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Any baseball player would question his team, staff and self after a late season collapse. The question for any athlete is usually not “What can I do to improve?” but “Who do I blame?”

Fortunately for the Red and Blue, rising junior pitcher Connor Cuff has been taking the initiative to improve his game and use last season as fuel to propel him into his junior campaign.

A starter at Penn, Cuff has been used in the same role on the Edenton Steamers, a team based in North Carolina that competes in the Coastal Plain League. The Steamers take young college talent from all over the East Coast and, to Cuff, proved to be an environment of competition, as the Steamers are ranked as the third best collegiate summer league team in the nation, as well as relaxation.

“I’ve just been in a relaxed atmosphere out here,” Cuff said. “You come out here everyday and do your work and start all over the next day.”

While a carefree environment for Cuff, he has been doing anything but relaxing at the mound, posting a 3-0 record and a 2.17 ERA. This is a dramatic improvement from his last Penn season, where Cuff was 5-3 and pitched a 4.38 ERA over the season.

“I’ve just been trying to play my game, and I’ve been successful,” Cuff said. “Everyone is relaxed but wants to win. I think I’m doing well in that type of gameplay and atmosphere.”

Cuff contributed his talent for a unique franchise in the CPL. Edenton is the only publicly owned franchise, stemming back from the team’s days of owning the Colonials. Cuff and the rest of the Steamers approached some records as well, starting with their impressive 12 game winning streak, falling just short of the record of 13.

This year, the Steamers will be sending eight players to the CPL All-Star team, including Cuff.

Currently, the Steamers are heading into the second half of the season with its all stars, Cuff is well on his way to making drastic improvements to the Quakers’ bullpen. Cuff is concerned about the future of the coaching staff, but what he isn’t worried about is his play and new air of confidence.

When the season comes around in his junior year, Cuff can be looked to as a leader and one of the reasons Quaker baseball fans can hope for a turnaround in the 2013-2014 season.

Cuff wants to stay the course and work on his game in the hopes of helping his Quakers squad that had all the ability, but fell short in the home stretch.

“It’s always great to go away for the summer and play for a winning team,” Cuff said. “[Penn] had the talent and a great roster, it’s just that things fell through at the end of the season. I hope to bring back leadership and a love of the game and help lead [Penn] to an Ivy League championship.”

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