THIS WEEK IN THE CAPE LEAGUE
(18 July – 24 July 2004)
Written by John Garner, Director of Public Relations & Broadcasting
Cape League Interns Britt Berry, TJ Lasita and Brian MacPherson
Contributing writer, Bruce Hack, CCBL Historian
Coca Cola Pitcher and Player of the Week
COCA COLA PITCHER OF THE WEEK
Hyannis has moved to the top of the West and the play of Mike Baxter (Vanderbilt) is one of the reasons. The sophomore third baseman hit safely in all five games going 9-for-20 with a triple, a home run and eight RBI. He also scored six times and stole four bases. Baxter who hails from Whitestone, NY, hit his first home run of the season and drove in four runs in a 7-1 win over Bourne on Tuesday. He is hitting .288 and leads the Mets with 32 hits. He is tied for second on Hyannis with 14 RBI.
COCA COLA PLAYER OF THE WEEK
The Chatham A’s have stayed in the hunt for a playoff spot on the strength of their pitching and this week a pair of A’s aces share Pitcher of the Week honors.
Ryan Mullins, the East starter and winning pitcher in the All-Star game, shutdown the league’s top offense when he pitched a three-hit, 2-0 shutout over Falmouth on 18 July. The Vanderbilt lefty struck out a season-high 15, second most in the league this year. The Nashville native is now 4-0 with a 1.16 ERA, fifth in the league. He has 40 strikeouts in 31 innings.
The right-handed ace is Glenn Swanson (UC-Irvine), who also pitched a three-hit shutout in a 2-0 win at Harwich on Friday. Swanson, who was 5-1 last year for Chatham, walked none and struck out nine Mariners. He is now 3-2 with a 3.13 ERA and has 38 strikeouts in 37.1 innings.
The complete games by Mullins and Swanson were only the fifth and sixth of the season for the league.
The Brewster (18-13, tied for first in East, 9-8 in division, 3-2 for week)
After the weekend’s cathartic All-Star Game festivities, the Whitecaps must now turn their focus once again to the playoff race at hand. The East Division is still a dogfight, with the Whitecaps still tied for first place with the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox. Brewster has split its last ten, going 5-5, with an overall record of 18-13.
Brewster’s Ryan Falcon (UNC-Greensboro) has continued his successful season with the Whitecaps. Falcon took the hill for his second start on Wednesday against the Whitecaps’ fiercest competitors this season, the Y-D Red Sox. Falcon went four innings, giving up five hits and two earned runs. He struck out seven and walked two. Falcon left the game in the fifth, with the Whitecaps down 5-4.
In what turned out to be a bizarre game over three hours long, with several lead changes and moments taken by the officials to decide and review calls, the most unlikely turn of events was the bottom of the eighth, in which Brewster scored six runs with two out. Matt Campbell (South Carolina), Craig Cooper (Notre Dame), and Andy Hunter (Minnesota) started the rally with consecutive singles. After two strikeouts, Will Rhymes (William & Mary) reached on an error, James Boone (Missouri) doubled to right field. The Whitecaps batted around, and after two more Red Sox errors and an intentional walk to Ryan Patterson (LSU), Campbell came to the plate and singled again, driving in two.
With the home team up 11-9, the game was called on account of darkness. There was discussion by coaches and officials over whether the game was complete or not, but the ruling stands in favor of the Whitecaps. Scott Lonergan (Santa Clara) entered the game in the sixth inning for Brewster, and pitched two complete innings, giving up two hits, no earned runs, no walks, and striking out two. He earned his first win and is now 1-2.
Brewster had five player selected to the 2004 All-Star roster. Left fielder Ryan Patterson (LSU) and right fielder Michael Campbell (South Carolina) were selected as starters. Infielder Will Rhymes (William & Mary), and lefthanded pitchers Matt Goyen (Georgia College) and Ryan Falcon (UNC-Greensboro) were selected as reserves. -- Britt Berry, 2004 CCBL Intern, bBerry@capecodbaseball.org
Yarmouth-Dennis (18-13, tied for first in East, 10-7 in division, 3-2 for week)
Josh Butler didn’t know what to do about the seagull strutting on the grass behind the pitcher’s mound on Thursday, but he knew what to do about the Chatham A’s.
After managing to shoo away the second-inning intruder, Butler (San Diego) retired 11 of the next 12 batters he faced en route to his second win of the season. Only a pair of home runs by Chatham first baseman Steven Head (Mississippi) marred an otherwise outstanding outing.
“The two pitches (Head) hit out, they were both good pitches and that kid’s just a good hitter,” said left fielder Frank Curreri. “You can’t do anything about it. Other than that, he was dominating.”
Butler, in fact, followed the formula employed by Red Sox pitching all season – keep the game close until the offense gets on a roll and puts the game away. With Curreri (UMass) and Matt LaPorta (Florida) leading a powerful attack, the hitters have tended to carry the load for Y-D.
That’s not to say the pitchers haven’t held up their end of the bargain, though. A trio of Red Sox pitchers – Butler, Justin Blaine (San Diego) and Cory VanAllen (Baylor) – each have made significant contributions as spot starters, and each boasts an earned run average below 2.75.
Butler, who has started three games this season for Y-D, has struck out nearly a batter an inning while maintaining impeccable control – he didn’t issue his first walk of Thursday’s game until the seventh inning.
“His first start compared to now – he’s 20 times better than he was,” Curreri said. “He just keeps getting better every start.” --Brian MacPherson, CCBL Intern, firstname.lastname@example.org
Orleans (14-17, tied for third in East, 6-10 in division, 4-1 for week)
Some may have been surprised by the line-drive blast Matt Cooksey (George Mason) sent over the right-field fence in Chatham on Tuesday, but not his teammates.
“Everybody knows he’s got the power because he’s out here getting better every day,” said left fielder Steven Blackwood (Georgia Tech). “He’s out here for early hitting all the time, I see him in the weight room all the time, so it was a matter of time before he hit one.”
Raw power isn’t generally Cooksey’s game, though. He hit just five home runs in more than 200 at-bats for George Mason and had not yet done so for Orleans before Tuesday’s bomb.
But his value to the Cardinals manifests itself in countless other ways. In that same game, Cooksey walked three times, dragged a bunt single between first and second, stole a base and scored two runs.
“With him at the top of the lineup, it changes our approach at the plate,” Blackwood said. “You know he’ll be on base, so you look for better pitches – and you’re going to get better pitches because he’s a tough out on the basepaths, also.”
And while his batting average still rests at .125, his on-base percentage of .297 is fifth on his team. That number improved markedly this week, especially after a four-walk game against Yarmouth-Dennis on July 17.
The Cardinals will need Cooksey to keep wreaking havoc at the top of the order. Hyannis snapped the team’s five-game winning streak, but increasingly important games loom ahead against the top two teams in the division, Y-D and Brewster. --Brian MacPherson, CCBL Intern, email@example.com
Chatham (14-17, tied for third in East, 8-8 in division, 3-2 for week)
After six weeks of play, the Chatham A’s have finagled themselves into a three-way tie for third place in the East Division with Orleans and Harwich. The A’s have a record of 14-17 and have split their last ten, going 5-5.
2004 All-Star selection Chris Getz remains hot for the A’s, hitting .309, fifth in the league. Getz’s on-base percentage is .423, third in the league, and he is fourth in the CCBL with 19 runs scored.
Three Chatham pitchers were named to the 2004 All-Star roster. Ryan Mullins (Vanderbilt) had the honor of starting the game on the mound for the East Division. Mullins is 4-0 with a 1.16 ERA, fifth in the league, and is tied for first in the league with four others with one shutout. Lefthander Andrew Miller (UNC-Chapel Hill) and right-hander Kyle Bono (Central Florida) were also named to the squad as reserves.
Returning A’s veteran Glenn Swanson (UC-Irvine) got the start on Friday against the Harwich Mariners at Whitehouse Field in Harwich. Swanson was masterful, and had a perfect game going until the bottom of the fourth when Drew Davidson (Illinois) singled to shortstop. Swanson would give up only two more hits in nine complete innings. He walked none and struck out eight, earning the win which puts him at 3-2 on the season.
Run support would come in the form of Stephen Head (Mississippi) and Zach Dillon (Baylor). Head was 2-for-4 with one RBI, and Dillon had a sacrifice fly in the top of the fourth which put the A’s ahead 2-0. Nick Derba (Manhattan) and Johnny Defendis (Rutgers) were both 1-for-4 in the win.
Friday’s 2-0 win at Harwich gave Chatham manager John Schiffner his 257th career win tying him with Merrill “Red” Wilson for third on the leagues all-time win list. Schiffner is in his 12th season with the A’s is now 257-226-10. -- Britt Berry, 2004 CCBL Intern, bBerry@capecodbaseball.org
Harwich (14-16, tied for third in East, 8-8 in division, 2-3 for week)
With the end of the regular season of the CCBL in sight, the Harwich Mariners have not been able to narrow the gap between themselves and the first place slot in the East Division, occupied by both Brewster and Yarmouth-Dennis. The Mariners are now tied for third place with the Orleans Cardinals and the Chatham A’s.
The Mariners had a number of selections for the 2004 All-Star game roster in Orleans. Third baseman Jon Aughey (Citadel) was selected as a starter, and his teammates outfielder Ben Copeland (Pittsburgh), catcher John Sloane (Miami-Ohio), lefthanded pitcher Dan Brauer (Northwestern), and right-hander Craig Hansen (St. John’s) were named as reserves.
Aughey, Sloane, and Hansen all had terrific days last Sunday, taking on the Chatham A’s at Veterans Field in Chatham. In the top of the seventh inning with the game knotted at three apiece, Aughey, third in the league in batting average at .321, homered to right center, his third of the season, to score Eric Eymann (Illinois) and give the Mariners a 5-3 lead.
Chatham hit Mariners pitching for two more in the bottom of the seventh, to tie the game once again at 5-5. In the top of the ninth, Eymann and Brent Lillibridge (Washington) hit back-to-back singles, followed by a sacrifice bunt by Aughey. Copeland, tied with teammate Lillibridge for second in the league with 11 stolen bases, was intentionally walked to bring up Clete Thomas (Auburn). Thomas singled to left driving in Lillibridge and Eymann giving the Mariners a 7-5 lead.
In the bottom of the ninth, Hansen was almost perfect, coming on in relief for Kevin Lynch. Hansen faced four batters, two of whom struck out looking and one of whom went down swinging. Hansen gave up one hit to Ryan Bono (Central Florida), but kept the lead in tact. He earned his eighth save and is now tied for the league lead with Wareham’s Kevin Whelan (Texas A&M) as of the games of July 24.
Harwich pitching continues to be strong, as the Mariners have notables in several categories. Zach Ward (Gardner-Webb) is sixth in the league in ERA, at 1.35, and tied for third in strikeouts with 47. Brauer leads the league in wins, with five, and is second in strikeouts at 50. -- Britt Berry, 2004 CCBL Intern, bBerry@capecodbaseball.org
The Hyannis (17-13, first in West, 8-7 in division, 3-2 for week)
If Joe Martinez expected to make an appearance in Orleans on Saturday, he likely thought that appearance would include a stop at the concessions stand and the souvenir booth, not an inning on the Eldredge Park mound.
A temporary player who landed with the Mets after a successful tryout at the beginning of the season, Martinez (Boston College) quickly emerged as a dependable – though a tough-luck – starting pitcher. He took a no-hitter into the fifth inning of his first start, but the Hyannis offense could not support his outstanding effort and he left with a 1-0 defeat.
He matched Wareham’s Mark McCormick (Baylor) pitch for pitch in his next start, allowing just an unearned run in eight innings, but the Mets could get him nothing but a no-decision.
After two other hard-luck defeats, Martinez earned his first victory of the season just in time. He threw seven shutout innings and allowed just two hits in a 4-0 victory against Harwich less than 24 hours before Cape League coaches selected the All-Star teams.
The long-awaited victory only capped a first half of solid numbers for the South Orange, N.J., native. He has compiled a 1.54 earned run average, and he has struck out 45 opponents in 41 innings thus far while walking just 11.
His success has helped propel Hyannis into first place in the West Division, and he will need to keep pitching well to keep the team where it is. The Mets face perhaps the league’s best offense on Tuesday when they travel to Falmouth in what could be a preview of the first round of the playoffs.
-- Brian MacPherson, CCBL Intern, firstname.lastname@example.org
Falmouth (15-15-1, second in West, 10-8-1 in division, 0-5 for week)
Saturday’s Cape League All-Star game featured many things. Many fans, many scouts, many members of the media and many 50-50 raffle tickets. Not to be outdone, there were also many, many Falmouth Commodores.
With seven representatives, the Commodores featured more All-Stars than any other team. The Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox and Hyannis Mets each took six players to the gala, but did not catch up to the Falmouth contingent.
Four of Falmouth’s seven representatives started the game, also a league-high. A quick glance at the left side of the West Division’s starting defensive lineup looked eerily similar to the alignment Falmouth manager Jeff Trundy trots out on a daily basis. The leftfield (Daniel Carte, Winthrop), center field (Danny Perales, USC), third base (Matt Antonelli, Wake Forest) and shortstop (Cliff Pennington, Texas A&M) positions were each held by Commodore players.
The game did not go the West Division’s way, as they were shut out by the East. Several Commodores, however, showed impressive outings. Pitcher Dallas Buck (Oregon State) earned West Division Most Valuable Player honors, as voted on by the Major League scouts in attendance. Buck was sharp, inducing a 1-2-3 inning in the third.
Fellow hurlers Jensen Lewis (Vanderbilt) and Phil Bartleski (William & Mary) did not allow a hit in a combined two innings of work, and Antonelli made several solid defensive plays at first base.
Though the Falmouth contingent shined on Saturday, the Commodores struggled mightily last week. Falmouth entered Sunday’s games having lost five in a row, after using one of the league’s best hot streaks (winning 10 of 12) to climb the West Division standings. The divisional race remains tight, perhaps too tight for the liking of Falmouth – the former first place team. --T.J. Lasita, CCBL Intern, TJLasita@capecodbaseball.org
Cotuit (14-15-1, third in West, 5-10-1 in division, 2-3 for week)
Nathan Emrick needs to update his resume.
In Emrick’s Southern Illinois player bio, he is lauded as “The most versatile player on the team who adds depth to an already solid infield...has the ability to play either of the middle infield spots, first base, or in the outfield.”
As of summer 2004, catcher can be added to Emrick’s laundry list of specialties. After the Kettleers lost a pair of catchers – one to Team USA (Brett Hayes) and one to the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox (Ben Crabtree) – Cotuit skipper Mike Roberts put Emrick behind the plate. The decision seems to have paid off, as the Griggsville, Ill., native was one of two catchers to represent the West Division Saturday in the Cape League All-Star Game.
Emerick filled in for starter Chris Robinson of Hyannis in the fifth inning of a 13-0 East Division rout. In his only plate appearance of the game, Emerick grounded out to shortstop in the eighth, finishing 0-for-1 with four putouts.
Entering Sunday’s games, Emrick played 17 times at catcher for the Kettleers, while playing the infield in just eight games. Emrick is hitting .216 with a double, triple and a pair of stolen bases to his credit.
Wherever he’s playing, Emrick will be counted on to contribute in the coming weeks if the Kettleers are to make a postseason appearance. Entering Sunday’s contests, Cotuit sat in the middle of the West Division standings. Three points separated the Kettleers from division leader Hyannis, while the Bourne Braves and Wareham Gatemen were just one point shy of Cotuit’s spot in third.
The Kettleers have stumbled of late, after previously leading the West Division. Cotuit is hoping to recover this week after losing seven of their last ten games. --T.J. Lasita, CCBL Intern, TJLasita@capecodbaseball.org
Wareham (14-16, tied for fourth in West, 9-5 in division, 4-1 for week)
Opportunity is knocking. The question is, will the Wareham Gatemen answer?
If the Gatemen are going to make a move in the West Division standings, there is no better time to do it than right now. Wareham, which entered Sunday’s games tied with Bourne for fourth place in the division, is arguably the West’s hottest team, winners of four in a row and seven of its last ten. With former leaders Falmouth and Cotuit stumbling of late, the Gatemen have a golden opportunity to hop out of the basement and in to the penthouse.
Through the All-Star Game, Hyannis tops the West Division with 17 wins and 34 points. Wareham is close behind, with 14 wins and 28 points.
The schedule favors the Gatemen, as five of their next six games come against West Division foes, who they have a .643 winning percentage against.
Last week Wareham showed that it belonged at the top, rather than the bottom, of the standings. Thursday, the Gatemen knocked off first place Hyannis, 9-2. In the victory, Wareham’s first four hitters gathered eight hits. Starter Adam Trent scattered five hits over six innings, allowing Anthony Cupps (Mississippi) to mop up in relief and seal the victory.
Friday the Gatemen kept their winning ways, toppling Falmouth, 5-3. Alan Horne (Chipola JC) collected his first win of the season, and Kevin Whelan (Texas A&M) shut the door to pick up his league leading eighth save, tying him with Harwich’s Craig Hansen.
On Saturday Warner Jones (Vanderbilt) hit his league-leading 13th double for his 100th career hit in the Cape League. He accomplished this in 73 games and has a .319 career batting average and 24 doubles. --T.J. Lasita, CCBL Intern, TJLasita@capecodbaseball.org
Bourne (14-17, tied for fourth in West, 7-9 in division, 1-4 for week)
Success with the wooden bat is one thing, but consistent success is quite another. Kyle Padgett seems to have figured out the secret.
Entering play on Friday, Padgett (William and Mary) had hit in nine straight games with a .394 batting average in that span. But the Braves won just four of those games and fell to fifth place in the West Division. They rest just six points out of first place and three points behind Falmouth in the race for the coveted second playoff spot, however.
The streak began with a tenth-inning single against Cotuit on July 12. Padgett singled to left on a 3-2 pitch, and he eventually came around to score an insurance run on a triple by catcher Andy Harwanick (Georgia Tech) in a 3-1 Bourne victory.
The streak continued throughout the next week – two hits against Orleans, a single against Falmouth, a double and a stolen base against Chatham, a single against Yarmouth-Dennis. He extended it to nine games, second longest streak for the Braves this season, when he singled in the eighth inning against Cotuit on July 22, but he wasn’t finished. He gave Bourne its only win of the week when he hit a game-winning home run to deep left in the bottom of the tenth for a 2-1 victory.
The streak finally came to an end on Friday, the day before teammate Austin Easley (Florida) came out of nowhere to win The Baseball Factory’s Home-Run Hitting Contest during the Cape League’s All-Star festivities. --Brian MacPherson, CCBL Intern, email@example.com
John Garner, Jr.
CCBL Director of Public Relations & Broadcasting
(508) 790-0394 firstname.lastname@example.org