CAPE COD, Mass-- Max Muncy (Baylor) and John Andreoli (Connecticut) are no strangers to the league, playing their second year in Wareham, but this year they’ll both enjoy a first: a spot in the Cape League All Star game, held at Fenway Park for the third year running.
After strong summers in 2010, the two teammates reunited on the Gatemen’s home field for their veteran season with field manager Cooper Farris. Muncy, who started off struggling at the plate, turned his season around quickly.
“(Muncy) started off 1-for-24 at the start of the season, so he’s hitting over .400 down the stretch,” said Farris about his star infielder. Muncy had a 15 game hitting streak to propel him past his slow start. “I just feel like they (Muncy and Andreoli) deserve to be there.”
Muncy and Andreoli both improved their at bats since last year, when they both finished the regular season hitting .244. On the day of All Star selections, Andreoli was hitting .329, and Muncy followed with a .296 average. Muncy was also one of the few remaining players in the league who walked more than he struck out, an indicator of a good eye and patience at the plate.
“Last year they both had decent summers,” said Farris. “They’ve become more mature players. The biggest thing is using their abilities and doing what they do best and not trying to do more than what the game takes from them.”
“I guess I’ve matured as a player both mentally and physically,” Andreoli said. “Last year I kind of came here and the experience level, I guess it was tough adjusting to both the high level of pitching and wood bats. But after having a full summer facing that kind of pitching with a wood bat, you kind of get used to it and know what to expect.”
Many players struggle to adjust to the wooden bats in their time on the Cape, with batting averages typically dropping a hundred points from their spring seasons at college.
Said Andreoli, “I knew you can’t really look ahead of yourself. You have to take it day by day or it will eat you up, and knowing that, I feel like I’ve had a good summer. And luckily I’m an All Star, so that’s pretty cool.”
t’s a little cooler for Andreoli, who watched his cousin, Red Sox pitcher Daniel Bard, pitch in the Cape League All Star Game in 2005. “I’ve always grown up going to games and watching the Red Sox, so it’s going to be really cool to play there, kind of feel the experience of what the Red Sox feel like.”
Neither had been selected for the All Star rosters last year, so both were thrilled at the news that they, along with teammate Konner Wade (Arizona), would represent Wareham in the West Division All Star squad this year. A fourth teammate, pitcher Justin Amlung (Louisville), was selected, but signed a professional contract with the Cincinnati Reds shortly after being chosen.
“Unbelievable,” said Andreoli when he heard he was selected to the West squad. “I mean, this is obviously the best summer league there is out there, and it’ll be the best college players in the country. To have the opportunity to represent my school UConn and the Wareham Gatemen, and to play in such a high caliber game is something special.”
As for the game being hosted in Fenway, both Muncy and Andreoli were excited about the opportunity to step onto a field full of baseball history. Muncy, having grown up in Texas, was nevertheless enthusiastic about playing in the iconic park with the Green Monster.
Andreoli worded it best. “Just being there and watching how awesome the game is and the high caliber of players you get to play against, that’s something I’ll cherish the rest of my life.”