New-look Brewster looks for rebound season
By ERIN CAWLEY
BREWSTER -- Field manager Tom Myers returns for his second summer at the helm of the Brewster Whitecaps with hopes of a healthy and consistent season. With the combination of a talented roster and experience gained from his first year in the Cape League, the Whitecaps could be on track towards a successful campaign.
The Whitecaps were fourth in the East Division last season with a 17-22-5 record. Though they finished below .500, Myers didn’t feel it was a reflection of the club’s talent. The Whitecaps were plagued by injuries and the loss of four key players just as they were gaining momentum.
The Whitecaps start this summer with nearly a clean slate of players, with the exception of returning third baseman Harold Martinez (Miami). The fun-loving 6-3, 200-pound Martinez figures to play a key leadership role. He competed in last summer’s Home Run Contest at Fenway Park and has enjoyed a strong spring season at Miami, hitting .313 with 35 RBI.
Although the majority of this year’s Whitecaps are newcomers to the Cape League, don’t expect them to play like rookies. Nine hail from Top 25 programs, while the remainder are standouts at their colleges and universities. With 11 new pitchers ---- seven right-handers, four left-handers ----- the Whitecaps should possess depth on the mound.
The right-handers are Luke Bard (Georgia Tech), Brett Huber (Mississippi), Jake Barrett (Arizona State), Matt Larkins (UC-Riverside), Austin Lubinsky (Minnesota), Colton Murray (Kansas) andMike Palazzone (Georgia). Bard, brother of Red Sox pitcher Daniel Bard, was drafted by the Red Sox in last year’s 16th round, but elected to attend Tech.
He has struggled, posting a 6.64 ERA in 20.1 innings that includes 13 relief appearances and one start. He has two saves and 22 strikeouts. Huber has been solid at Ole Miss, with a 2-0 record, five saves, and a 2.91 ERA.
The southpaws are Adam Conley and David Stilley (both Washington State), Matt Crouse(Mississippi) and Chris Matulis (LSU).
Crouse looks to be an ace for the Whitecaps. The hard-throwing lefty is 4-1, with a 1.98 ERA for the Rebels.
Sharing catching responsibilities are Robert Brantley (UC-Riverside), Jeremy Schaffer (Tulane),Mike Dowd (Franklin Pierce) and Tyler Ogle (Oklahoma).
Ogle, a designated hitter for the Sooners, averaged .545 as a pinch hitter last season, and currently sports a .344 batting average in the Big 12 conference. Dowd, voted the 2009 ECAC Division 2 Rookie of the Year in his freshman season, has been solid behind the plate and at the bat, with a .321 average and 36 RBI.
The second base responsibilities will be shared by newly acquired Jon Berti (Bowling Green) andKirk Singer (Long Beach State). Berti leads the Falcons with a .412 batting average, 48 runs scored and four home runs, while Singer is hitting .337 with 23 runs scored.
Troy Channing (St. Mary’s) and Colby May (Georgia) will compete with Martinez at third. Channing and May have power and could see time at first base. Channing was voted to the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America team and named a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy in his rookie season.
Shortstop duties will be shared by Andy Burns (Kentucky) and Taylor Featherston (TCU).
The outfield will be home to a quick and talented group that includes Derek Jones (Washington State), Chris Ellison (Oklahoma), Nathan Melendres (Miami) and Drew Martinez (Memphis). Martinez is currently leading the Memphis attack with a .389 average and 48 RBI. The speedy Martinez is also a threat on the bases.
The Whitecaps have all the necessary components for a break-out season. Myers hopes that his young team will adjust quickly to the Cape League atmosphere and come together as a coherent force on and off the field.