PJ Cosden got to experience what life is like as a professional baseball player for five days last week.
The Gettysburg High School senior spent the week at the Baseball Factory National World Series at the Pittsburgh Pirates spring training complex in Bradenton, Fla., where he played in four games and received one-on-one and group instruction from former professional baseball players. He earned a spot at the event, which featured top 14- to 18-year-olds from around the county, after a June tryout in Charleston, W.Va.
"It was the best experience I've had so far with baseball, or with anything that I've done with it," Cosden said. "It was just baseball from sun up to sun down, which I love doing. It was a great experience.
"I really learned some new drills that I can work on. The (instructors) all played professional ball, so they talked about what it's like living as a professional and what it took to do that as far as training and all that. It was cool to learn what it would be like to be a professional ball player."
The Baseball Factory National World Series players shared the Pirates facilities with the organization's Gulf Coast League team during the week, and Cosden got to stay in the same dorms Pirates players have stayed at and play on the same field major leaguers use during spring training.
"The facilities were amazing," he said. "That MLB commercial on TV that shows Andrew McCutchen in the cage, that's the cage we were at. It makes it even more special knowing that Pirates used (the same facilities)."
Cosden's team for the week — the Braves — won its division and lost in the championship game. Cosden pitched in two games and felt pleased with his performance given the quality of his competition.
"There were a lot of good hitters there, and I just tried to keep the games that I pitched close, which I did," he said. "I didn't give up as many hits as I thought I would; I'm more of a contact pitcher so I was kind of concerned those kids would hit me hard, but they really didn't."