America's League

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Finding Their Summer Catch

02/14/2023 5:10 AM

Article By: Kayleigh Grieb

For many, the 2001 romantic-comedy film “Summer Catch” is nothing more than a fictional love story involving a Cape League player and a local girl who vacations on the Cape.

The film has warmed the hearts of those who have familiarized themselves with all that the Cape League has to offer and it has tapped into many hopeless romantic hearts, who can only truly imagine the experience.

But for some who have had involvement within the League, the movie actually reminds them of their own love story. One that they had discovered when they had met their own “summer catch”.

Nick Wittgren and his wife Ashley had found each other through the League. Pitching for the Hyannis Harbor Hawks for the 2011 summer season, the former Purdue alumni met Ashley while she was working as the Director of Social Media for the League.
The pair met when Ashley was assigned to interview both Nick and fellow Purdue teammate Kevin Plawecki for the Hawks.

Although nothing much came from that interview, as luck would have it they had the chance to meet again. Under much different circumstances this time. The Harbor Hawks field had been prone to flooding in the past. It just so happened right before the start of playoffs that the field had flooded. That act of nature gave Nick and Ashley the opportunity to meet again.

It didn’t keep them together for good though with Nick getting signed to the Miami Marlins in 2012, soon being promoted to the majors in 2016. While this was happening, Ashley headed off to graduate school and due to all these events unfolding, the two lost contact for a few years.

But Nick certainly didn’t forget about Ashley.

He reached out to a mutual friend in the hopes of reconnecting with her while she was studying to get her masters. He succeeded, eventually.

“We didn’t talk for a month and then we never stopped talking after that. Our schedules matched up and we just didn’t stop talking,” said Ashley.

Although the couple joke that they aren’t seen as a “summer catch”, fate seemed to have a different idea when it came down to them meeting.

Soon to be wed, Kyle and Emily Henderson also share a love story similar to that of the Wittgrens.

Both locals to the Wareham area and former Wareham Gatemen interns for the summer 2017 season, both Kyle and Emily can agree that they had found their own “summer catch” through their time working together.

Kyle, a Game Day Operations intern, and Emily, a Community Relations intern turned Game Day Operations intern the following season, recalled meeting behind home plate of the Wareham field where the t-shirt shop was located.

“It was so funny. We started talking about something stupid and then there was like a group of people around us and then it seemed like the group dissolved.” Kyle recalled.

Kyle and Emily became friends that summer, and they kept in contact even after the season ended.

“I had a crush on him from the beginning. I would find excuses to bring him water in the outfield, but we didn’t date until 2020," recalled Emily.

The two both laughed and said they have visited that infamous t-shirt store spot to look back on their fond memory of meeting again. The Hendersons are set to tie the knot this coming July, even deciding on a venue location that was close to the Wareham field.

Both the Wittgrens and the future Mr. and Mrs. Henderson show how the best things in life can truly be unexpected. They entered the league in the hopes to better their careers, leaving with that and a lot more.