THIS WEEK IN THE CAPE LEAGUE
(4 July – 10 July 2004)
Written by John Garner, Director of Public Relations and Broadcasting
and Bruce Hack, League Historian.
Contributions from Cape League Interns:
Britt Berry, Rebecca Gardner, Erica Gregory, TJ Lasita, Brian MacPherson
Coca Cola Pitcher and Player of the Week
COCA COLA PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Falmouth’s Daniel Carte (Winthrop University) has gotten hot and so have the Commodores. Carte was named Player of the Week as he hit .393 with a home run and 12 RBI in a 6-1 week for Falmouth. Carte leads the league in home runs (7), RBI (20), runs (18), slugging percentage (.620), extra-base hits (11) and is 10th in batting (.296). His 10-game hitting streak was snapped on Saturday and is tied for the third-longest in the league this season.
COCA COLA PITCHER OF THE WEEK
Justin Blaine provided just-in-time relief for Yarmouth-Dennis this week and has been named Pitcher of the Week. Blaine, a sophomore lefthander from the University of San Diego, tossed 6 2/3 innings of no-hit relief work on 8 July as the Red Sox won in 10 innings 5-3. Blaine set a league record with 15 strikeouts, the most by a relief pitcher. He is 2-0 on the season with 33 strikeouts in 21 innings.
Surging Hyannis Mets Host Wareham in “Cape League Returns to Sandwich”
Winners of eight of their last 11 games, the red-hot Hyannis Mets play their second home game on the road Monday (July 12) night under the lights at Fenton Field when “Cape League Baseball Returns To Sandwich”, for the third consecutive year.
Presented by The Community Bank, the game begins at 7 p.m. at Sandwich High School’s Fenton Field. (Kid’s clinic at 5:30 and pre-game show at 6:45.)
Located at Sandwich High School off Exit 3, Route 6, the game features the host Hyannis Mets against the West Division rival Wareham Gatemen.
Last season, the game between Hyannis and the Cotuit Kettleers drew an overflow crowd of approximately 3,000 fans, while the 2002 contest between the Mets and the Bourne Braves attracted 1800 people.
The game is the Cape League Radio Game of the Week on PIXY 103 (102.9 FM) beginning at 6:45 p.m. and can also be heard on Free Teamline on www.hyannismets.org.
The Mets (11-9) are led by first baseman Pat Reilly (Arizona, .357), catcher Chris Robinson (Illinois, .289), outfielders Jay Miller (Washington St., .278) and Shane Robinson (Florida St., .277), relief ace Bo Lanier (Georgia, 1-0, 0.00, 3 saves), left-handed pitcher Ryan Kennedy (Virginia Tech, 1-1, 1.57) hurler Matt Buschman (Vanderbilt, 2-2, 2.79) and fire-balling pitcher Mark Sauls (Florida St., 2-0, 1.00).
Hyannis ranked second in the league in team batting average (.236) and team earned run average (2.24) and third (77) in runs scored.
After winning six out of seven games to get over the .500 mark, the Mets broke a two-game losing streak with a 6-1 win at Bourne Friday, followed by a 6-2 win at Falmouth Saturday night.
Against the Commodores, Mike Costanzo (Coastal Carolina) slugged a two-run home run and Chris Robinson (Illinois) hit a solo shot before Reilly broke it open in the sixth with his first homer of the season
Mike Wlodarczyk hurled six innings for the win, giving up four hits and a walk. Shane Robinson (Florida State) was also 3-for-4 for Hyannis.
In Friday’s game at Bourne, Hyannis scored five runs in the sixth inning and Buschmann allowed 10 hits in the complete-game victory and struck out seven Braves batters, besting Bourne ace Kyle Schmidt.
Costanzo had an RBI double while Reilly, Miller and Kyle Keen (Georgia) had RBI singles. Keen went 2-for-5 for Hyannis while Robinson was 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored. --John Garner, Jr., Director of Public Relations & Broadcasting, firstname.lastname@example.org
Falmouth (11-9-1, tied for first in West, 7-5-1 in division, 6-1 for week)
The Falmouth Commodores began the season 0-5, mired in the West Division basement. Through Saturday’s games, however, the club is tied atop the Western Division standings.
Much of the credit can be aimed at the Falmouth offense. The Commodores have the league’s top home run and RBI man in Daniel Carte, and the best batting average on the Cape. But, without the help of some of the league’s top pitchers, the Commodores might still be in the West Division cellar.
“There’s such a fine line in this league,” said Commodore manager Jeff Trundy. “I think you really have to have all parts of your game in order if you’re going to have success.”
Success has come in bunches for Falmouth of late. Entering Sunday’s games the league’s hottest team won seven of its last 10, including six of its last seven.
Trundy, who this week became the 27th Cape League coach to reach 100 victories, said the team’s balance has been instrumental in its recent success.
“We were swinging the bats well, but now all of the sudden we’re pitching the ball well and you have to play good defense, too,” Trundy said. “If you struggle with any part of that, this league is just too doggone good and there’s too many good teams, you’re not going to have success.”
Including an eight-inning outing in which he allowed no earned runs on Friday, Falmouth’s Dallas Buck has shined on the hill for the Commodores thus far. The big righty from Oregon State carries a 0.81 ERA, with 32 strikeouts in 33.1 innings of work this summer. Not far behind, Phil Bartleski and Nick Webber pace the club with three victories apiece. Vanderbilt star Jensen Lewis earned his first win of the season last week, tossing seven innings of shutout baseball, scattering four hits and striking out eight.
While the pitching staff has kept the opposition under wraps, the offense hasn’t slacked off. The Commodores have scored six or more runs in six of their last eight games, through Saturday. Carte went 11-for-28 on the week, driving in 12 and scoring six runs.
“I think we’ve played pretty much with every part of the game pretty well over the last few games,” Trundy said.
On Wednesday night, the Commodores play host to Cotuit, in a battle for West Division supremacy. The contest begins at 7 p.m. at Arnie Allen Diamond at Guv Fuller Field. -- T.J. Lasita, CCBL Intern, TJLasita@capecodbaseball.org
Bourne (10-11, tied for third in West, 5-7 in division, 2-4 for week)
Sometimes talent and effort aren’t quite enough. Sometimes it comes down to a little luck.
For Bourne, that has included good luck – a Wareham throw bounced out of play in the bottom of the ninth on Sunday, allowing Greg Mangum (North Carolina) to score the game-winning run.
But the Braves have suffered from the worst kind of tough luck, too – facing the wrong pitchers at the wrong times. On Monday, Falmouth pitches tallied 19 strikeouts and allowed just four hits, while Chatham’s Ryan Mullins (Vanderbilt) and Kyle Bono (Central Florida) combined to shut down the Braves on Tuesday.
The bats came alive on Thursday – Micah Owings (Georgia Tech) hit a two-run homer – but it still wasn’t enough to beat Casey Hudspeth (South Florida) and Cotuit. And to top things off, Hyannis’ Matt Buschmann (Vanderbilt) spun a complete-game gem on Friday to drop the Braves to fourth place in the West Division.
But the Braves broke into the win column on Saturday, snapping the four-game skid, when Mike Madsen (Ohio State) tossed a complete-game, three-hit shutout against Harwich. Owings, Craig Stinson (Texas A&M), and Joe Simokaitis (Nebraska) drove in runs to lead Bourne to its first victory in nearly a week.
The Braves will look to keep the momentum going against West Division leader Cotuit on Monday. --Brian MacPherson, CCBL Intern, email@example.com
Cotuit (11-8-1, tied for first in West, 4-5-1 in division, 2-3 for week)
Months after a broken wrist forced him to miss the entire collegiate season, a broken hand has ended Justin Maxwell’s season on the Cape.
In a game against Brewster this week, the outfielder was hit on the right hand by a pitch. That figured to be the last pitch Maxwell would see in a Kettleer uniform in 2004.
Maxwell ends the season with a .263 batting average, one home run and three
“He is an outstanding baseball player,” said Cotuit manager Mike Roberts. “He was just beginning to relax and play at a very high level when he got hurt, because he hadn’t played competitively in a year.”
Considered to be one of the league’s top prospects, Maxwell was selected in the 10th round of this year’s Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft by the Texas Rangers.
Much of the hype built around Maxwell came from his performance on the Cape last summer. Maxwell hit .307 with 17 RBI as a member of the Bourne Braves on the way to earning the Manny Robello Tenth Player Award.
“You don’t replace those type of guys,” Roberts said.
Cotuit hasn’t let Maxwell’s absence ruin its run for a West Division crown, though. The Kettleers went 2-3 for the week, but still hold a share of first place in the division through Saturday’s games.
Thursday the Kettleers trailed the Harwich Mariners for nearly the entire ballgame, but pulled out an extra-inning win for their second straight victory. Down 1-0 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Chase Headley drove in the tying run with a single up the middle. In the tenth, Brad Boyer ended the affair with a game-winner through the right side.
“I think the fun thing about playing in the Cape League, is you have to begin the first practice knowing the majority of the games are going to be decided by one or two runs,” Roberts said. “So we sort of teach what we have to do to win a one-run game.”
Bryan Harris saw his 14-game hitting streak come to a close one night later. Through the streak, Harris hit .429 with three home runs and nine runs scored. --T.J. Lasita, CCBL Intern, TJLasita@capecodbaseball.org
Wareham (7-13, fifth in West, 4-4 in division, 2-3 for week)
Cooper Farris decided to make a move. Before his Wareham Gatemen took the field against the Brewster Whitecaps on July 2, Farris removed his shortstop Chris Gutierrez from the third spot in the lineup and moved him to the lead off position. The move has paid off, as the Oklahoma State infielder has hit safely in all seven games since moving up in the order.
“He’s had some quality at bats,” Farris said. “He stays within himself probably better than anybody we have. He doesn’t try to do anything more than he’s capable of.”
Through Saturday, Gutierrez has hit a team high .325, good for sixth in the Cape League. Joining four runs and six RBI, Gutierrez leads the league with 25 base hits for the summer.
Fellow middle infielder Warner Jones has continued to makes waves at the plate for Wareham in 2004. Jones’ 20 hits are second only to Gutierrez for the team lead, and his 12 RBI pace the Gatemen. Jones’ nine doubles are first in the Cape League this season.
“They’re both good players, and they’re both offensive players,” Farris said. “That’s something you don’t find much in the middle infield. In the major leagues, they want most of these middle infielders to make all the plays, and if they hit .250 that’s great. But these guys are going to hit for average as well as make most of the plays.”
The duo has been solid up the middle all season, creating one of the most potent double-play combinations in the league. Gutierrez has been known to turn what looks to be a sure base hit into a routine 6-3 groundout.
“There’s some stuff he needs to work on, but he could be really good,” Farris said. “He’s made some really spectacular plays, plays most shortstops don’t get to.”
After losing eight of their last ten, the Gatemen will look to pick up the pieces this week and crawl out of the West Division cellar. After a pair of games against divisional foe Hyannis on Monday and Tuesday, Wareham will finish up the week with games against Cotuit and Falmouth, the leaders out West. --T.J. Lasita, CCBL Intern, TJLasita@capecodbaseball.org
Brewster (13-8, first in East, 7-5 in division, 4-2 for week)
With one game to go until the halfway point of the CCBL season, the Brewster Whitecaps are in first place in the East Division, two games ahead of the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox. The Whitecaps are 13-8, and are 7-3 in their last ten games.
Brewster leads the league in pitching, boasting a 2.16 ERA, and pitchers Josh Cribb (Clemson) and Matt Goyen (Georgia College) are tied for the league lead in complete games (1) and shutouts (1). After 21 games, Goyen still leads the league with 40 strikeouts, is tied for first with four wins, and is tied for eighth in the league with a 1.00 ERA.
Ryan Falcon (UNC-Greensboro) is seventh in the league in ERA and is the Brewster pitching staff leader at 0.98. Falcon, usually a middle reliever, made his debut as a starter on July 8 at Spillane Field versus the Wareham Gatemen. Falcon held the Gatemen scoreless through four innings, but gave up two singles and a double in the fifth to put Wareham up 2-1. Falcon gave up six hits in 5 1/3 innings pitched, walking only one and striking out five. Brewster offense was not enough, though, and the Whitecaps went on to lose 3-2. Falcon was tagged with the loss, his first, and is now 1-1 on the season.
Brewster offense is up to fourth in the league, with a .230 batting average. Michael Campbell (South Carolina) leads the team with a blistering .346 batting average through Friday’s games.
Craig Cooper (Notre Dame) leads his team with three homeruns, and is third in the league with 13 RBI. Ryan Roberson (George Washington) remains a hot hitter for the Whitecaps, hitting .288 with a .475 slugging percentage. --Britt Berry, 2004 CCBL Intern, bBerry@capecodbaseball.org
Yarmouth-Dennis (12-9, second in East, 7-3 in division, 3-3 for week)
Justin Blaine took the mound in the fifth inning of Thursday’s game against Chatham with runners on first and third and the score tied, 2-2. When one of the first pitches he threw slipped past the catcher, allowing a run to score, his audible frustration could be heard throughout Veterans Field.
But it didn’t take long for Blaine – a starting pitcher at San Diego – to settle down. He struck out both batters he faced in the fifth, and he would later strike out the side in both the seventh and eighth innings. He eventually would rack up 15 strikeouts in the game.
And when all was said and done, he’d thrown 6 2/3 no-hit innings to allow the Red Sox to rally for a 5-3 win in 10 innings against an important East Division rival.
“When you start, you get into a routine where you stretch and visualize possibilities before the game,” Blaine said. “When you relieve, it’s probably a high-pressure situation, a tight ballgame, and it’s more that an adrenaline rush takes over. It carried me through the end (Friday).”
Blaine had to be nearly perfect, too. Chatham starter Andrew Miller (North Carolina) took a no-hitter into the seventh inning before giving up a single to Nick Moresi (Fresno State), even though control problems allowed the Red Sox to score two runs against him.
“Everyone expects (Miller) to be in the big leagues in a few years,” Blaine said. “He’s got great stuff and he’s a competitor, so it’s just added incentive to try to outdo him in that particular game and get a win out of it.”
Blaine now has a 2-0 record with a 1.29 ERA, and his 33 strikeouts rank third in the league. And while the 6-foot-4 lefty hasn’t yet earned a save, he’s established himself as one of the most dependable hurlers on a staff with the highest team ERA in the league. -- Brian MacPherson, CCBL Intern, firstname.lastname@example.org
Chatham (9-12, fourth in East, 5-5 in division, 3-4 for week)
The A’s began week four of the 2004 CCBL season in fourth place in the East Division, four games out of first. Chatham is 5-5 in its last ten games.
A’s pitcher Ryan Mullins (Vanderbilt) has a 0.60 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 15 innings. Mullins took the hill for his second start against the Bourne Braves at Coady Field on July 6. He pitched seven complete innings, giving up five hits, only one earned run, no walks, and striking out six. Steven Head (Mississippi) was 2-for-3 in the game, drawing one walk. Chris Getz (Michigan), Travis Storrer (Clemson), and Tom Shanley (George Washington) each had an RBI. Kyle Bono (Central Florida) came on in the eighth, striking out three, walking one, and giving up one hit. Mullins picked up his second win in the 4-2 victory while Bono nailed down his league-leading fifth save.
A’s pitcher Glen Swanson (UC-Irvine) earned his first win on July 4, going against the defending league champion Orleans Cardinals. In seven innings, Swanson gave up four hits, two earned runs, walked one, and fanned seven. Head added run support for Swanson in the bottom of the sixth, hitting a solo homer to right center and sent the A’s on their way to a 3-2 win.
Getz has moved into the league lead with a .373 batting average. He is also first in on-base percentage at .492, and second in runs with 15. --Britt Berry, 2004 CCBL Intern, bBerry@capecodbaseball.org
Harwich (10-10, third in East, 5-6 in division, 2-4 for week)
After four weeks of play, the Harwich Mariners remain on a quest for first place, sitting in third two games behind Yarmouth-Dennis and three games behind Brewster. The Mariners are 6-4 in their last ten games, and team pitching is third in the league with an ERA of 2.25.
Dan Brauer (Northwestern) is tied for the league lead in wins with four, and sits in second in strikeouts with 36. On July 8 at Eldredge Park versus the defending league champion Orleans Cardinals, Brauer took the mound for his fourth start. After giving up a single in the first, Brauer was perfect through the fifth inning. In all, Brauer pitched a two hitter and allowed one earned run, walking two and striking out nine. Tim Grogan (Western Kentucky) accounted for all the offense with a three-run homer to give Harwich a 3-0 lead, and eventually a 3-1 win. Craig Hansen (St. John’s) came on in the ninth, striking out two and giving up no walks and no hits. He earned his fifth save, tying him for the league lead.
The Mariners are hitting .202 as a team and have stolen twenty-six bases. Copeland leads the Mariners and is tied for second in the league in stolen bases, having swiped nine. Jon Aughey (Citadel) is hot at the plate for the Mariners, batting .298, tied for eighth in the league. He also has an on-base percentage of .404 and a team-leading 5 doubles through Saturday’s games.
On July 4 in front of a large holiday crowd at Whitehouse Field, the Mariners dealt with a malfunctioning scoreboard and the first place leaders in the East Division, the Brewster Whitecaps. Tim Sabo (Seton Hall) took the mound for the Mariners, and was jumped on in the first inning for a run. However, Sabo held the Whitecaps to two earned runs and six hits in six innings pitched, walking one and striking out six. The Mariners threatened in the bottom of the ninth when Clete Thomas (Auburn) tripled to centerfield, scoring Copeland who had singled. However, the Mariners couldn’t bring Thomas home to tie it up, and fell 2-1. Sabo took the loss, his second. --Britt Berry, 2004 CCBL Intern, bBerry@capecodbaseball.org
Orleans (8-12, fifth in East, 4-9 in division, 2-3 for week)
Baseballs are expensive, and most Cape League teams go to great lengths to make sure fans retrieve and return foul balls hit out of play.
Colin Curtis is doing his part to drive those teams to bankruptcy.
The Arizona State outfielder epitomizes the philosophy of working the count and spoiling tough pitches by fouling them off. In the first game of the season, in fact, Curtis fouled off 14 of the 32 pitches he saw from Brewster hurlers – he went 2-for-4 in the game.
“I don’t really like to swing at pitchers’ pitches that much,” he said. “I like to wait until I get something that I like. I don’t like to swing at the pitch they want me to swing at, so I find myself deep in counts a lot because of that.”
Fighting off good pitches doesn’t just lead to hits, though – it also leads to walks. And even though Curtis’ batting average sits at a paltry .152, his 13 free passes lead the Cardinals and he’s tied for the team lead in another important category – runs scored.
Curtis’ most important walk of the season came Monday night against Chatham at Eldredge Park. He had worked James Avery for a 10-pitch walk in the third inning, and he came up in the sixth to face lefthander David Huff with the bases loaded.
The count went full, and Huff missed with his next pitch to walk Curtis and force in what would be the game-winning run of a 2-1 Orleans victory.
“I work a lot on recognizing the ball out of the hand, what the pitch is,” Curtis said. “(The key is) not swinging at the pitches that he wants, and you just work from there and get the pitch you want to hit.” -- Brian MacPherson, CCBL Intern, email@example.com
TOUCHING THE GAME: The Cape League documentary, Touching the Game: The Story of the Cape Cod Baseball League will be broadcast onWB56 in Boston and WGN Superstation in Chicago. WB56 will air the two-hour program into four 30 minute segments, which will air from 10:30-11pm, following the10pm newscast, July19-22. It will show the program in its entirety Saturday, July 24th 8-10 p.m. WGN Superstation in Chicago will air a two-hour broadcast from 4-6 p.m. central time July 25th. WGN reaches approximately 63 million households nation-wide. Produced by Fields of Vision, the documentary DVD will contain an extended version of the film. The documentary includes extensive interviews with league officials, players, managers, fans and over 60 current Major Leaguers who played on the Cape. The documentary will be sold at Cape League parks later this summer.
CCBL ON THE AIR: There will be two Cape Cod Baseball League Radio Game of the Week will be broadcast live on PIXY 103 (WPXC, 102.9 FM) this week, including the “Cape League Returns to Sandwich”, Hyannis vs. Wareham game Monday and the Cotuit at Harwich makeup game Tuesday. Both broadcasts begin at 6:45 and can also be heard on www.capecodbaseball.org. The remaining games include: July 19 - Hyannis at Chatham; July 24 - CCBL All-Star Game at Orleans - 5:45 p.m. (6 p.m. first pitch); July 26 - Bourne at Wareham;August 2 - Yarmouth-Dennis at Harwich; TBA - CCBL Championship Series – Time TBA.
BOOKS ON THE CAPE LEAGUE - A new book out this spring, THE LAST BEST LEAGUE by Jim Collins (Da Capo Press, $24), chronicles a season in the Cape Cod Baseball League. Collins, a former infielder at Dartmouth and former editor of Yankee magazine, followed the Chatham A's through the summer of 2002.
His narrative account of that season focuses on the fortunes of a handful of players, with digressions into major league scouting, the physics of wooden bats, and the relationship between players and host families, among other things. The Toronto Globe and Mail called the book "a finely told tale of hopes hovering and dreams destroyed in a sylvan summer." A reviewer for Baseball America wrote, "This isn't the first, and it probably won't be the last, book written about the Cape Cod League, but if you are looking for an author who understands the league and what it is about, this is the book to add to your bookshelf."
Dan Crowley of the Enterprise Newspapers has authored a book titled, BASEBALL ON CAPE COD (Arcadia Press, $19.99). The book chronicles, through pictures, baseball from its first organized beginnings to the current day premier collegiate summer league in the country.
The book takes you back to the names and faces of yesteryear that makes the game on Cape Cod what it is today. “From the first organized game in 1865 on the fields owned by Sea Captain Edward Nichols along School Street in Sandwich, the game of baseball has prospered among the dunes and beaches of Cape Cod.”(Dan Crowley).
BASEBALL ON CAPE COD also features many Cape League players who have gone on to star in the major leagues, such as Thurman Munson, Mike Flanagan, Nomar Garciaparra, Mo Vaughn, Jason Varitek and Barry Zito.
In addition, local writer Steve Weissman and Malcom Moran of USA Today are both planning books on the Cape League due out later this year.
John Garner, Jr.
CCBL Director of Public Relations & Broadcasting
(508) 790-0394 firstname.lastname@example.org