THIS WEEK IN THE CAPE LEAGUE
(11 July – 17 July 2004)
Written by John Garner, Director of Public Relations and Broadcasting and
Cape League Interns: Britt Berry, TJ Lasita, and Brian MacPherson
Also contributing, Bruce Hack, CCBL Historian
Coca Cola Pitcher and Player of the Week
COCA COLA PITCHER OF THE WEEK
For the second straight week a member of the West Division-leading Falmouth Commodores earned Player of the Week honors. Shortstop Cliff Pennington (Sophomore, Texas A&M) hit .611 (11-for-18) in five games, scored five runs, drove in two and stole five bases. He capped off the week with a season-best 4-for-4 performance against Wareham in a 3-1 win on Saturday. He went 2-for-3 with two runs and two RBI in a 6-1 win over Cotuit. He is third in batting at .325 and leads with 14 stolen bases.
COCA COLA PLAYER OF THE WEEK
This is Aggie week on Cape Cod as Pennington’s Texas A&M teammate, Robert Ray (Wareham), earned Pitcher of the Week honors. In three relief appearances Ray pitched six innings, struck out 17 and gave up three hits. He picked up the win with 3.1 innings pitched in a 4-1 win at Harwich on the 15th. Against the Mariners he gave up two hits, a walk and set down nine Harwich players by strikeout. The hard-throwing righty has 35 strikeouts in 18 innings (17.50 per nine innings pitched) in nine appearances. He is 2-0 and has held opponents to a .131 batting average.
ALL-STAR SELECTION DAY: The 10 field managers will select the 44 players who will perform in the 42nd Cape Cod Baseball League All-Star Game Monday. League commissioner Paul Galop will announce the team Monday night. The CCBL All-Stars will be recognized Wednesday night at Fenway Park before the Orioles-Red Sox game.
CCBL GAME OF THE WEEK: The Captain Parkers’ Cape League Radio Game of the Week on PIXY 103 (102.9 FM) will be Hyannis at Chatham, broadcast live Monday beginning at 6:45, with Larry Egan and John Garner broadcasting live from Veterans Field in Chatham. PIXY and Free Teamline will also broadcast the All-Star Game Saturday beginning at 5:45 p.m., with Egan and Jonathan Yardley at the microphone.
FACES IN THE CROWD: ESPN baseball guru Peter Gammons was at the Bourne game Friday speaking to major league scouts and league officials about some of the top prospects in the Cape League. He is making the rounds as he was at the Falmouth game Saturday afternoon.
ALL-STAR STATUS: Last Tuesday night in Houston, Mark Mulder became the second pitcher in history to start both a Cape League and Major League Baseball All-Star Game. Jack Armstrong was the first to turn the feat.
BANKS OF CAPE COD: The 42nd Cape Cod Baseball League All-Star Game Saturday (July 24) will be presented by the Banks of Cape Cod, including Fleet, Banknorth, Citizen’s Bank and Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank. Other supporting banks are Compass Bank, The Community Bank and Cape Cod Cooperative Bank.
Falmouth (15-10-1, first in West, 10-5-1 in division, 4-1 for week)
After persistently climbing their way out of the West Division basement, the Falmouth Commodores highlighted their hike this week by reaching the top. Falmouth knocked off then-first-place Cotuit, 6-1, on Wednesday and have held their reign ever since.
Right-handed hurler Jensen Lewis (Vanderbilt) took center stage Wednesday night, scattering four hits through seven innings of work. The Cincinnati, Ohio, native fanned seven, allowing one earned run – a solo home run.
The Commodores took the early advantage, as Daniel Carte (Winthrop) continued his assault on Cape League pitching, driving in Cliff Pennington (Texas A&M) with a single up the middle in the home half of the first inning. Cotuit scored its lone run of the game one inning later. Brad Boyer drove a 0-1 pitch over the wall in right to tie the game at one, but from there Lewis took over.
Falmouth scored the eventual game winner in the third, as Carte collected another RBI. The Commodores tacked on four more in the game, but Lewis wouldn’t need any further help. Carte ended the game with three hits and three RBI, while Pennington had a pair of base hits, while driving in two and scoring two.
Carte leads the Cape League with 25 RBI, accompanying his .290 batting average. Pennington‘s .325 batting average is good for third in the league, while his 14 stolen bases are first. Lewis has remained solid on the hill for Falmouth, as he improved to 2-0. Lewis has struck out 31 batters while walking just four in 29 innings of work this summer.
Falmouth has been the league’s hottest team of late, winning eight of their last ten. With three weeks remaining in the regular season, the Commodores appear to be on their way to a Cape League playoff appearance. Falmouth last appeared in the playoffs in 1996, losing to Chatham in the league championship series. The Commodores have not won the Cape League title since 1980. -- By T.J. Lasita, CCBL Intern, TJLasita@capecodbaseball.org
Hyannis (14-11, second in West, 7-6 in division, 4-2 for week)
Mike Costanza showed he is one of the best two-way players in the Cape League Saturday when he went 2-for-4 with one RBI at the plate and picked up his third save of the season on the mound to lead the Hyannis Mets to a 7-5 win over the rival Cotuit Kettleers.
The Coastal Carolina product, among the league leaders with 15 RBI, is one of the major reasons why the Mets are battling for top honors in the West Division with a 14-11 record. Costanza is getting timely hits as he is hitting .357 with runners in scoring postion.
Pat Reilly (Arizona) went 2-for-3 including a two-run homer, while Joe Holland (Tulane), hard-hitting catcher Chris Robinson (Illinois) and Mike Baxter (Vanderbilt) were also repeat hitters for Hyannis. Drew Fiarenza (1-2) picked up his first win on the mound in relief of Mets’ ace Mark Sauls (Florida State, 3-0).
The Mets posted a 3-1 win over Orleans Friday thanks to a sterling pitching performance by Mike Wlodarczy (3-0), Randy Boone (Texas) and Bo Lanier (Georgia, 5th save), who held the Cardinals to six hits.
It was their second win of the week against defending league champion Orleans as the Mets posted a 5-0 win over the Cardinals on Sacred Sunday behind a dominating two-hit shutout by Sauls.
After losing in Brewster Thursday, Hyannis ran its winless streak on the road against the Whitecaps to 10 straight games, including seven consecutive losses at Cape Tech. The last win against Brewster came on July 14, 2001 when the Mets posted a 12-1 win.
Despite an announced crowd of 2,500 fans, the Mets dropped by 2-0 contest to Wareham in the “Cape League Returns to Sandwich” Game at Fenton Field Monday . They were blanked by the solid pitching of the Gateman, led by flame-throwing right-hander Mark McCormack. --By John Garner, CCBL Director of Public Relations & Broadcasting, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bourne (13-13, third in West, 6-8 in division, 3-2 for week)
It was an otherwise routine ground ball to short, scooped up by Chatham’s Chris Getz and relayed to first for an out in the sixth inning of Friday’s game. But the Braves’ Greg Mangum (North Carolina) scampered home on the play, and that made the play distinctive – it resulted in a Bourne run.
Runs haven’t been easy to come by for the Braves in the last three weeks. In fact, they suffered through an 18-game span in which they scored just 28 runs, and they hadn’t scored more than three in a game since June 24 before a 6-3 win against Brewster on Saturday. Losing designated hitter Micah Owings (Georgia Tech) to an injury early this week didn’t help matters.
“He’s a big stick in there, and we count on him for power,” Mangum said. “We’ve just got to tinker with things, do more hit-and-run, get runners over, and play small-ball without him.”
The Braves’ adjusted strategy has allowed to Braves to tread water in the East Division while the hitters try to find a groove. In fact, they’ve won four of their last six games, including a 3-2 victory against Chatham on Friday.
Part of their success has been sparked by new arrival Paco Figueroa, who had two hits on Thursday. The Miami outfielder stroked a single to left field in the first inning, and he eventually came around to score in a two-run inning.
“Once he gets on base, he makes things happen,” Mangum said. “His speed means a lot.”
The Braves’ recent run of success will be tested this week, as they will host Cotuit on Thursday and travel to play first-place Yarmouth-Dennis on Friday. -- By Brian MacPherson, CCBL Intern, email@example.com
Cotuit (12-12-1, fourth in West, 4-9-1 in division, 1-4 for week)
After sitting out the collegiate season recovering from injury, Cotuit’s Bryan
Harris might have expected to be a little rusty in the Cape League. The rust apparently has worn off.
Harris didn’t play an inning for Louisiana State this spring, nursing a knee injury and recovering from hernia surgery. The time off hasn’t affected his play this summer, though. Harris is not only Cotuit’s top hitter, but the first baseman also ranks as one of league’s premier sluggers. Through Saturday’s games, Harris leads the Kettleers – in fourth place in the West Division – with a .319 batting average, good for fourth in the league.
“I expected a great individual who had great work habits, and that’s exactly what he’s got,” said Kettleer skipper Mike Roberts.
Harris rates among the Cape League’s best in hits (29), doubles (9), extra base hits (12) and slugging percentage (.516). His superior work ethic may be the reason, Roberts said.
“He has been to the field early to hit, except for maybe three or four times, every day this summer,” Roberts said. “There’s no question he’s reaped the benefits of it.”
Harris hit .407 with eight home runs for Santa Ana Junior College in 2003, earning All-America honors. He figures to make a splash at LSU next year, taking that work ethic from the Cape Cod Baseball League to the Southeastern Conference.
“Today he got to the park 45 minutes early and took 30 minutes of batting practice on his own before anyone else got to the ballpark,” Roberts said. “That sets an example.”
With the Kettleers in the thick of a race for a West Division crown, Harris’ pitching abilities might be tested as well.
“He’s volunteered to pitch and he has a great arm, but no one has seen it yet,” he said. “He’ll be on the mound, I think, a few times before the season’s out.”
After relinquishing their hold on first place, Harris and the Kettleers will look to regain the top spot this week with a game against first-place Falmouth. The Commodores play host to Cotuit at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Arnie Allen Diamond at Guv Fuller Field. -- By T.J. Lasita, CCBL Intern, TJLasita@capecodbaseball.org
Wareham (10-15, fifth in West, 6-5 in division, 3-2 for week)
So he might not wear goggles. His hat might not be stained white from puddles of sweat, and his Kerrville, Texas, home might not remind many of Montreal.
Kevin Whelan might not be Eric Gagne, but with the game on the line, it’s tough to tell.
As his favorite player has done in the majors, Whelan (Texas A&M) has developed into one of the Cape League’s most feared closers. Entering Sunday’s games, the Wareham fireballer is tied for first in the Cape League with seven saves. Whelan has shut the door in 70 percent of his club’s victories through Saturday.
Whelan threw 8.2 innings in ten appearances for the Aggies this spring, as he saw most of his playing time while serving as a catcher. Whelan has hit for the Gatemen as well, but his primary role begins just as the game is ending.
“We think the game’s over when we give him the ball in the ninth,” said Wareham pitching coach Ryan Beggs.
Whelan boasts a 0.75 ERA this season in 11 appearances. In 12 innings, he has fanned 19 hitters while walking just three.
“When we talked to him, it was something he wanted when he got here,” Beggs said. “He kind of strives in that role. Eric Gagne is his favorite ballplayer, so it’s something he wants. He wants the ball with the game on the line.”
Beggs said Whelan’s makeup and ability give him the look of a big league closer – like Gagne.
“Everything he throws is hard; it’s fastball, cutter, sinker and split,” Beggs said. “He comes in and is only going to see the guys once, so he can just go in there and just kind of blow the ball by them.”
Whelan has been instrumental in Wareham’s recent success. The Gatemen have played .500 baseball over the last ten games, as they try to climb out of the West Divison cellar. With a pair of games against the West Division leader Falmouth this week, Whelan and the Gatemen have the opportunity to begin their ascent up the standings. -- By T.J. Lasita, CCBL Intern, TJLasita@capecodbaseball.org
Brewster (15-11, tied for first in East, 8-7 in division, 2-3 for week)
The Brewster Whitecaps end this week with a 15-11 record, in a knot with the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox for first place in the East. Brewster is 5-5 in its last ten, but has managed to stay atop the East Division thanks to timely hitting and even better pitching.
As a team, the Whitecaps are hitting .224, and Ryan Patterson (LSU) leads his teammates with a .333 batting average. Patterson has eight RBI and has hit one homerun, and boasts a slugging percentage of .487 with an on-base percentage of .366. Patterson is also a threat to steal, as he has swiped three bases so far this year.
South Carolina’s Michael Campbell is also red-hot for the Whitecaps, hitting .289 with one homer and six RBI. In 38 at-bats, Campbell has fanned only five times, walking three times. He stands strong with a .395 slugging percentage, and a .357 on-base percentage. Craig Cooper (Notre Dame) has also helped his team at the plate, hitting .226 and leading the team with three homers and 14 RBI.
In Monday night’s game against the third-place Harwich Mariners, Phil Davidson (N.C. State) took the mound against Zach Kroenke (Nebraska). Davidson pitched well, going five complete innings, giving up eight hits, five earned runs, walking only two, and striking out four.
Ryan Falcon (UNC-Greensboro) came in in the sixth and pitched two innings of near-perfection, giving up no hits, no runs, no walks, and striking out five of the six batters he faced. Falcon is fourth in the league among pitchers with a 0.81 ERA and a 1-1 record. In 22 innings pitched, the Whitecap lefty has 38 strikeouts.
After Jason Determann (LSU) gave up two runs in the eighth to make it 7-6 Harwich, Blair Erickson came in for the close in the ninth. Erickson was perfect, allowing no Mariners to reach base in a 1-2-3 inning.
In the top of the ninth, the Whitecaps pulled off a come-from-behind 8-7 victory by nabbing two more runs from the Harwich bullpen. After a pinch-hit single by Andy Hunter (Minnesota), Mark Wagner (UC-Irvine) reached on an error, Will Rhymes (William & Mary) walked, and James Boone (Missouri) singled to tie the game. Boone was 2-for-5 in the game with four RBI.
Determann earned the win, his first, and Erickson the save, his second. Determann now has a 1.35 ERA for the Whitecaps, has walked none, and struck out 11 in 13.1 innings pitched. --By Britt Berry, 2004 CCBL Intern, bBerry@capecodbaseball.org
Yarmouth-Dennis (15-11, tied for first in East, 9-5 in division, 3-2 for week)
If you’re going to Yarmouth-Dennis to see Adam Davis play, you might want to bring a map. You never really know where you’re going to find him.
Listed as a middle infielder, he has played five positions on the Cape this summer, and the majority of his action has come in center field. He didn’t play much outfield during his freshman season at Florida, but the lack of regular experience hasn’t hurt his play this summer.
“I learn well watching other people play, watching how they do it and executing that way,” he said. “I don’t feel (playing different positions) is that tough.”
On top of his versatility, though, he’s been durable and productive. In 20 games – he hasn’t missed a game since he arrived on June 23 – he has hit .316 with two home runs and eight runs batted in.
His statistics, in fact, have been almost identical to the numbers he compiled at Florida this season – which could be expected, given the several summers Davis has spent hitting with the wooden bat.
And the numbers don’t do complete justice to the spark he’s been for the Red Sox. In the fifth inning of Thursday’s game against Orleans, with Y-D nursing a 2-0 lead, he laid a squeeze bunt down the third-base line that wasn’t just good enough to get the run home – it was good enough to get him to first.
And he didn’t wait around there – he promptly stole second.
“I’ve just been doing the little things right, putting the ball in play and getting hits here and there,” he said. -- By Brian MacPherson, CCBL Intern, firstname.lastname@example.org
Harwich (12-13, third in East, 8-7 in division, 2-3 for week)
Harwich ends this week with a 12-13 record, still in third place behind Yarmouth-Dennis and Brewster. Harwich has gone 4-6 in its last ten games, but has won two in-a-row. The Mariners are three games out of first place in the East Division.
Jon Aughey (Citadel) is on a tear for the Mariners, with mentions in several offensive league leader board slots. Aughey is hitting .313 in 22 games, seventh in the league. He has three homers, tied for first among his teammates with Brent Lillibridge (Washington) and eight RBI, tied for second with his teammate Drew Davidson (Illinois). He is fourth in the league in on-base percentage at .416, and third in the league in slugging percentage with .547. He is tied for fourth with 16 runs scored.
Ben Copeland (Pittsburgh) has stolen 11 bases on the year, second in the league to Falmouth’s Cliff Pennington (Texas A&M). Copeland set a team record with 10 consecutive steals. He is hitting .250 with seven RBI.
Harwich pitching has also been strong. Craig Hansen (St. John’s) has been sharp out of the bullpen, second in the league with six saves. He is at 1-1 on the year with a 0.00 ERA, and in 13.2 innings pitched has walked two and struck out 24. The 6’5” righty has not allowed a homerun and surrendered only six hits. He is tied for second in the league in games at 13.
Southpaws Dan Brauer (Northwestern) and Zach Ward (Gardner-Webb) are also having similar success. Brauer is 4-1 with a 1.76 ERA in five games and 30.2 innings pitched. He has allowed six earned runs, no homeruns, 11 walks, and is third in the league with an impressive 43 strikeouts.
Ward is 1-1 on the season with a miniscule 0.99 ERA in 27.1 innings of work. In six games he’s given up 16 hits, only three earned runs, no homeruns, 15 walks, and is fifth in the league in strikeouts with 40. By --Britt Berry, 2004 CCBL Intern, bBerry@capecodbaseball.org
Chatham (11-15, fourth in East, 7-6 in division, 2-3 for week)
The Chatham A’s continue to struggle, sitting in fourth place in the East, but only four games behind first-place Brewster and Yarmouth-Dennis. The A’s have an 11-15 record, and are on a three game losing streak. The A’s have gone 4-6 in their last ten games.
Chris Getz (Michigan) has become a standout for the A’s, making his name a presence in several offensive categories in the league leader board. Getz is batting .333, second in the league, in 21 games with three RBI and 14 walks. He is second in on-base percentage at .442. He is tied with Yarmouth-Dennis’ Frank Curreri (UMass) for the league lead in runs scored with 19.
Since arriving on the Cape Steven Head (Mississippi) has been successful for Chatham, batting .264 with one homer and eight RBI (tied for second on the team with Central Florida’s Ryan Bono).
Chatham pitching has been highlighted by the efforts of Kyle Bono (Central Florida), Andrew Miller (UNC-Chapel Hill), and Ryan Mullins (Vanderbilt). Closer Bono is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 12 games and 15.2 innings pitched. He has given up no homeruns, only five walks, and has struck out 22. The righty is tied with Wareham’s Kevin Whelan (Texas A&M) for the league lead in saves with seven, and is third in the league in games with 12.
The tall lefty Miller out of Gainesville, FL is now 2-0 for the A’s with a 1.32 ERA in four games and 27.1 innings pitched. The starter Miller has given up only four earned runs, no homers, 11 walks, and has fanned 29. On Wednesday’s game at Veteran’s Field versus the visiting Brewster Whitecaps, Miller took the mound against Matt Goyen (Georgia College). Miller was impressive, going eight innings, allowing four hits, no earned runs, no walks, and eight strikeouts. The A’s one and only run in the bottom of the first after a Getz single and a Brewster error would be enough for Miller to shut out Brewster 1-0.
The other lefty starter, Mullins, has had similar success, standing at 3-0 in three games and 22.0 innings, with a 1.64 ERA. Mullins has given up four earned runs, no homeruns, and has an astounding three walks to 25 strikeouts ratio. By --Britt Berry, 2004 CCBL Intern, bBerry@capecodbaseball.org
Orleans (10-16, fifth in East, 5-10 in division, 2-4 for week)
Pitchers can only control the outcome of the game so much, and chance often plays a factor in whether or not the man on the mound earns a victory.
But there are tough-luck pitchers, and then there’s Dennis Robinson.
Even before an outstanding performance against Bourne on Wednesday, Robinson (Jacksonville) had allowed just four earned runs in four starts. For some reason, though, the Orleans bats fell silent every time he took the mound, and the team had lost each of those four games.
“It seems like every time he’s gone out to pitch, the hitters have not come through to even get him one run,” said catcher Sean Richardson (Kansas). “There have been times when he’s come out the game when it’s 0-0, and we’ve had two hits in the game.”
With Bourne’s John Lewis (Stony Brook) matching him pitch for pitch, Robinson never really had a chance at his elusive first win on Wednesday. But as usual, he kept his team close – a broken-bat single by Greg Mangum (North Carolina) in the seventh inning scored the only Braves run, and the Cardinals took home a 3-1 victory on the strength of a two-run home run by Colin Curtis (Arizona State).
Robinson took a no-decision in that game, but another Orleans pitcher got off the schnide on Saturday. Robert Rohrbaugh (Clemson), previously 0-4, tossed 7 2/3 shutout innings and benefited from several timely hits to earn a 5-0 win.
“(Robinson) always out there pitching when we’re struggling a lot. Like today, we come out and put up five runs, and Robert got his first win,” Richardson said. “It just seems like Dennis is the unfortunate guy. He’s the next guy to get a win for us.” -- By Brian MacPherson, CCBL Intern, email@example.com
John Garner, Jr.
CCBL Director of Public Relations & Broadcasting
(508) 790-0394 firstname.lastname@example.org