NEW BRITAIN — The Hardware City has a Silver City feel this summer as four Meriden residents are suiting for up for the New Britain Bees in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League.
Julian Thayer, Elliot Good and Ryan Daniels are lifelong Meriden natives and Luke Lappe recently moved into town from Berlin.
Thayer, Good and Daniels have known each other for several years.
Good, a multi-sport standout at Maloney who was the Record-Journal’s 2019 Male Athlete of the Year, is a shortstop at CCSU.
“To play down the street from school and representing New Britain and Connecticut is great,” Good said prior to the Bees’ Thursday night game against the Westfield Starfires at New Britain Stadium. “I’m playing with a couple of other guys from the CCSU team and three other kids from Meriden. It’s been a good experience.”
Good has been the Bees’ starting shortstop and hitting in the middle of the order. Good hit .256 this spring with Central, where he’s studying exercise science.
His college coaches that connected him with the Bees.
“It’s a special stadium,” Good said. “I grew up watching the New Britain Rock Cats and now to play in the same stadium and being a Bee is pretty awesome.”
Daniels just graduated from St. Paul and headed a team that won the Class S state championship. Daniels is a slugging shortstop who will play at UConn.
Daniels was activated for his first game on Tuesday and didn’t play. On Wednesday, he started at shortstop, batted fifth and went 2-for-4 with a double.
“The first at-bat I was a little nervous and I struck out,” Daniels said. “But I felt good and comfortable and everyone really welcomed me. My second at-bat was a double and then I stole third on the first pitch.
“I have a different role with the Bees,” Daniels added. “In high school, I was one of the power guys and I hit home runs. Here, I need to get on base and move around the bases as much as I can.”
Daniels said he knew Good and Thayer growing up in Meriden. He and Thayer became close friends as St. Paul teammates.
“We first met at St. Joseph’s in downtown Meriden,” said Daniels. “I got to know him in first grade. He was a little older than me, but we got to know each other then. Later on we played together with the CT Owls, a travel) team my dad started.”
Daniels said the pitching with the Bees is a big step up from what he saw on the high school ranks.
“Pitching is a lot better,” Daniels said. “It’s a lot more competitive and they are always in the zone. If they want to throw it on the outer half, they throw it on the outer half. If they want to throw it on the inner half, they could. They have really good command and control.”
Thayer is a pitcher at the University of Rhode Island. He’s back pitching after undergoing Tommy John surgery in November of 2020, which cost him the 2021 season, and then suffering a small labrum tear four innings into the 2022 season.
“I have been rehabbing and now feel stronger than ever,” Thayer said. “Playing for the Bees is awesome — great environment and the coaches really care about you. It’s also nice to be able to play in a stadium that I used to go watch the Rock Cats play in.”
Thayer has been pitching in relief this summer.
“I’ve been throwing really well,” the right-hander said. “I’m starting to get my confidence back and seeing a lot of positive changes since the last time I have thrown three years ago.”
Thayer reported he’s back at 100 percent this summer and his fastball sits between 86-88 miles an hour. He’s topped out at 90.
“The injuries haven’t been that difficult because I have learned so much from recovering from Tommy John,” Thayer said. “Going to physical therapy has really helped me know what’s best for the arm.”
Luke Lappe, a 2021 Xavier grad, is a 6-foot-2 first baseman who red-shirted this spring at North Alabama. Raised in Berlin, Lappe moved to Meriden a year and a half ago.
“I grew up around here, so it’s a great feeling to play for the Bees,” Lappe said. “I grew up watching the Rock Cats.”
Lappe is a gap-to-gap hitter and has been working on his defense to get smoother at first base.
“I like to think of myself as a lock-down first baseman in the field,” Lappe said. “We have a big roster, so I play between two and five games per week. The competition is great and we are seeing guys from schools all over the country. We see top-notch pitchers. There are so many good players in this league.”