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West Point to Cape Cod: Derek Berg's Story

07/28/2023 7:04 AM

Article By: Andrew Fantucchio

The Cape Cod Baseball League presents the opportunity for players to compete against the best talent college baseball has to offer over the course of an entire summer. However, Derek Berg’s opportunity lasted just a week, playing for the Brewster Whitecaps while on respite from the United States Military Academy.

The grind of a college baseball season, compounded with a summer on the Cape, can be tiring for many players. But while they’re solely focused on baseball year-round, Berg must prioritize his military training.

“Is there a better person on your team when you have a handful of guys thinking about maybe going home because they want to see their girlfriends, or they want to go to the beach, or they're tired?” said Brewster manager Jamie Schevchik.

“Derek would love to be here playing baseball for the entire summer, but he has to go and do his training for 18 days and live in the woods. The biggest benefit he had to our players was an eye-opening experience. You could be doing worse things in life other than playing baseball in Cape Cod.”

In the 100-year history of the Cape League, Berg is just the sixth player to come out of West Point.

“It’s humbling to have the opportunity to do this,” Berg said. “To get to come and play with the best talent in college baseball and kind of see what I can do against them, it’s pretty exciting. Just to kind of challenge yourself and see what you can do against the best of the best.”

Make no mistake, though, despite being unable to commit as much time to baseball as other players, he wasn’t outclassed during his short stint in Brewster.

The catcher held his own, batting .273 with two home runs in the middle of the Whitecaps’ lineup. A few days before joining the team, Berg had just finished participating in his latest round of military field training.

It’s a culture shock that Berg is used to at this point, though. When you’re a cadet in the Army, you have no choice but to learn how to adjust.

“It's a hard adjustment, but it's forced upon you during our version of basic training,” Berg said. “You’re forced to grow up and learn the ways of army life pretty quickly.”

Going to West Point wasn’t the original plan for Berg while he grew up in Conroe, TX. Aside from his great-grandfather, who flew in the Army Air Corps during World War II, no one in his family has a military background. He had offers from other schools, but became sold on joining the Black Knights while on a recruiting visit.

“What the army does can definitely be intimidating for an 18-year-old senior in high school. But, at the end of the day, it’s a great school, and the government pays for us to go there. You get a great degree, a great education,” Berg said.

“I got to meet the type of guys that played there and was like, ‘these are the type of guys that I want beside me on the field.”

Once Berg finishes his military service, he may have a bright future as a scout because he was right about what he saw on that initial visit, as Army has won the Patriot League five years in a row.

“The whole idea of building a team and [creating] chemistry together in the field when you’re in the military, that translates to the locker room and onto the baseball field,” Berg said.

“Most of us weren’t getting looked at by big schools. Maybe we weren’t the most talented in high school, but when you bring all of us together, who have a shared passion to go win a conference championship every year, it elevates the talent to another level.”

Berg witnessed a whole new level of talent while on the Cape but also noticed how his experience while baseball playing at Army set him apart from the other players around him.

“The experiences you go through at West Point create a callous person,” Berg said. “There are a lot of things I’ve noticed that guys that go to regular colleges take for granted that are a luxury to guys that go to West Point. I’d say we appreciate the little things in life, and that’s pretty rare for guys our age. I definitely see similarities and differences, but for the most part, we're still just guys who love baseball. We just have the army thing that's attached to us.”

The Brewster Whitecaps are nearing the end of their season and are vying to remain in a tight playoff race. Meanwhile, Berg has already left and is now enduring another round of intense field training before he returns to West Point for his senior year in the fall. Upon graduating, he will become a field artillery officer in the U.S. Army and serve a minimum of five years.

After that, baseball will be waiting for him.


The U.S. Army is a proud sponsor of the Cape Cod Baseball League this summer. Learn more about the U.S. Army at