THIS WEEK IN THE CAPE LEAGUE
(18 June – 24 June 2007)
Coca Cola Pitcher and Player of the Week
COCA COLA PITCHER OF THE WEEK
Yarmouth-Dennis pitcher Bobby Gagg (Coastal Carolina) earned this week’s Coca-Cola Pitcher of the Week award with his outstanding performance in his team's 4-2 victory over the Orleans Cardinals on Tuesday. Gagg pitched seven innings to earn his first win of the season and help the Red Sox maintain their spot at the top of the Cape Cod Baseball League's Eastern Division. The Cardinals could manage just four hits off Gagg, who struck out three batters and gave up no runs. Gagg’s ERA, currently at 0.00 after 11 innings of work, is one reason that the Red Sox sport a staff ERA of 2.44, which is second in the league, and have the top record at 6-2.
COCA COLA PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Red Sox shortstop Gordon Beckham (Georgia) proved that last week was no fluke as he repeated as the Coca-Cola Player of the Week. Beckham drove in five runs while batting .360. He collected two doubles and two home runs. His best performance came in a 5-1 victory on Wednesday against the Falmouth Commodores as he figured in all of the Y-D runs, going 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored, including a solo homer in the fourth inning. This talented athlete leads the league in batting average (.424), home runs (3), hits (14), slugging percentage (.788) and extra-base hits (6), and is tied for first in RBI with nine. Kevin Wolfe, CCBL intern
Chatham vs. Orleans:
A Town Rivalry ... A Team Rivalry
In America’s favorite pastime, there’s nothing like a good rivalry to spark enthusiasm among fans. Every league has its big rivalry, whether it's Yankees vs. Red Sox or backyard brawls between high schools. The Cape Cod Baseball League is no exception. For many summers, the rivalry between the neighboring Chatham A’s and Orleans Cardinals has drawn large crowds to both Veterans Field in Chatham and Eldredge Park in Orleans.
Last Sunday, June 17, marked 2007's first meeting between the two teams and saw the A’s defeat the Cardinals, 8-2.
With Cape League rosters undergoing dramatic roster changes every year, however, it leaves one wondering: Is Chatham-Orleans a town rivalry or a team rivalry?
A Rivalry Between Towns?
As with most rivalry games the fans were buzzing with energy and excitement. The visitors' section of Eldredge Park was packed with raucous Chatham fans who could be heard cheering loudly each time the A's scored a run. Orleans fans returned the favor, and the park remained packed until the end.
Mike Martin, a young Orleans fan, has grown up with the Chatham-Orleans rivalry. “It’s like a Yankees-Red Sox rivalry," he said. "It’s just always been there.” Mike sat worried as the Cardinals trailed the A’s by two runs in the sixth inning. “I’m kind of anxious and I’m worried that we might not pull it out,” he said.
Mike's fears were well founded as the Cardinals were blanked the rest of the way. Orleans could manage just two runs in the game, the first coming in the first inning when Marcus Jones (North Carolina State) scored to tie the game at 1-1. The second came in the third inning when Dennis Raben (Miami) singled home his Hurricanes teammate, shortstop Mark Sobolewski. Despite collecting eight hits, the Cardinals were unable to manufacture any runs after the third inning.
Chatham fans were confident after building a 4-2 lead at the end of three. Chatham scored the first run of the game when Addison Johnson (Clemson) crossed the plate in the first inning. Johnson crossed the plate again in the third on a single by Allan Dykstra (Wake Forest). Next to bat was Sean O’Brien (Virginia Tech), who belted a two-run home run to right-center to give the A's a lead they would never relinquish.
Barbara Hansen, a Cape Cod resident for 20 years, said she has a lot of respect for Orleans, but is still a Chatham fan. “We’re definitely rivals, no question about it,” Hansen said. “I would say that Orleans and Harwich are probably our top rivals, so we really look forward to these games.”
A Rivalry Between Teams?
The tension, however, was more evident among spectators than players, who seemed relatively unaffected by the rivalry. With just a handful of returning players on both teams' rosters, Chatham vs. Orleans is just another game to most players.
But A’s second baseman Travis Beausoleil (Connecticut- Avery Point), who had one RBI Sunday, said he and his teammates are aware of the rivalry, but are not fazed by it. “It’s a huge tradition here, so we all know it. We all know that they are rivals and that they are right down the road. But we don’t really take it into the game," Beausoleil said. "It’s just another game for us, but it’s there. If there is a team we would really like to beat, it's Orleans.”
Veteran A’s manager John Schiffner said the rivalry affects neither himself nor his team. “If we had 10 to 12 guys returning and it was ongoing, I think it might turn into a rivalry. Even so, it always seems to sort of develop into one because usually Chatham and Orleans are fighting for a playoff spot,” said Schiffner. “As far as a true rivalry between the players, no, but between the communities, yes," he continued. "Sure, they like to talk to one another over the winter and say, ‘We beat you,’ but I really don’t see it happening with the players unless we’re both really battling for a playoff spot.”
The last time the two teams met in the playoffs was during the 2005 semifinals. Orleans ended up winning the series and the Cardinals went on to win the CCBL championship.
Orleans manager Kelly Nicholson was just concerned that his team lost. “Every game is important," Nicholson said. "It doesn’t matter if we’re playing Chatham or Bourne or whomever -- we’re just trying to get wins and get points. We’re just trying to play the game -- it doesn’t matter who the opponent is.”
Last season, Chatham and Orleans split their six meetings, each team posting three wins. Orleans actually won the first three times they faced the A's in 2006, but Chatham came back to take the last three. Fans of the Cardinals and A's are wondering whether 2007 will follow a similar pattern. Gabriella Remington, CCBL intern (email@example.com)
Brewster Whitecaps Show They're for Real;
Hitting, Pitching Jell Against Mets, Gatemen
BREWSTER, Mass. -- After stumbling to a 1-2 start, the Brewster Whitecaps bounced back in their first full week of Cape Cod Baseball League action, building a 4-3 record to take over second place in the East Division.
The Whitecaps followed a disappointing opening weekend with a solid 5-1 victory at Harwich on Tuesday. Coming out swinging against the Mariners, Brewster scored four runs in the first four innings. Second baseman Danny Lima (Tennessee) was the sparkplug as he went 2-for-4 and drove in a run. In his first action of the summer, third baseman Austin Yount (Stanford) contributed a scorching RBI double. Meanwhile, Stephen Porlier (Tulane) in his first start of the summer, pitched five strong innings, allowing only one run while scattering five hits to earn the win.
Brewster opened a three-game home stand on Wednesday with another impressive effort, a 4-0 shutout victory over the Hyannis Mets.
Brewster pitchers Brad Kledzick (Wake Forest) and Chris Kupillas (Central Michigan) combined to hold the Mets to just five hits. Lima continued his hot streak with a 3-for-4 night and a run scored, and designated hitter David Cooper (California) and first baseman Yonder Alonso (Miami) drove in three of the four runs, going a combined 3-for-4.
The Cape League's spotlight game Thursday night brought Wareham to Brewster for the only contest on the schedule, as the league's eight other teams had the night off. The see-saw battle went to the Whitecaps, 8-7, and as they took the second game of the three-game homestand.
In a game that featured 15 runs, 21 hits and five errors, Brewster had just enough to hold on against the Gatemen. Right-hander Ryan Cook (USC) was making his second start of the season after a strong opening day effort against Orleans, but this time he did not fare so well. Cook allowed four runs in 5-1/3 innings. DH Cooper had another impressive game, going 2-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored. Cooper also hammered his second home run of the season. Third baseman Willy Fox (Arizona State) had a big night, smashing a double with the bases loaded to record three RBI, and Ryan Babineau (UCLA), the Whitecaps' catcher, contributed three hits in four at-bats and scored a run. Southpaw Keith Shinaberry (Texas) recorded his second win and closer Lee Land (Wake Forest) earned his second save for Brewster.
In a rematch of the season opener, Brewster took on Orleans Friday night, but this time the Whitecaps' luck ran out and they wound up on the short end of a 2-0 pitchers' duel. In a fast-paced game that required less than 2-1/2 hours to complete, Orleans waited until the top of the ninth to score two runs and hand tough-luck right-hander Chris Kupillas (Central Michigan) has second loss of the season. Kupillas had relieved right-hander Matt Couch (San Diego), who had pitched seven shutout innings.
Third baseman Yount was the Whitecaps' lone bright spot offensively as he collected two of his team's four hits. John Hannemann, CCBL intern (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Two Harwich Pitchers Equal to the Challenge;
Mariners Falter After Winning Two of First Three Games
HARWICH, Mass. -- Although getting off to a good start by winning two of their first three games, the Harwich Mariners struggled through an up-and-down first week in Cape Cod Baseball League play. But one of the franchise's highlights was provided by two Mariner pitchers, Danny Farquhar (Louisiana-Lafayette) and Corey Young (Seton Hall), both of whom volunteered their time to participate in the season-ending activities of the Cape Cod Challenger Club at the Henry T. Wing School in Sandwich.
On Sunday, June 17, Farquhar and Young were at Sandwich for about two hours, working with the disabled boys and girls who were playing by pitching to them, helping them run the bases and showing them how to field ground balls. The players offered plenty of encouragement to these very courageous youngsters. Later, they signed baseballs, one for each Challenger Club member, and assisted in the presentations of trophies.
Both players said they were happy to be part of the activities and to lend a helping hand to the Challenger Club, which provides a baseball program for disabled children and young adults.
Their selfless efforts earned them some positive publicity as well. In a story in the Plymouth Bulletin, Young was quoted as saying, "I was pitching ... and getting rocked left and right. The positive spirit and friendliness of these Challenger Club members is something I will remember." In the same story, Bulletin correspondent Robert Howes quoted Farquhar: "There were a couple of dingers hit right at me so I had to jump out of the way to avoid getting hit on the shin!"
The two players both arrived late for the Mariners' game in Bourne that afternoon, but since neither was scheduled to pitch, manager Steve Englert didn’t seem to mind. "That little bit of time (which the players spent with the Challenger Club) goes a long way,” Englert said. The special youngsters and their parents were also very appreciative of the players' efforts.
On the field, Harwich’s first two games of the week were not at all appreciated. They were filled with sloppy baseball and a lack of hitting as the Mariners lost twice -- to Hyannis and Brewster -- committing five errors and scoring just two runs. “We have pretty much been at it for 10 straight days, not to mention the extra-inning game we played in Bourne," Englert said. "The guys seemed to come out a little tired.”
Harwich finally broke its three-game losing streak on Wednesday with a 3-1 win in Cotuit where versatile Alex Avila (Alabama) went 3-for-4 with a double and a run scored; second baseman Johnny Giovatella (New Orleans) went 2-for-4, driving in the Mariners' first run, and catcher J.B. Paxson (Western Kentucky) hit Harwich’s first home run of the season with a shot down the right field line to make the score 2-1.
Left-hander Corey Young (Seton Hall) turned in the Mariners' best pitching performance so far, scattering just three hits in the eight strong innings he worked. Right-hander Matt Frevert (Missouri State) closed out the game with a perfect ninth inning to record his second save of the season.
A much-needed off day on Thursday for the Mariners was followed by another sub-par defensive effort the next night when they lost, 6-1, to Chatham. All six runs scored by the A’s were unearned as Harwich committed three costly errors. Farquhar, right-hander Sean Black (Seton Hall) and right-hander Josh Zeid (Vanderbilt) were the victims of their teammates' fielding lapses as they combined for eight innings, allowing no earned runs. Steve Strausbaugh (Western Carolina) knocked in Harwich's only run with a fifth-inning single. John Hannemann, CCBL intern (email@example.com)
Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox Off to a Fast Start;
Defending Champs Go 6-1 in First Week of Action
SOUTH YARMOUTH, Mass. -- The Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox jumped off to a fast start in the Cape Cod Baseball League's East Division and the reasons were obvious. The defending CCBL champions were 6-1 after seven games, thanks to a league-leading .303 team batting average and a second-best 2.10 team earned run average.
A 15-1 victory over Cotuit on June 18 highlighted a near-perfect opening week, which included wins at Chatham, 4-1, and against Wareham, 5-3. Y-D finally game down to earth when Hyannis ended the six-game winning streak with a 7-6 victory in a game that was called because of darkness after eight innings.
The Red Sox took a comfortable 4-1 lead into the sixth inning against Cotuit and blew the game wide open with an eight-run explosion. A two run double by Joey Railley (San Francisco) and a three-run homer by Sean Ochinko (Louisiana State) were the big blows.
Eddie Burns (Georgia Tech) was the star on the mound for the Red Sox, allowing just one run as he scattered five hits, struck out four Kettleers and not walk a batter in his six innings of work. Burns's fastball was clocked at upwards of 91 miles per hour.
Burns said the key to his success was his command of his pitches. "I just struggled in the beginning to get ahead of hitters, but then I was able to hit a few spots and get ahead,” he said after the eight-inning victory. The game was called heading into the home half of the eighth due to a lack of daylight.
Next stop for the Red Sox was Orleans, where they defeated the Cardinals, 4-2. A two-run single in the fifth by Nich Romero (San Diego State) capped the scoring. Although Yarmouth-Dennis would not score again, four runs turned out to be plenty for winning pitcher Bobby Gagg (Coastal Carolina), who scattered four hits and three walks in seven shutout innings.
The Falmouth Commodores were no match for the streaking Red Sox at Red Wilson Field. Terry Doyle (Boston College) picked up his second win of the young season en route to a 5-1 victory. Gordon Beckham (Georgia) showed why he was the Coca-Cola Player of the Week after the CCBL's first weekend as he drove in three runs in a 3-for-4 night that included a solo home run in the fourth.
After a day off on Thursday, the Red Sox showed they are only human as they lost to the Hyannis Mets at Red Wilson Field on June 22.
With Y-D trailing, 7-2, in the eighth inning, Collin Cowgill (Kentucky) gave the home fans reason some hope as he smashed a two-out grand slam to pull the Red Sox within a run. But that proved to be the last gasp for the Red Sox as the game was called at the end of the inning due to darkness and the Mets walked off with a 7-6 victory.
In a sensational opening week, Yarmouth-Dennis has displayed solid defense, strong pitching and an impressive offense. It's exactly the kind of potent mix needed to be successful as the Red Sox attempt to keep the CCBL championship in South Yarmouth. Kevin Wolfe, CCBL intern (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Braves' Offense Shakes Off the Ghosts of 2006;
Hoef Leads Bourne to Top of Western Division
BOURNE, Mass. -- Bourne’s Kevin Hoef (Iowa) has a target on his back. And he has the bruises to prove it.
After the first full week of Cape Cod Baseball League play, Hoef was the man everyone was chasing. The Braves’ starting shortstop ended Week Two on Friday as the hottest hitter on the Cape, batting .455 in 22 at-bats.
He was also hit by a league high six pitches in the team’s first five games.
It’s no wonder that nobody wants to pitch to him. In the Braves’ 15-8 trouncing of Falmouth on June 16, Hoef was plunked four times. In the two at-bats where he wasn’t given a freebie, he knocked around the Commodores’ pitching staff for a pair of RBI singles.
Hoef’s fireworks were leading a revamped offense that catapulted the Braves from a last-place finish in 2006 to the top of the CCBL’s West Division with a 3-2-1 early season record. Through Friday, the league’s leaders in batting average, RBI, stolen bases, on-base percentage and run scored all wore Bourne's red and blue.
Brian Pruitt (Stetson) had a league-high eight RBI and Ben Guez, a temporary roster addition from William and Mary, was making a strong case for a permanent spot on the Bourne roster with a league-leading six stolen bases and seven runs scored. Guez also had 10 hits for a .370 average.
T.J. Steele (Arizona) was fourth in batting after Hoef with a .421 average and eight hits. His highlights included a pair of doubles that book ended a seven-run splurge in the eighth inning of the team’s biggest win of the week, a 15-8 rout of Western Division rival Falmouth.
As a team, the Braves were batting a collective .291, good for second in the league. They were also second in runs scored, averaging more than six per game. Only defending champion Yarmouth-Dennis had outscored the Braves, and the Red Sox needed a 15-run rout of Cotuit to do it.
But the Braves played with fire defensively early on. They allowed six, eight and seven runs in their first three games. They prevailed due to their high-octane bats—they put up 30 combined runs in those three games—but that strategy was tested later in the week as the offense sputtered after its powerful start. After scoring seven, 15 and eight runs in their first three outings – all wins – the Braves mustered a total of just seven runs in their final three games of the week, a trio of losses that brought their record at 3-2-1.
Those bats quieted just as the pitching rotation was settling down. Joe Kent (Oklahoma State) threw five scoreless innings in a 4-2 loss to Orleans and D.J. Mitchell (Clemson) gave up just a single run in six innings of work in the Hyannis game. Jordan Flasher (George Mason) is quickly making a name for himself as the team’s go-to closer, a spot field manager Harvey Shapiro was anxious to fill after Team USA snatched up top prospect Cody Satterwhite (Mississippi). Flasher threw 3-2/3 scoreless innings, including a two-strikeout side against Chatham.
The Braves will need to put it all together in Week 3. While there are no divisional games on their schedule until July 3, the next eight days bring two matchups with the league’s top team, Yarmouth-Dennis. Liz Hoffman, CCBL intern (email@example.com)
Inconsistent Kettleers Stay Within Striking Distance in West;
Cotuit Plays .500 Baseball to Keep Pace With Bourne
COTUIT, Mass. -- As the first full week of Cape Cod Baseball League play came to an end, the Cotuit Kettleers found themselves in second place in the West Division, but with a lot of work still to do. The team got off to a rocky start in their June 15 opener at Lowell Park, dropping a 7-6 decision to division rival Bourne. But, after that misstep, the Kettleers settled down and went on to win three of their next five games. After six outings, they were 3-3 and keeping pace with first-place Bourne.
But they cannot expect to remain in contention unless they solve their pitching problems. The Kettleers' pitching staff struggled in the early going as leadoff walks and control issues continually plagued the rotation. As a result, Cotuit had the highest team ERA in the league at 6.92.
There were some bright spots, however, provided by closers Josh Lindblom (Purdue) and Garrett Richards (Oklahoma). In the match-up against Falmouth on June 19, sophomore right-hander Lindblom came in for the 8th and 9th innings and sealed the win for Cotuit by striking out three of the six batters he faced. Sophomore right-hander Richards relieved Lindblom in the game against Hyannis on June 17 as he went 3-1/3 innings, giving up just one earned run while fanning three. Richards got the save against Falmouth, one of two he earned in the opening week of play. The other came against Brewster on June 16.
Offensively, the Kettleers displayed moments of brilliance, but they have been plagued by a lack of consistency. On June 17, the Kettleers rallied for a come-from-behind, 9-8 win over the Hyannis Mets by scoring eight runs in the fifth inning. They also staged a spirited rally against Bourne in their opener. Trailing, 7-1, in the eighth inning, Cotuit exploded with four hits and five runs but fell just short and lost to the Braves, 7-6.
Big hitters for Cotuit included first baseman Aaron Baker (Oklahoma), who sported a .308 batting average and had collected two doubles, and infielders Josh Harrison (Cincinnati), with a .389 batting average and .444 slugging percentage, and Correy Figueroa (St. Petersburg) who was hitting .286.
Everything fell apart for the Kettleers on June 18 when they suffered a 15-1 blowout loss to last year’s CCBL champions, the Y-D Red Sox. Although the Kettleers managed eight hits in the game, they could push across just one run thanks to a double play, two runners being thrown out on the bases and four men being left on base.
Cotuit had other concerns as injuries had sidelined catchers Robert Stock (USC) and Yan Gomes (Tennessee). Both were hurt against Harwich on June 20. Erica Bailey, CCBL intern (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Slow Start Finds Falmouth at 1-5;
Inconsistent Pitching, Hitting Plague Commodores
FALMOUTH, Mass. -- The first week of Cape Cod Baseball League play was not kind to the Falmouth Commodores. The team struggled to a 1-5 record with the second highest staff ERA in the league (4.50) and a team batting average of just .215.
Despite these anemic statistics, however, the Commodores have shown potential in both aspects of the game.
Freshman Kyle Gibson (Missouri) was immense for the Commodores during their season opener against Wareham on June 15, pitching six scoreless innings. The 6-5, 180-pound right-hander scattered four hits and struck out five.
Sophomore Christian Friedrich (Eastern Kentucky) owns the only win for Falmouth for his outing against the Chatham A’s on June 18. The 6-3, 210-pound southpaw allowed only two hits and fanned seven in five innings of work.
While the Commodores showed moments of brilliance on defense, turning snappy double plays and making diving catches in the outfield, their fielding has also lacked consistency. Falmouth committed at least one error in each of its first six games.
Although the Commodores averaged nearly seven hits per game, most were singles and few were driving in runs. Only 13 of the team's first 48 hits were for extra bases.
Top hitters so far include catcher Kevin Dubler (Illinois State), with a .348 batting average and .522 slugging percentage, and first baseman Matthew Hague (Washington), who is hitting .333.
It is still early for manager Jeff Trundy's charges and there is still a lot of baseball to play. Falmouth fans are hoping the turn-around is imminent so the Commodores can sail into the thick of the West Division pennant chase. Erica Bailey, CCBL intern (email@example.com)
Hyannis Gains Revenge With 7-6 Win Over Y-D;
Consistency in Defense, Offense, Pitching Is Mets' Goal
HYANNIS, Mass. -- The Hyannis Mets found themselves at the .500 mark with a record of 3-3-1 after the first full week of Cape Cod Baseball League play. But the Mets proved they are capable of beating anybody in the league last Friday night when they avenged an earlier loss and ended Yarmouth-Dennis's six-game winning streak with a 7-6 victory over the Red Sox at Red Wilson Field.
The Mets now hope to develop consistency. Their roster is set for the season and their goal is to cut down on defensive mistakes while continuing to improve at the plate and on the mound. The arrival of Hyannis's final player, catcher Francis Larson (Cal Irvine), was imminent and two temporary players, Phil Bell (UAB) and Garrett Sherrill (Appalachian State), were signed to full-season contracts.
General manager John Howitt said Bell and Sherrill "really played their way onto the team.” Bell had a batting average of .294 and impressed observers with his play in left field, while Sherrill pitched well, giving up just three hits and no earned runs in five innings.
After losing to Y-D to start the season, the Mets picked up their first win at home against the Orleans Cardinals, 7-5. Infielder Dan Brewer (Bradley) drove in three runs in a 3-for-3 day, helping Sherrill become the winning pitcher with three scoreless innings of relief.
The Mets then took on cross-town rival Cotuit at Lowell Park, where an eight-run outburst by the Kettleers in the fifth inning spelled defeat for the visitors. The 9-8 loss was a bitter pill to swallow for Hyannis, which played well for most of the game.
Playing next in the friendly confines of McKeon Park, the Mets scored a solid 6-1 victory over Harwich. Third baseman James Darnell (South Carolina) and first baseman Shane Peterson (Long Beach State) drove in two runs apiece in support of right-hander Andrew Doyle (Oklahoma), who allowed just one earned run in the seven innings he pitched.
The following night against Bourne, the game went into extra innings before it was called after 10 innings because of lack of daylight. Peterson and Darnell accounted for the Mets' offense with one RBI each in the 2-2 tie. Next, The Mets traveled to Brewster, where they were shut out for the first time in a 4-0 loss. A day off Thursday -- their first -- gave the team a chance to regroup.
The next test for the up-and-down Mets came last Friday at Red Wilson Field, where Hyannis was determined to avenge an opening day loss to Yarmouth-Dennis. Right-hander Austin Hudson (Central Florida) pitched a strong 6-1/3 innings, giving up just two runs, while striking out three to earn the 7-6 win. It was a night when the offense definitely showed up for Hyannis. Shortstop Ryan Jackson (Miami) drove in three runs on two singles and right-fielder Dan Brewer (Bradley) clinched the victory in the eighth inning with a two-run single to right field.
After darkness forced the umpires to call the game, Bell, the temporary outfielder who earned a full-season contract, summed up where the Mets are at this point and what they hope to do in the upcoming weeks. "Our pitching and defense have come around these last couple of games," Bell said. "If we can keep that up, we can get on a little streak here, and that’s what we’re looking for.”
Kevin Wolfe, CCBL intern (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Pitching a Bright Spot, but Wareham Bats Sputter;
Miley Shines Bright in Two Starts for 1-5 Gatemen
WAREHAM, Mass. -- In the Cape Cod Baseball League, where players must adjust to wooden bats, new ballparks and facing a college team’s ace pitcher nearly every night, pitching is supposed to rule the day.
But unfortunately for the Wareham Gatemen and their strong corps of hurlers, batting -- or lack of it -- has been the story so far in 2007. The Gatemen's pitchers allowed just 16 earned runs through the first week of play, second-best in the league, and trailed only league front-runner Yarmouth-Dennis, which allowed nine. But, while the Red Sox ended the week at 6-1 while the Gatemen sat at 1-5 after following their energizing come-from-behind win on opening day with five straight losses.
The difference-maker is Wareham’s bats, which have yet to deliver consistent run support. As a result, strong outings from several pitchers have led nowhere. Their mound staff kept the Gatemen within striking distance in every contest, but that strike never seems to come. The team lost three of its games by a single run, and never lost by more than three.
“We’ve had some tough games, and we’d much rather be 5-1 than 1-5, but sometimes that’s the way the ball bounces,” general manager John Wylde said. “Our pitching for the most part has been very pleasing. We struggled at bat earlier, but we’ve shown signs in our last few games that we’re coming out of it.”
Field manager Cooper Farris put a lot of different arms on the mound during the first week of play, and was not gun-shy when it came to utilizing his bullpen. Eleven pitchers toed the rubber in the first six games as Farris and Wyle tried to sort out their final roster from a wealth of talented recruited players and non-roster invitees.
Starting right-hander Wade Miley (Southeastern Louisiana) has been outstanding for the Gatemen. He picked up Pitcher of the Week honors for his seven-inning performance on opening day when he struck out eight, scattered four hits and didn't allow an earned run as Wareham rallied to beat Falmouth in the top of the ninth.
Miley followed that with another masterful outing five days later against Orleans, giving up just four hits and one run through eight innings while fanning seven Cardinals. But the Gatemen sprinkled seven hits through five innings and Miley was tagged with the 1-0 loss. Miley’s two starts this season have yielded a league-leading 15 strikeouts and just a single earned run in 15 innings of work.
“The guys obviously want to win, but by the same token, each boy is eager to do the best that he can,” Wylde said. “Wade was disappointed that he didn’t win, but I think he was pleased that he’d thrown as well as he threw. He’s chomping at the bit to get out there again, and, hopefully, we can give him some run support next time.”
Arkansas’ Dallas Keuchel (5.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 SO) and Baylor’s Kendal Volz (5.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 SO) also had strong starts, although they lost 3-2 and 3-0 decisions, respectively.
The Gatemen’s offense showed some signs of life as the week went on, however, with seven hits against Orleans on Wednesday and a season-high 12 in an 8-7 loss to Brewster on Thursday. And with the anticipated return of Ike Davis (Arizona State), Jason Ogata (Oregon State) and Mike Cassavini (North Carolina) from the College World Series, the team can expect a boost. Wylde said Davis, who hit .428 for the Sun Devils in the CWS, should arrive in time for Thursday night’s game at Hyannis. Liz Hoffman, CCBL intern (email@example.com)
Around the Cape League Horn
UMPIRES ARE NICE PEOPLE TOO: As a token of the Cape League’s esteem to umpires who donated their services in the two Military Games in Chatham and Orleans, June 9-10, they were each sent a gift pack filled with commemorative T-shirts and a team photo. Here is one reply: “I just received a wonderful keepsake picture of the CCBL and Military All-Stars. This will be placed in my sports hutch. I will always be available to do these games in repayment for all those GIs that protect our families the world around. Semper Fi, Yours truly in baseball, Doug Ricciardi V.P., Amateur Baseball Umpires' Association, Cape Cod Sports Officials Group
Orleans GM and event host Sue Horton responded with, “I think as this military all-star weekend tradition team goes on, the awareness will grow and a lot more people will come forward to get involved. One of the middle school guys who helped us out in the cafeteria said he was a vet and next year he'd love to host someone, he really enjoyed being a part of it.” Cheers, Sue!
I SCREAM, YOU SCREAM, WE ALL SCREAM, FOR ICE CREAM: HP Hood has announced dates for its ice cream nights at the Cape League ballparks this season where its truck will be on hand to distribute complimentary ice cream cups: June 19 at Harwich, June 20 at Y-D, June 25 at Chatham, July 8 at Brewster, July 9 at Falmouth, July 11 at Hyannis, July 13 at Orleans, July 14 at Cotuit, July 15 at Wareham and July 27 at Bourne.
EAST SWEEPS WEST: All five East Teams were victorious vs. their West opponents last Wednesday by the following scores: Chatham 4, Bourne 3; Brewster 4, Hyannis 0; Harwich 3, Cotuit 1; Y-D 5, Falmouth 1 and Orleans 1, Wareham 0. (Kudos to Geoff Converse of the Cape Cod Times and Hyannis A.A. for this factoid).
RED SOX STORIES: Video producers Matt Bair and Jillian LaFlam of Boston Red Sox Productions will be frequent visitors to the Cape this summer toting cameras and microphones as they interview CCBL players, coaches and administrators for their television program, “Red Sox Stories," shown on UPN Channel 38 Sundays at 10:30 p.m. Their next shoot will be the Chatham vs. Orleans game on the Fourth of July.
CCBL ON FOX 25: The Cape League has a new presence on Fox 25’s MyFox Boston web site, complete with interviews by news director Gene Lavanchy and sports director Butch Stearns, video streams of all 10 teams, player profiles, maps and directions to CCBL ballparks and a message board for fans. Future plans during the next two weeks call for a live news broadcast and helicopter landing at a Cape League ballpark.
MURPH THE SURF: Former Wareham Gateman and CCBL All-Star David Murphy was recalled by the Boston Red Sox from the Pawtucket Red Sox Friday when Curt Schilling went on the 15-day disabled list and saw action as a defensive replacement in Boston’s 2-1 win at San Diego Friday night. His Pawtucket outfield mate Jacoby Ellsbury, who starred for Falmouth in 2004, was selected to play in the Futures Game during the MLB All-Star Game weekend.
WHO’S HOT…AND WHO’S NOT: The Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox (6-1) are on fire, winning their first six games before dropping a one-run contest to the Hyannis Mets Friday night. Not coincidentally, they lead the loop in team batting average (.303), home runs (5), runs (45) and have compiled a 2.21 ERA ... Lading the way for the Red Sox is slugging infielder Gordon Beckham (Georgia), who’s batting .379 with two homers, a .690 slugging percentage and eight RBI, along with RHP Bobby Gagg (Coastal Carolina), who’s 1-0 with seven K’s in 11 innings and a 0.00 ER ...
Shane Peterson (Long Beach State) at .400 and Dan Brewer (Bradley) at .370 are a solid one-two punch for the Hyannis Mets … Terry Doyle (Boston College) of Y-D, last year’s CCBL co-Pitcher of the Year, is the first hurler to reach two wins this summer, followed closely by Keith Shinaberry (Texas) of Brewster.
The league batting leaders after the first full week of the season are Kevin Hoef (Iowa) of Bourne and Kevin McElroy (Maine) of Chatham, who are both hitting a lofty .455…T.J. Steele (Arizona) of Bourne at .421 and Peterson of Hyannis are the only other .400 hitters going into Saturday’s action.
Wareham (1-5) is struggling with the lumber, compiling a league-worst .203 batting average and a low of 10 runs … One of the lone bright spots for the Gatemen is Blake Dean (Louisiana State), who’s batting .400 with two homers … The Go-Go Cotuit Kettleers are struggling on the mound with a 6.92 ERA, thanks in large part to a pounding at the hands of the Y-D Red Sox.
HIGHWAY ROBBERY: Mike Bianucci (Auburn) of Cotuit and Ben Guez of Bourne are the league leaders with six stolen bases apiece, while the Cotuit Kettleers, led by Bianucci and Josh Harrison (Cincinnati) with four, have swiped a league-leading 22 bases.
18 WINS…AND COUNTING: With four wins this season, John Schiffner, of the Chatham A’s, needs just 18 more to surpass Don Reed as the modern era wins leader. Reed captured 334 victories during his career.
GAME OF THE WEEK ON WBZ: The next CCBL Game of the Week on WBZ1030.com will be the Falmouth Commodores at Hyannis Mets Monday, June 25, beginning at 4:50 p.m. Broadcast legend Fred Cusick will provide play-by-play commentary.
John Garner, Jr.
Director of Public Relations & Broadcasting
Interns: Erica Bailey, John Hannemann, Liz Hoffman,
Gabriella Remington, Kevin Wolfe