THIS WEEK IN THE CAPE LEAGUE
(25 July – 31 July 2004)
Written by John Garner, Director of Public Relations & Broadcasting
Cape League Interns 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
For the second time this season Falmouth’s Daniel Carte brings home Player of the Week honors. The Winthrop University sophomore continued his onslaught of Cape League pitchers. In a 5-0 week he hit .550 (11-for-20) with three home runs, nine RBI, seven runs and two stolen bases. He kept the Commodores three points ahead of Wareham with his 10th inning game-winning home run against Bourne Saturday night for a 2-1 win. Carte leads the league in home runs (11), RBI (35), slugging percentage (.624) and extra-base hits (17).
COCA COLA PLAYER OF THE WEEK
It was a sweep for Falmouth as Dallas Buck was named Pitcher of the Week for the first time this season. The Oregon State righthander was dominating in a 2-0 win over Harwich on Monday night. Buck tossed 7.1 hitless innings before a line drive off him by Ben Copeland snapped the no-hitter. He finished with a season-high 15 strikeouts, including streaks of five straight and six straight. Buck paces the league with a 0.55 ERA and is 3-1 with 57 strikeouts, third best.
Carte joins select group
Daniel Carte placed his name in the Cape League record book on Saturday night when he hit his 10th home run of the season in the second inning. The Hurricane, WV native became only the sixth player in modern-era history (since 1963) to reach double figures in home runs and stolen bases.
He joins Peter Tucci (Bourne, 1995, 11 HR, 18 SB), Todd Greene (Y-D, 1992, 11, 13), Albert Belle (Chatham, 1986, 12, 20), Greg Vaughn (Cotuit, 1985, 10, 15), Mike Loggins (Harwich, 1984, 13, 15) in the exclusive club. Belle, Greene and Vaughn all played in the majors. Five of the six players have accomplished the feat since the league returned to wooden bats in 1985.
“That’s pretty good company to be in,” said Carte when told of the group of players whose club he had joined.
He started off the season 0-for-19, but since then has made a big impression on league pitchers and fans.
“I kept the same approach all the time,” said Carte. “Baseball is great because each day is a new game and you get to start over and forget about the bad game.”
Managers Big Day
Last Sunday (25 July) was a milestone day for two Cape League managers.
Chatham skipper John Schiffner moved into third place on the all-time win list win the A’s defeated Yarmouth-Dennis 3-2 in 10 innings. The win moved him out of a tie with long-time Red Sox manager Red Wilson (257-373-33). Schiffner is now 259-229-10 in his 12th season with Chatham. He has won two league championships.
Earlier in the day Bourne manager Harvey Shapiro won his 150th game when the Braves edged Hyannis 3-1. Shapiro became the 11th league manager to reach 150 wins. He is now 150-143-3 in seven seasons in the league. He managed Falmouth from 1994-98 and took the Braves to their first championship series last year.
Cape League Documentary in Theatre
"Touching the Game", the newly released documentary about the historic Cape Cod Baseball League (CCBL) that captures America’s favorite pastime in its purest form, will be shown at the Shaughnessy Theatre in Hyannis from August 6 through August 12.
Touching the Game is the first film to tell the comprehensive story of the Cape League and the people who make it the leading amateur baseball league in the nation. The feature length film was shot primarily during the summer of 2003 and chronicles college baseball players on the edge of stardom and features interviews with scores of Major League Baseball stars, including Nomar Garciaparra, Jason Varitek, and Mo Vaughn, as they recall their time playing in the league. The CCBL boasts more than 200 alumni now playing in the Majors.
Guests may purchase a DVD of the film for $19.95 at the theater. Hot dogs, popcorn, and Italian ice will also be on sale. The film will be shown at 4:30 p.m., 7 p.m., and 9:15 p.m. from Friday, Aug. 6 through Thursday, Aug. 12 at The Shaughnessy Theatre, 337 Main Street, Hyannis. Admission is $6.
For questions about "Touching the Game", call (617) 969-2022 or visit www.touchingthegame.com. For questions about The Shaughnessy Theatre, call (508) 771-8501 or visit www.CapeStage.com.
Falmouth (20-15-1, first in West, 13-8-1 in division, 5-0 for week)
The Cape Cod Baseball League is primarily made up of players who will begin their junior years of college in the fall. With Major League Baseball becoming an option after a player’s third college season, the Cape League predominately features the nation’s best rising juniors.
So when a rising sophomore makes an impact in the league, heads begin to turn. In Falmouth, heads have been turning all season.
On the current roster, the Commodores feature seven such players. Routinely, manager Jeff Trundy trots out four younger players to fill his lineup card, and the youth has yet to disappoint.
“You never know how a kid coming in here is going to play, regardless of class,” Trundy said. “These kids have really handled it well. They came out of the gate playing very well and have carried it through.”
Matt Antonelli, who will begin his sophomore season at Wake Forest in the fall, has been one of Falmouth’s best hitters this season, manning the hot corner and hitting .286 with seven RBI.
Fellow rising sophomore Dallas Buck has been nothing short of outstanding this summer. The Oregon State hurler capped off an exciting week on Monday. Days after being selected as the West Division MVP in the Cape League All-Star Game, Buck beat the Harwich Mariners, allowing just one hit over eight innings. He struck out 15 Mariner hitters, walking just two and was named Cape League Pitcher of the Week.
This experience on the Cape after just one year of college ball will only help the play of guys like Antonelli and Buck, Trundy said. Jensen Lewis (Vanderbilt) and Chris Lewis (Stanford) were two young Commodores last summer. Now they are the team veterans.
“I think their approach is much better,” Trundy said of his starting pitcher and second baseman. “I think they understand what you have to do each and everyday to get yourself ready to play. It was a huge benefit to Jensen and Chris, having played here last year.”
That experience helps the entire ball club, not just the returning players.
“When you have kids that have been here before, they’re a great resource for these other players,” Trundy said. “They help with everything, on the field and off the field.”
On the field, the Commodores are holding on tightly to first place in the West Division. Falmouth leads the division by three points, with a streaking Wareham club close behind. Trundy’s squad won its fifth straight game on Saturday after losing five in a row before that.-- By T.J. Lasita, CCBL Intern, TJLasita@capecodbaseball.org
Wareham (19-17, second in West, 13-5 in division, 5-1 for week)
It must have been mom’s home cooking.
Homegrown product Tom Thornton made his most impressive outing of the season earlier this week, earning his third victory in the Cape League. Thornton’s performance took place at Wareham--in front of the Gatemen faithful, including the big southpaw’s family and friends.
Thornton grew up in Middleboro, Mass., 15 minutes from Wareham’s Spillane Field, giving him the chance to live at home, rather than with a host family on the Cape. When deciding which Cape League team he’d play for this summer, Wareham’s proximity to home played a key role.
“My family and friends were definitely happy with the decision,” Thornton said. “I save a little bit on host house fees, get to sleep in my own bed and get to eat a little of mom’s cooking, so it’s good times.”
It was good times Monday night for Thornton, too. The Notre Dame starter scattered three hits and struck out five in 7.2 innings of work, leading the Gatemen to the victory against Bourne.
Quality starts seem a little bit sweeter when they’re done in front of loved ones, Thornton said. He didn’t have that luxury last summer, as he played for the Newport Gulls of the New England Collegiate Baseball League, going 3-1 with a 2.91 ERA.
“Last summer living down in Newport, I was really disconnected from a lot of my family, a lot of my friends,” he said. “Coming back here has been great. I love going out and playing for these coaches and getting a new perspective. Living at home, with my family and friends, makes everything really special.”
Thornton’s Gatemen are making a strong push for a playoff spot. Once settled in the bottom of the West Division standings, Wareham is now in second place, three points behind division leader Falmouth. The Gatemen have won nine of their last ten games entering Sunday, including five in a row. -- By T.J. Lasita, CCBL Intern, TJLasita@capecodbaseball.org
Hyannis (18-18, third in West, 9-10 in division, 1-5 for week)
After losing five of their last six games, the Hyannis Mets will call upon Blues legend James Montgomery to help turn things around by throwing out the first pitch and sing the national anthem before their home game Friday (Aug. 6) against the league-leading Y-D Red Sox at McKeon Park at 4:30 p.m.
The Mets, who have dropped to third place in the West Division with an 18-18 record for 36 points, lost several close games last week, including a 4-3 contest at Wareham Saturday night.
Montgomery, lead singer of the James Montgomery Blues Band and one of the most accomplished harmonica players in the world, will perform in the Boch Dodge Reel Blues Festival Sunday, August 8 at the Cape Cod Melody Tent. Ernie Boch Jr., will throw out the first pitch at the Mets’ home game vs. Falmouth Saturday at 4:30 p.m.
Despite the loss at Wareham, Mike Costanzo (Coastal Carolina) contined his production with a long 400-foot home run, while Kyle Keen (Georgia) and Pat Reilly (Arizona) had three hits apiece.
The Mets broke their four-game losing streak and inched one stop closer to the Barnstable Patriot Cup by posting a 7-3 win over Cotuit in a game shortened by heavy fog. Keen went 3-for-4 with two RBI, a run and a stolen base.
Costanzo is second in the league with 22 RBI, while Bo Lanier (Georgia) is fourth in the league with six saves. Hyannis is second in team ERA (2.53) and is second in team batting average (.242). -- By John Garner, Director of Public Relations and Broadcasting
Cotuit (16-19-1, fourth in West, 5-13-1 in division, 2-4 for week)
If you see the Cotuit Kettleers play, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll get to watch submariner Ryan Cahalan take the hill.
Cahalan, a righthander from Florida Southern, not only leads the Cape League in appearances this season, but he is approaching the record for wins by a relief pitcher. Entering Sunday’s games, Cahalan earned five wins in 23 appearances. One more victory will tie Cahalan with Scott Murray, who set the record for relief wins in 1982 for the Harwich Mariners.
Cahalan’s delivery, which comes from a seven o’clock angle, has baffled Cape League hitters all summer. Through Saturday’s contests, he fanned 26 hitters, compiling a 2.77 ERA.
Cahalan’s fifth victory came earlier this week, as the Kettleers knocked off Chatham, 3-2. Entering the game in the ninth inning with a one-run deficit, Cahalan retired the A’s in order, setting the stage for a bottom of the ninth Cotuit rally. A Nathan Southard single scored the game winner, giving Cahalan win number five on the season.
That victory was a big one for Cotuit, as they continue hold out hope for a birth in the playoffs. Once a first place team, Cotuit has slipped to the bottom half of the West Division standings, but is still within striking distance of the top.
Entering Sunday, the Kettleers lost three games in a row and were eight points behind division leader Falmouth. Cotuit won’t meet the Commodores again this season, but their final three slated games are against West Division opponents. -- By T.J. Lasita, CCBL Intern, TJLasita@capecodbaseball.org
Bourne (15-21, fifth in West, 8-12 in division, 1-4 for week)
There’s something about the month of July that just got Dan Donaldson going.
After a lackluster college season in which he compiled a 4.76 ERA and walked more hitters than he struck out, Donaldson (Texas A&M) has shredded Cape League hitting to the tune of a 0.73 ERA since the last turn of the calendar.
His biggest performance to date came on July 22. He entered in the eighth inning of a 1-1 game against Cotuit with two men on base, and he immediately induced an inning-ending ground ball to get out of the jam.
He pitched a total of 2 1/3 innings and allowed just one hit. He eventually got the win, his only win of the month, when Kyle Padgett (William and Mary) hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the tenth to give the Braves the victory.
His consistency has helped Bourne hang in a tight West Division race, but time is running out if Bourne is to make a move into playoff contention. A game against third-place Hyannis on Tuesday and two games against second-place Wareham could be essential to extending Bourne’s season -- By Brian MacPherson, CCBL Intern, firstname.lastname@example.org
BrewBrewster (21-16, tied for first in East, 10-11 in division, 3-3 for week)
Brewster second baseman Will Rhymes was pretty sure he’d be getting tested this summer, he just wasn’t expecting this kind of exam.
Rhymes, who began taking an Organic Chemistry class at William & Mary before being invited to the Cape League, has been tested by the nation’s top collegiate pitchers thus far. Luckily for the Whitecaps, the 5-foot-9-inch Rhymes has passed with flying colors.
“I was planning on taking summer school down at William & Mary,” Rhymes said. “I was taking Organic Chemistry II, so I would’ve been in the chem lab all summer.”
Rather than splitting atoms, Rhymes has dissected Cape League pitching.
“I was ecstatic when I got the phone call to join the league,” he said. “I had already taken one test, but I ripped up my stuff and hit the road.”
Entering Sunday, Rhymes was hitting .303, with a team-leading 40 base hits. Not too bad for a guy that was originally listed as a temporary player – filling the roster while Team USA invitees and College World Series participants were still off the Cape.
“My first goal was just to try and make the team,” Rhymes said. “After that, I didn’t just want to make the team, I wanted to come up here and do well.”
Well might be an understatement. Once just a temporary hopeful, Rhymes exploded onto the scene and earned a spot on the East Division All-Star team.
“I didn’t expect it at all,” he said. “It was a real honor to be selected to the All-Star team and get to play with all of the elite players in this league.”
Rhymes’ Brewster squad is one of the elite teams in the league, but its hold on first place is slipping. Through Saturday’s games, the Whitecaps lost three in a row and were tied with Yarmouth-Dennis atop the East Division standings. The two teams are running away from the rest of the division, however, as their respective 42 points are seemingly out of reach for the third-place Harwich Mariners and Orleans Cardinals, who both have earned 34 points.
Brewster and Yarmouth-Dennis will have a head-to-head battle for first place Tuesday, when the Whitecaps welcome the Red Sox to Cape Cod Tech at 4:30. -- By T.J. Lasita, CCBL Intern, TJLasita@capecodbaseball.org
Yarmouth-Dennis (21-16, tied for first in East, 12-8 in division, 3-3 for week)
In the midst of a wave of position changes before the bottom of the sixth inning of Thursday’s game at Guv Fuller Field in Falmouth, the public-address announcer inadvertently skipped over the name of Yarmouth-Dennis shortstop-turned-third-baseman Ryan Rohlinger.
But Rohlinger (Oklahoma) might be used to being taken for granted at this point. He hit .298 with six runs scored in the pitcher-friendly month of June, but he still labored near the bottom of a powerful lineup anchored by two of the league’s best hitters in Frank Curreri (UMass) and Matt LaPorta (Florida).
In recent days, though, he’s seen his name move up in the lineup, and he’s even spent time in the fifth spot, ahead of LaPorta. He made the most of that opportunity, hitting .300 with two RBI in his last five games.
“He’s been probably our most consistent player,” said Red Sox coach Scott Pickler.
In Friday’s game, Rohlinger beat out two infield hits – one hit in the direction of defensive whiz Cliff Pennington – and drove a fly ball to the warning track.
But his contributions don’t cease when the Red Sox take the field defensively.
Rohlinger has made 30 appearances at shortstop this season and 12 at third base, and he’s made just seven errors in those games. Just two batters after a lineup shuffle forced a move from shortstop to third on Friday, for example, he flawlessly fielded a slow roller on the grass and threw to first for the out.
“He’s a quiet kid, but there’s an intensity there,” Pickler said. “He comes to play every day.” -- By Brian MacPherson, CCBL Intern, email@example.com
Harwich (17-18, third in East, 10-9 in division, 3-2 for week)
He may not be a modern-day Babe Ruth, contributing at the plate between starts, but then again, Dan Brauer hasn’t had to be.
The lefthander tied for third among Northwestern hitters with two triples this season, and he scored 14 runs for the Wildcats. But his real value came when he took the mound, as he won six games and struck out 96 batters while walking just 26.
And the mound is where he’s shined for the Mariners.
“He’s a stud, man, he’s a stud,” said Harwich coach Steve Englert. “He goes out there and competes every single night, throws strikes, and he gets after people.”
In his final start before the All-Star Game, Brauer outdueled Brewster’s Josh Cribb by scattering five hits in six innings, striking out seven Whitecaps. And on Friday, Brauer shut out Chatham through 5 2/3, striking out nine.
That performance earned Brauer his sixth win to go along with a 1.49 ERA and 59 strikeouts.
“He’s got six wins – that’s pretty impressive in this league,” Englert said. “I haven’t seen a kid do that in a while.”
And with Jon Aughey (The Citadel) leading a lineup that supports him with impressive punch, Brauer hasn’t needed to contribute with the bat. But it’s nice knowing he could if he had to.-- By Brian MacPherson, CCBL Intern, firstname.lastname@example.org
Orleans (17-20, fourth in East, 8-13 in division, 3-3 for week)
With runners breaking from first and second on Sunday, Harwich second baseman Jon Aughey (The Citadel) hit a screaming line drive toward right field, a sure two runs until first baseman Jordan Brown (Arizona) lifted his glove and snatched the ball out of the air.
After a moment of hesitation so he could fully comprehend his golden opportunity, Brown flipped the ball to Tyler Greene (Arizona State) at second base, who tagged a stunned Mariner runner for one out and stepped on the bag to complete the trifecta.
“I’ve never been involved in a triple play, except for PlayStation,” Brown said. “And even then I was cheating.”
But even though he turned in the season’s most efficient defensive play, Brown’s contribution to Orleans has come primarily at the plate. In his last 10 games entering games on Saturday, the first baseman had hit for a .400 clip with three home runs and 11 runs batted in, and his season-long batting average of .333 is good for second in the league.
He drove in the decisive run with a third-inning single in an important 2-1 win against Hyannis on Thursday, a game in which Erik Averill (Arizona State) went the distance and allowed just five hits.
Brown followed that up with a two-run home run in the first inning on Friday, and he later scored the game-winning run of a 6-5 thriller against first-place Brewster.
“He’s got a little confidence in himself, and he goes up there believing he can hit,” Greene said. “When you’ve got that in your mindset, you let your ability take over.”
Entering play on Sunday, the entire Orleans team was playing with that confidence. The Cardinals had won three in a row, and while a playoff berth seems out of reach at this point, they can make the division race interesting with a strong final week – and they could put themselves in position to make Saturday’s battle at Yarmouth-Dennis a decisive one. -- By Brian MacPherson, CCBL Intern, email@example.com
Chatham (16-20, fifth in East, 10-9 in division, 2-3 for week)
It’s not every day that a player can lead his team in home runs and saves. Steven Head did just that for Mississippi this season.
He’d compiled a 6-3 record with a 2.82 ERA and five saves for the Rebels on the mound, all the while hitting for a .346 average with 13 home runs and 43 RBI.
But when he came to Cape Cod, he took advantage of Chatham’s plethora of arms to concentrate on his hitting. He didn’t leave his pitching mentality back in Mississippi, though.
“To be able to think like a pitcher would be somewhat of an advantage,” he said. “You get to see the game from both sides, so it definitely helps me as a hitter, being a pitcher, and vice versa.”
And that advantage has translated into massive offensive success for the Chatham first baseman. Entering play on Saturday, he’d hit for a .421 clip with two home runs and six RBI in his last 10 games, and a .474 average in his last five contests.
“You’ve got to go out there and try to be as consistent as possible, and fortunately these past couple of weeks I’ve had a lot of hits fall,” he said.
And while his A’s fell to last place in the East Division, they have the opportunity to do some damage in the race for the postseason. Chatham will tangle with Hyannis, Falmouth and Brewster this week, all teams still very much in the hunt for a postseason berth.-- By Brian MacPherson, CCBL Intern, firstname.lastname@example.org
John Garner, Jr.
CCBL Director of Public Relations & Broadcasting
(508) 790-0394 email@example.com