for immediate release: 8 August, 2003
Cardinals move into finals for second straight year
Orleans 7, Brewster 2
Pleasant Lake – The Orleans Cardinals rode the record-setting power surge of Clay Harris and Cesar Nicolas into the 2003 Cape League finals with a four-home run outburst to defeat Brewster 7-2.
Harris (LSU) and Nicolas (Vanderbilt) each hit two home runs, a solo shot and a two-run blast for both. This was the first time teammates hit two home runs each in a playoff game. Harris’ first came in the second inning and was a two-run blast to center field, giving the Cardinals a 3-0 lead. Nicolas followed with a solo shot to left in the third while Harris leadoff the fourth with his second circuit clout. Nicolas closed out the scoring with a two-run shot to left in the fifth giving Orleans a 7-2 lead.
The beneficiary of the slugging display was Rhett James (Florida State), who was 7-1 with a 2.60 ERA in the regular season. James, tossed his first complete game of the summer, allowed nine hits, two runs, walked one and struck out six. Though he had only two 1-2-3 innings, including a four-pitch eighth inning, James only allowed a Whitecap to reach second in the fifth inning when they scored twice. The righthander earned his third win of the summer against Brewster as he was 2-0 with 13 K’s in 13IP against the Whitecaps in the regular season.
Brewster crossed the plate in fifth, snapping an 18 2/3 consecutive scoreless inning streak in the playoffs, when Ryan Patterson (LSU) drove in two runs with a bases-loaded single to center.
Robert Ransom (Vanderbilt) started for Brewster and took the loss going four innings, giving up five hits and five runs while walking one and striking out three. Ransom was 2-0 in 19 IP with a 0.47 ERA in the regular season.
Nicolas and Harris each went 3-for-4 with three RBI while Nicolas scored three times and Harris twice. In the two games the two had four hits and 10 total bases a piece.
For Brewster it was a bittersweet end to an outstanding season. Manager Bob Macaluso (Muhlenberg) was named Manager of the Year for guiding the Whitecaps to a share of the Eastern Division title in his first year as manager. J. C. Holt (LSU) won the batting title with a team-record .388 average and was also named MVP. Jarrett Santos (UNC Greensboro) won the Top Relief Pitcher Award as he led the league with 11 saves.
Orleans now awaits the outcome of the Bourne – Hyannis series which is tied at one game apiece after the Braves 6-0 win.
This will be the second straight appearance in the finals for the Cardinals, who lost last year to Wareham in two games. This is Orleans’ tenth time in the finals where it is 2-7. The Cardinals last championship was in 1993 when they swept Wareham 2-0, also the last time the Cardinals swept a playoff series.
The four homer game was the first in the playoffs since 1986 when Orleans had four in the first game of the finals. Gary Alexander hit a playoff-record three home runs in that game.
Bruce Hack, CCBL Historian