon the playoffs).
Former Shenandoah player Greg Van Sickler, who started with the Carine Cats and played for the Perth Heat, helped make the connection for Cameron.
“One of my coaches contacted me and asked, ‘Hey, want to play semi-pro ball over in Australia,'” Cameron said. “I said, ‘Of course, yeah. It sounds awesome.’ Got in touch with one of the coaches and a scout here. We talked, and after about of month of them working on who they were looking at and deciding who was going to come, they ended up and decided going with me and offered me the position.”
The 5-foot-6, 185-pound Cameron started 46 of 51 games this season for the 41-10 Hornets earning second-team All-Old Dominion Athletic Conference honors while hitting .346 in 19 league games with 16 RBIs.
He also earned second team ABCA/Rawlings All-South and third-team D1baseball.com NCAA All South Region honors at catcher.
That came on the heels of an abbreviated junior season where he played in only 19 games after fracturing his hand, which required surgery.
And although Cameron’s season ended with a 1-0 regional final loss to Wheaton (Mass.), the Hornets were ranked No. 8 in the final NCAA Division III poll.
“Shenendoah was unlike any other baseball I’ve ever played before,” Cameron said. “I learned so much about the game of baseball being there more than I have every learned in my entire life in those two years.”
Cameron, a two-time All-Observer pick, earned four baseball letters at Churchill and started three years for the Chargers under coach Ron Targosz. He then played two seasons at Henry Ford Community College and appeared to be headed to Wayne State University for his final two years of eligibility.
“It was my dream school,” Cameron said of WSU. “But some personal things went down here and I decided to go down there and check out this school that contacted me, which had made it to the (NCAA Division III) World Series two of of the last six years and made it to the regional six out of the last six. I said, ‘O.K., let’s go check it out.'”
Cameron decided to take a visit to Winchester, a town with a population of 27,000 in the northwestern corner in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and it changed the course of his life and possibly his career.
“Went down there and fell in love with it as soon as I got there,” he said. “I was like, ‘Maybe this is why I’m going to go here.’ About a month later I committed and haven’t looked back. It was a great decision to go there.”
With the Carine Cats, Cameron said he’ll play four games per week with one week off for Christmas.
“Not getting paid a substantial amount,” he said. “But they set me up with a car, housing, plane tickets, weekly money to live on, and fed as well.”
And if Cameron plays well, he could someday get a call-up from the Perth Heat.
But for now, he’s going to a country that he has little knowledge about, only things he has read about online.
“I know that the spiders are huge,” he said. “I know they have kangaroos and a lot of great white sharks at the Perth beach where I’m at. I also know it’s a world renowned beach where I’m staying. Some of the nicest people in the world. I heard every Saturday they celebrate like it’s the Fourth of July here. I just know it’s a different lifestyle.”
Cameron, who made the Dean’s List all four semesters at Shenandoah, hopes to parlay his Australia experience into a full-time baseball career.
“I definitely want to get into coaching,” he said. “I’ve always done small lessons, but never done anything significant like coaching a team or subbing for somebody. I definitely like to coach my own team, and preferably if it works out, a college team one day. Just because I have so much knowledge about the game and learned so much all these years from playing, especially Shenandoah.”