29 July 2007
Under Armour Cape League All-Star Game
Goes to East Division, 3-2
NESN to Air Contest Monday at 7 pm
WAREHAM, Mass. – More than 5,500 fans and scores of big league scouts filled the stands at Clem Spillane Field in Wareham Saturday to see the Cape Cod Baseball League’s finest compete in the premier event of the summer, the league’s 45th All-Star Game of the modern era.
Reprising last year’s win, the East walked away with a 3-2 victory in a very competitive contest that was highlighted by great pitching, spectacular defense and even a couple of long balls.
All Star fans estimated at more than 5000 filled Spillane Field
swilson / CCBL
The CCBL All-Star Game, broadcast live on National Public Radio stations of Cape Cod and the islands (WCAI 90.1 FM, WNAN 91.1 FM and WZAI 94.3 FM), will be telecast on New England Sports Network (NESN) Monday at 7 p.m.
Boston sportscaster Bob Neumeier and former New York Yankees and Seattle Mariners hurler and more recently Baltimore Orioles Executive VP Jim Beattie (Harwich ’74) will provide the commentary on NESN.
Under Armour made an impressive showing as the game’s new title-sponsor, providing several tents featuring merchandise and entertainment for spectators young and old. Commissioner Paul Galop pronounced the day a “rousing success.”
In the top of the first inning, starting pitcher Aaron Crow (Missouri) dazzled fans and scouts alike as he struck out the three batters he faced – Harwich’s Cole Figueroa (Florida) and Yarmouth-Dennis’s Collin Cowgill (Kentucky) swinging, and Brewster’s Yonder Alonso (Miami) looking. The Falmouth right-hander’s overpowering performance left a lasting impression on the 100-plus Major League scouts present, who later voted him the Under Armour Undeniable Player of the Game for the West.
Cotuit’s Reese Havens (South Carolina) got the first hit in the bottom half of the first, a line drive to the wall in right field. But thereafter, the bats remained silent until the fourth when the East scored its three runs on three hits.
East MVP: Dennis Raben, Orleans Cardinals (University of Miami)
with Todd Montesano (Under Armour, Director of Advertising) and
Bill Hampton (Under Armour, Director of Sports Marketing)
Y-D’s Gordon Beckham (Georgia) doubled Alonso home from first, took third on the throw to the plate and scored on a wild pitch for a 2-0 lead. Dennis Raben (Miami) of the Orleans Cardinals then produced what would prove to be the winning run when he homered to right field in front of the scoreboard. The same sweet swing that earned Raben third place in the Home Run Hitting Contest that preceded the game ultimately determined the game’s outcome.
“In this league, pitching is going to beat hitting most of the time,” Raben would say later. “We knew the pitchers were going to try to light up the radar guns, and we wanted to make something happen in the field.”
The West responded quickly in the home half of the fourth when Falmouth’s Matt Hague (Washington) reached on a fielder’s choice and raced home on a single to left by Bourne’s Ben Guez (William & Mary). In the sixth, James Darnell (South Carolina), a Hyannis Met, blasted a solo home run to right for the West’s other run.
West MVP: Aaron Crow
Falmouth Commodores (Missouri)
with Mike Cutting
(Under Armour, Brand Marketing Manager)
The pitchers from both divisions had things pretty much their way for the rest of the game, with Wareham right-hander Chris Hicks (Georgia Tech) striking out two in the eighth. Luke Burnett (Louisiana Tech) escaped a scare in the top of the ninth while trying to keep the game within reach for the West. With the bases loaded and one out, the big right-hander from Falmouth got the center-fielder from Brewster, Blake Tekotte (Miami) to hit a pop-fly to second base. After a dropped ball, a throw to second, and a good deal of confusion, the umpires recognized the infield fly rule and gave the West the two outs needed to get out of the inning.
Ryan Perry (Arizona), an Orleans Cardinal right-hander, earned the save as he sealed the deal for the East by retiring the three batters he faced in the ninth, striking out two.
ALL-STAR NOTES: The Under Armour Cape League All-Star Game is the signature event of the CCBL season, said Commissioner Galop. “This year exceeded all expectations,” Galop said, adding. “The volunteers were tremendous.” … After the game, Galop announced the two Under Armour Undeniable Players of the Game — Crow from the West and Raben from the East. Raben had just one hit, but it was the game-winning homer. He also walked and stole a base ... Attendance was estimated at more than 5,500, with a 50-50 raffle winner’s pot of more than $2,000 … A crew from the New England Sports Network taped the contest and, with the Red Sox enjoying a night off, NESN was scheduled to broadcast it on Monday, July 30, starting at 7 p.m. … Wareham first baseman Luke Murton (Georgia Tech) won the Home Run Hitting contest, following in the footsteps of his older brother, outfielder Matt Murton (Georgia Tech), now with the Chicago Cubs. Matt, who played at Wareham in 2001 and 2002, won the 2002 contest at Whitehouse Field in Harwich. Luke thrilled the home fans by hitting a total of 22 homers, including eight in the final round to edge defending champion Mitch Moreland (Mississippi State) of Bourne ... With more than 100 MLB scouts watching, the pressure was on for the All-Stars to perform at their best, but Raben, like many of the players, was unfazed. “Honestly, I feel more pressure playing in front of my family than the scouts,” he said.
By Adam McGillen, CCBL Intern [email protected]