Matt Watson, the former Deering High catcher, has gotten off to a slow offensive start in the Cape Cod Baseball League.

But neither Watson, who helped the Rams win Class A state championships in 2007 and ’08, nor any of his former coaches are worried.

“I’ve been hitting the ball really well,” said Watson, who is playing for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox after a solid freshman season at Boston College. “I’ve been hitting it hard but just right at people.”

“He’s going to be fine,” said Y-D Coach Scott Pickler, who has coached in the CCBL for 13 seasons. “This is a tough league on freshmen and he’s handling it very well.”

While appearing in 19 of Y-D’s first 20 games, Watson is hitting .205.

“From everything I hear, he’s swinging the bat very well down in the Cape,” Boston College Coach Mik Aoki said. “He’s just not being rewarded for it in terms of hits. He’s just had a lot of bad luck.”

Relatively few players hit well in their first season in the Cape league as they make the transition from an aluminum bat to a wooden bat.

“A lot of times it’s a guy’s first time using a wooden bat and it does take time to get used to that,” said Mike D’Andrea, the former Deering coach who played for Yarmouth-Dennis in 1989 following his freshman year at the University of Maine.

“With wood, you have to have a lot more of a downhill swing on the ball,” Watson said. “With aluminum, you try to lift balls. There’s not as much skill (involved) with an aluminum bat.”

Pitchers tend to dominate in Cape Cod, long considered the best of the nation’s more than 30 college baseball summer leagues.

Last week, one of Watson’s teammates, right-hander Jordan Pries, an incoming junior at Stanford, threw a no-hitter in a 2-0 victory against Orleans.

“Some (coaches) won’t even put their freshmen hitters up into this league because the pitching dominates so much,” said Pickler, head baseball coach at Division III Cypress College in southern California. “As a true freshman, he’s holding his own. Most guys won’t send their freshmen hitters up here because they’re afraid they’re going to get beat up, but I’m not worried about Matt because he’s so strong mentally.”

Watson, who hit .259 with seven homers in his first college season while playing in all 58 of the Eagles’ games in the Atlantic Coast Conference, has a good read on the type of pitchers he’s now facing.

“In this league, they throw a lot more fastballs because the adjustment to wooden bats is so difficult,” he said.

“In the ACC, what you see is breaking balls, then a fastball. They’re just changing the rotation, changing speeds. Here, there’s a lot more fastballs, and these guys have real good fastballs.”

Despite his batting average, Watson remains among his team’s leaders with a .378 on-base percentage. He’s also drawn 10 walks, the second- highest total on his club, striking out just five times. He hit his first home run Tuesday night against Orleans.

“A kid with that combination means he’s being selective and hitting deep in counts,” Aoki said.

“I’d be very interested to see how he finishes the season,” D’Andrea said. “I’m very sure he’s going to have a good July.”

Every team Watson has played on has been successful.

After three years at Deering, he spent his senior season at Pompano Beach, Fla., helping the Tornadoes to their first district playoff win in 2009.

Last summer, he returned to Maine to help Nova Seafood, coached by D’Andrea, to the American Legion state championship.

“Having coached for 15 years, I’ve seen a tremendous number of players go through, and he’s by far the hardest worker I’ve coached,” D’Andrea said.

“Matt is a really, really good hitter,” Aoki said. “When it’s all said and done, he will end up having a really good career at BC, and I’m sure he’ll probably end up getting drafted (very high) on the strength of his bat.”

Watson, who was drafted in the 26th round in 2009 by the Houston Astros, will be eligible to re-enter the draft following his junior year of college.

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: [email protected]