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This Week In The Cape League: Special All-Star Game Edition

THIS WEEK IN THE CAPE LEAGUE
Special All-Star Game Edition

(24 July – 31 July 2005)

COCA COLA PITCHER OF THE WEEK
    
Chatham’s Derrick Lutz (George Washington) joined teammate Evan Longoria (Long Beach State) as the only players this season to twice be named the Coca Cola Pitcher or Player of the Week. Lutz, who appeared in yesterday’s 43rd Annual All-Star Game, threw six shut out innings, gave up three hits and recorded nine strikeouts in four games this week. Lutz currently leads the league in saves (12) and in 23 innings pitched this season has posted a 0-0 record with – are you ready for this? – a 0.00 ERA. Chatham sits only behind Bourne (2.39) and Orleans (2.09) in overall team ERA. 

COCA COLA PLAYER OF THE WEEK
     
It keeps getting better for the A’s of Chatham. Todd Frazier (Rutgers) has been named the Cape League’s Coca Cola Player of the Week and became Chatham’s sixth player this season to have the honor bestowed upon them. In 15 at-bats and five games this week, Frazier, a native of Tom’s River, NJ, drove in seven RBI, two home runs, one double and six total hits. However, his average (.400), slugging percentage (.867) and his on base percentage (.526) are numbers that could not be ignored by the Boston SportsTicker. The Chatham A’s currently lead the Cape League in batting average (.271) and home runs (27). Michael Kydd, CCBL Intern, kydd@capecodbaseball.org

43rd Annual All-Star Game: Pitching & Defense at it’s Best
     What do one big league scout and one Cape League manager have in common? Both predicted the 43rd Cape League Annual All-Star Game would come down to the depth in pitching talent showcased in the Cape League this season. 
     “We’re here to see the best the Cape League has to offer which annually is a really good product,” said Stan Meek, scouting director of the Florida Marlins. “There’s good arms up here, some big strong kids and the league seems to have a lot of good pitching. So I think you’ll see a defensive game today.” 
     At the other end of the spectrum, Jeff Trundy (Falmouth) couldn’t agree more with Meek.
“Last year was an exception since there was a lot of hitting in the All-Star Game. But usually it is a pitching dominated game and obviously when a kid goes out and pitches for one inning you usually see these kids at their best for sure,” said the 2004 Manager of the Year Trundy. 
     The biggest positive points in this year’s All-Star Game was the coordination of league staff and officers, participation of over 60 major league scouts and numerous media and the outstanding behavior of the 4,693 fans that packed Jack McKeon Park in Hyannis to witness a near-perfect game of baseball. 
     In a year the Hyannis Mets would rather forget on the field, they have once again proved their value to the Cape Cod Baseball League. Much credit goes out to All-Star Game Co-Chairs Bill Bussiere and Phil Edwards for their tireless work and efforts over the past year in putting together a fantastic game coordination. It should also be noted that many members of the media and fans attending the game commented on the excellent coordination of parking and volunteer efforts before, during and after the game. Mets President Geoff Converse was extremely impressed with the efforts of league volunteers.
     “This really was a combined effort of all the teams in the Cape League,” said Converse. “It was a beautiful day and one that families could bring their kids out to and enjoy. We’re also extremely proud of the way things worked out with the 50/50 raffle,” which incidentally broke a Cape League record that saw the winner take home $2,142.
     Had the score remained tied, the almost “none” for the ages match-up – meaning a 0-0 tie – would have been the first scoreless tie in Cape League All-Star Game history since the league decided to switch to an East vs. West format in 1988.
     In the eighth-inning, broadcaster Will Bussiere announced regardless of the score, the bottom half of the ninth-inning would be played and the game would not go into extra innings. Expecting to hear boo’s from the fans – most of whom remember the 2002 MLB All-Star debacle when Commissioner Bud Selig called the game after playing two extra innings – the fans responded with class and respect for the league and the hard work put forth by the players and coaches on the field. It was a moving moment that displayed the class and character of the Cape Cod Baseball League.
     Realizing the game would not go into extra innings, reporters scrambled to get story angles; photographers snatched every last action shot they could; and managers from both teams sighed with relief.
     The prospect of a scoreless draw came to an end in the top of the ninth inning, when East MVP Colin Curtis (Orleans), who was 3-for-4 on the day, led the ninth off with a double down the leftfield line. Chatham’s Evan Longoria advanced Curtis to third after a hard shot to shortstop which handcuffed Cotuit’s Jason Donald (Arizona). Scott Sizemore (Virginia Commonwealth) of Harwich then stepped up and hit a routine ground ball to Donald who handled it perfectly and turned a 6-3 double play. However, the damage was done as the go-ahead and eventual winning run scored from third on the same play.
     Pitching dominated the entire game with the Eastern Division finishing the game with a total of eight hits and the West finishing with two. Y-D’s Brandon Morrow (Cal Berkeley) recorded the win, with Wareham’s Justin Masterson (Bethel College) taking the loss. Chatham’s Andrew Miller (North Carolina) drew attention from scouts and fans in the seventh inning when he registered back-to-back 97-98 MPH pitches. Brewster’s P.J. Walters came on in the bottom of the ninth to record the save and preserve the win for the East, who’ve won the last three All-Star games.
     Of special note, ceremonies before the game included a special appearance by the Hyannis Fire Department Color Guard and a beautiful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner performed by Hyannis Sound. 14 year-old Kelly Mosher led the crowd during the seventh inning stretch by singing God Bless America.
     Lisa Mathieu of Cotuit, who has been hosting Cape League players since 1999 and is currently housing Cotuit’s Chris Toneguzzi, was attending her fourth All-Star Game with her two daughters Lilly, 4, and Maikayla, 5. 
     “It was a great game. We really enjoyed it as a family,” said the mother of two. “The boys really put on a great show.” 
     Indeed, it was a great All-Star game. Congratulations to the players, coaches, fans and league officials on a job well done.  Michael Kydd, CCBL Intern, kydd@capecodbaseball.org

Cape League All-Stars To Be Honored At Fenway Park Tuesday
     The 2005 Cape League All-Stars and field managers will be honored in a special pre-game ceremony Tuesday at Fenway Park, before the Boston Red Sox-Kansas City Royals baseball game. Each CCBL player will be introduced and his name will appear on the electronic scoreboard. One of the Cape League alumni currently playing for the Red Sox will take part in the ceremony. Infielder-outfielder-Manny translator Kevin Millar (Harwich ’92) did the honors two years ago, while catcher Doug Mirabelli (Hyannis ’93) participated last season.

Around The CCBL All-Star Game Horn
     Saturday’s All-Star Game was the first 1-0 game since the East vs. West format started in 1988… It is the second 1-0 game as the CCBL beat the ACBL in 1975 in a game at Fenway. It was only the second all-star game to be scoreless through eight innings. The first was in 1968 when the Upper Division won 3-0 over the Lower…This is the second straight game the West has been held to two hits, which equals the record for fewest hits by a team….This is the seventh time a team won in its last at bat. The last time was in 2003 when the East scored 3 runs in the top of the ninth to win 3-1 in Falmouth…It is only the third time a team scored all of its runs in the ninth inning. First was in 1968 by the Upper Division, with three runs and the second time was in 2003 when the East scored three times in the ninth. Bruce Hack, ccblhistory@msn.com

Bates Battles Hard in Baseball Factory Home Run Hitting Contest
    
The Baseball Factory Home Run Hitting Contest during the Cape League All-Star Game festivities at McKeon Park in Hyannis Saturday was a smash, especially for Brewster Whitecaps player Aaron Bates (North Carolina State).

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Aaron Bates is 'The Baseball Factory' Home Run Champion !
SportsPix / Matthew Scott

     Bates won the home run hitting contest by belting six shots in the final round against rugged Wareham pitcher (that’s correct, pitcher!) Josh Copeland (Alabama). 
     “I just wanted to go out there and put on a good show,” said Bates. And that he did. Bates hit all of his home runs in the second round without making one out. As amazing as Bates was, he didn’t even think he would make it to the second round. 
     “After only hitting five in the first round, I didn’t think I would even make it to the second round,” said Bates. “You just never know what is going to happen. I felt good and I was nice and relaxed.”
     Winning The Baseball Factory Home Run hitting contest was not easy for Bates by any means. Runner-up Copeland hit five home runs to start off the second round of play to give Bates some stiff competition. 
     In the first round Copeland hit the most home runs out of the group with six. What’s amazing about this is that Copeland is a pitcher for Wareham - not an everyday player. With that said Copeland has only had one-at-bat this entire Cape League season resulting in a strike out! “I just hit good BP I guess,” said Copeland. “It was a lot of fun, but I was pretty nervous.”
     The Home run hitting contest saw six contestants attempt to make Cape League history. Three from the East division, including the eventual winner Bates, Josh Morris (Georgia) of Chatham and Chad Flack (UNC) of Harwich. From the West division was Josh Copeland (Alabama) of Wareham, Justin Tellam (UNLV) of Hyannis and Brad Boyer (Arizona) of Cotuit. 

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Aaron Bates (North Carolina State) of the Brewster Whitecaps
SportsPix / Matthew Scott

     The stands were packed at McKeon Park during the contest. The crowd was still in between pitches, as it was obvious they were trying to let the participants concentrate; however, the crowd came alive during the shots hit by the contestants as the contest started heating up. Beyond the outfield fence, kids waited for homeruns to be hit and to catch them any way they could. One fan even caught a ball in his hat. 
     The emcee for the home run hitting contest was Cape Cod Baseball League Deputy Commissioner Sol Yas.
     “It’s always a lot of fun. I personally enjoy it and the fans enjoy it to,” said Yas. As far as the competition goes, it’s hard to know what is going to happen, a lot of time the players start out slow. “But when they start hitting them, they come in bunches,” said Yas. 
     Yas, who has emceed the competition over the last couple of years, knows what these guys are going through on the field. “There is more pressure on them then people understand,” said Yas. 
     And although there are numerous scouts in attendance during the contest, the results of the competition are “no indication of whether or not they will make it to the big leagues,” added Yas. But it would be no surprise to anyone if any of the participants in Saturday’s All-Star festivities got a shot at the big time. 
Stefanie Falco, CCBL Intern, Falco@capecodbaseball.org

Bard Earns West MVP Honors
    
Saturday marked a great day for the Cape League, as 4,600 fans were in attendance for the 43rd annual Cape Cod All-Star game. With record crowds, smiling faces and great weather, those in attendance couldn’t have asked for a better day. In a fast- paced game which finished well under three hours, the story-line was dominated by great pitching from both sides. 

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Daniel Bard (North Carolina) of the Wareham Gatemen
SportsPix / Matthew Scott

     Over 60 scouts from all the major league teams were in attendance and given the opportunity to vote on the MVP’s for each side. For the West, fire-balling right-handed starter Daniel Bard (North Carolina) of Wareham got the nod. Bard allowed two hits and struck out two batters to open up the game. 
     For the scouts, picking the MVP of the West wasn’t as easy as selecting Orleans’ Colin Curtis, who went 3-4 and scored the game’s only run for the victorious Eastern Division All-Stars. 
After receiving the award Bard, the league leader with 62 strikeouts, was honored but also extremely surprised. 
     “It came as kind of a shock,” said the 6’4’’ right-hander. “It was enough for me to just be out here today with all these great players. This award is just icing on the cake.”
     Bard, who went 7-5 with a 4.22 ERA at North Carolina, models his game after Detroit’s Kyle Farnsworth and has also drawn comparisons to Bronson Arroyo of the Boston Red Sox. 
     Daniel is the son of Paul Bard, who played five years in the minor leagues with the Dodgers and Orioles. Paul was in attendance on Saturday along with the rest of his family who were all smiles after the game. 
     “He got himself a little extra camera time and was able to get out of a jam,” said proud dad Paul, “With all the talent here, it’s an honor to get and award like that.”
     The amount of talent seemed to impress all of those in attendance Saturday, including the players themselves. 
     “I was very excited to play in a game with so much talent,” said the younger Bard, “Looking around at these faces, it’s a great honor to be here. The competition here and in the league in general has been unbelievable.”
     Bard used his fastball to strike out two in the first and get out of a jam. His out pitch has been the fastball, and he has been able to mix in his slider and changeup as well which has made him very affective. 
     “I have been able to get batters out with my fastball all season as well as today,” he said, “That has been my out pitch, but I am most effective when I can mix in my change and slider as well.” 
Wareham’s team is chock full of pitching talent and with one full week of the season left, Bard and company are hoping to earn a spot in the playoffs. 
     “Consistency is key for us “said Bard “If we can concentrate and play defense and swing the bats thing will go well for us. 
     Only time will tell as Wareham opens the post-All-Star schedule with a game against defending champs Y-D on Sunday night. 
Nick Mucci, CCBL Intern, mucci@capecodbaseball.org

Hard Hitting Colin Curtis Chosen East All-Star Game MVP
    
It was evident to any of the 4,693 in attendance at McKeon Park for the 43rd All-Star Game, why the Cape League is often referred to as a “pitcher’s league.” For eight innings, some of the top pitching prospects in the country dominated the game, as neither team was able to get a runner across the plate.

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Colin Curtis (Arizona State) of the Orleans Cardinals
SportsPix / Matthew Scott

     Low-scoring pitching duels are common in CCBL play, but when one all-star pitcher after another takes the mound, the opposing batters face even more of a daunting task. Predictably, the game saw a combined 11 1-2-3 innings. 
     “We’re all up there hacking, but it’s more challenging with pitchers like this,” admitted Orleans Cardinals outfielder Colin Curtis (Arizona State), who started in center field for the Eastern Division. “When you’re facing pitchers like this, you take it with a grain of salt and you know you’re going to get out a bunch of times.”
     Curtis, however, was one of the few hitters who did enjoy success at the plate, going three-for-four and scoring the game’s only run in the ninth inning. His performance earned him the game’s most valuable player award from the Eastern Division, which was voted on by the many scouts in attendance. 
     Curtis led off the ninth inning with a double and was moved over to third on Evan Longoria’s (Long Beach State) single. Scott Sizemore (Virginia Commonwealth) of the Harwich Mariners was up next, and he hit a sharp ground ball that was converted into a double play. Although Sizemore did not receive credit for the RBI, Curtis crossed the plate with the game-winner on the play. 
     “I was just trying to make something happen,” Curtis said of his success. “The only thing I could do with that pitch was hit it the other way. From there, we just played some team baseball.”
     The Issaquah, Wash., native is enjoying a fine second season for the Orleans Cardinals. He leads his team in hitting with a .321 batting average and also has hit five doubles and stolen 10 bases. The six-foot-one-inch sophomore has played a flawless centerfield, with no errors in 20 games. Most importantly, his Cardinals are in first-place in the Eastern Division, holding a four point lead over the powerful Chatham A’s.
     Ironically, Curtis almost did not have the chance for his late game heroics. He said he and his fellow outfielders drew straws to determine who would have to leave the game. He lost initially, but re-entered the game when Alex Presley chose to rest a slight leg injury. 
     “It was evident today it’s a pitcher’s league,” Curtis noted. “It teaches you how to hit facing these guys. You could give it (the MVP) to our whole pitching staff.” 
Colin Reed, CCBL Intern, reed@capecodbaseball.org 

Written by John Garner Jr., Director of Public Relations & Broadcasting and Cape League Interns
 Stefanie Falco, Colin Reed, Nick Mucci, Jenna Kubesch and Michael Kydd

Edited by John Garner and Michael Kydd
(508) 790-0394 johnwgarner@earthlink.net