Past Month Has Been ‘A Whirlwind’ For Whitecaps Catcher Kaufer

by Brad Joyal

BREWSTER – About 24 hours after Max Kaufer and his Texas A&M teammates suffered a heartbreaking 6-5 loss to Tennessee on June 24 in the third and final game of the College World Series championship, news broke that A&M coach Jim Schlossanagle was leaving to become coach for archrival Texas.

The next couple weeks were a whirlwind for Kaufer.

The six-foot catcher from Medford, N.J. entered the transfer portal and weighed his options before finding a new home at the University of South Carolina. Now he’s on the Cape, happy to be focusing on baseball while catching for the Brewster Whitecaps.

“There’s been a lot going on,” Kaufer said. “I just committed to South Carolina so everything outside of baseball is starting to slow down, thank God.”

Kaufer saw limited action this spring as a sophomore after enrolling early at A&M and playing in 46 games as a freshman. He’s hitting .364 in four games with the Whitecaps while also balancing the intricacies of learning a Cape League pitching staff as a new catcher.

“I’m doing my best to meet everybody and trying my best to learn their stuff on my off days catching some bullpens if I can,” Kaufer said. “But I can’t lie, some of the guys I only know their name because they announce it when they come in the game. That’s how I’m learning.”

The future USC backstop said he asks pitchers what pitches they throw when they enter the game, but that knowledge can only go so far.

“I have no clue what the shape is, I have no idea what their misses look like, I don’t know much,” he said.

Brewster manager Jamie Shevchik is hopeful Kaufer and his former A&M teammate and new arrival Kaeden Kent can infuse some winning energy into the lineup. The Whitecaps skipper said he wanted to build a team with players who are hungry to prove themselves and noted that Kaufer fits that mold.

“I think he can be a really good catcher,” Shevchik said. “He graduated early and I think went to A&M at 17 years old and played 30-something games as a freshman and then got buried on the bench because a fifth-year senior came in.”

While he prepares to start a new chapter in South Carolina, Kaufer is grateful for the magical run he experienced with A&M and is thrilled to be back on the diamond in Brewster.

“We had some kind of team. I love A&M and all my teammates and I’m so happy for the university and for Mike Earley, who just got hired,” Kaufer said. “They are going to be good again next year. This past month has been a whirlwind going through a crazy playoff run, to the season ending, to our coach leaving, coming up here as quickly as I could, a new coach getting hired, and entering the portal.

“It’s been crazy. I just feel so blessed to be on the field.”