Versatile Harwich targeted for winning season
By ASHLEY CROSBY
HARWICH ---- Versatility will be the key for the 2010 Harwich Mariners, who have been hit hard by the loss of five players to Team USA.
Mikie Mahtook (LSU), Austin Nola (LSU), Matty Ott (LSU), Tyler Pill (Cal-State Fullerton), andTaylor Dugas (Alabama) have all been invited to play for Team USA, whose tryouts are held on July 11th, 10 days after the final Cape League rosters are due.
“We deal with it every year,” field manager Steve Englert said. “You just move guys here and there.”
Luckily, the Mariners have a good mix of both young and veteran players with speed, and a strong pitching staff with a good amount of versatility in the pitches they command.
The strong Mariners’ roster includes two Cape League veterans: returning sophomores Levi Michael (North Carolina) and Matt Price (Virginia Tech).
“A lot of first-time players to the Cape League struggle at the plate because of their inexperience using wood bats,” first year general manager Ben Layton. “Levi, hopefully, can provide valuable tips to the newcomers on getting the bats around a little quicker. He also knows the lay of the land here on the Cape after playing last season with Harwich. Each of the Cape League teams have different elements to their fields and facilities. Hopefully, as the team starts the summer tour around the Cape, Levi can provide a little insight on their quirks.”
Michael is averaging .355 this spring, with eight home runs and 50 RBI for the Tar Heels. Price, a right-hander for the Hokies, is 7-3 with 76 strikeouts and a 4.50 ERA in 80 innings.
Michael’s North Carolina teammate Brian Goodwin, a freshman outfielder, has driven in 61 runs and has a .519 slugging percentage ---- third best on the team.
The Mariners have two local boys coming to town in Franklin’s Andrew Leenhouts (Northeastern) and Canton’s Kyle McKenzie (Tulane). Also arriving is shortstop Clint Moore (West Point), who sports a .311 average and .556 slugging percentage.
“Coach Steve Englert has several players on the roster that are versatile and I feel like this creates the opportunity for him to make quick adjustments that will produce a positive outcome for us,” Layton said.
Englert, entering his 13th year, put together a winning combination in 2008, leading Harwich to its first championship in 21 years.
Layton is optimistic about the 2010 team.
“If our team can rally around our strong pitching staff, we should have a real shot at bringing home our second title in three years,” he said.
Fans will notice upgraded bleachers and more viewer-friendly netting behind the backstop at Whitehouse Field. They are among the many improvements in recent years that include new lights, dugouts, a concession stand, and press box renovations.
“We hope that these changes will improve the fans’ experience while watching this team this summer,” Layton said.