08/15/2008 1:57 PM
15 August 2008
THIS WEEK IN THE CAPE LEAGUE
PA - SPORTSTICKER
PLAYOFF MVP AWARD
Harwich’s Fleury, Stidham Share
PA SportsTicker Star of Stars Award
As Co-MVPs of Cape League Playoffs
After mowing down the opposition
HARWICH, Mass. – The four words displayed across the scoreboard at Whitehouse Field before game two of the Cape Cod Baseball League’s Championship Series captured it all:
“On the grind, baby”
Those four words were the theme of the 2008 Harwich Mariners.
Marc Fleury and Jason Stidham selected Playoff co-MVP's
swilson / 2008
And while Jason Stidham (Florida State) and Marc Fleury (North Carolina) had to wait, by the time that same scoreboard read “2008 CCBL CHAMPS” at the end of Thursday night’s 2-1 victory, they were the ones capturing the essence of the Mariner motto, having just been named co-winners of the PA SportsTicker Star of Stars Playoff MVP award.
The word “grind” is often used in baseball to refer to the day-to-day, habitual and undoubtedly tiresome course a season’s schedule can take.
Besides that, it means to “oppress, torment or crush,” which is exactly what Stidham and Fleury did to the Cotuit Kettleers en route to a 2-0 series sweep and the Mariners’ first CCBL Championship in 21 years.
Jason Stidham dominated the offense at Cotuit.
Stidham dominated at the dish in Harwich’s 11-2 game one victory Wednesday at Lowell Park. Having batted just .155 in 31 games in the regular season, the Florida State product finished 3-for-3 with seven RBI.
He had a pair of two-run singles, a two-run triple and a sacrifice fly.
All with two outs.
All batting in the ninth slot in the lineup.
“It was great,” Stidham said. “I hadn’t been doing too great and then to step up in a game that was a championship game … I just give credit to the guys that got on base for me to drive in.”
Manager Steve Englert says Stidham epitomizes the makeup of the Mariners.
“He grinds it out every day and sticks with it,” Englert said of his second baseman.
While Stidham endured the wait of a whole season for his chance to explode offensively, Fleury waited eight innings Thursday night.
Mark Fluery hit a bases loaded walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth inning, driving in 2 RBI and leading the Harwich Mariners to the Championship win.
Fleury, who splits time catching with Tommy Medica (Santa Clara), was not in Thursday’s starting lineup. But with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth and the Mariners trailing, 1-0, Englert called upon the 200-pound lefty to deliver as a pinch hitter.
Fleury, who was 1-for-6 in the playoffs, including three strikeouts, smacked a Drew Storen (Stanford) pitch deep to center field.
It didn’t have the distance to go out, but it went far enough, falling in for a game-winning, walk-off, two-run double and setting off a wild celebration among players, coaches and most of the huge crowd of 6,133 that had tied up traffic for miles trying to get to the game.
“I like being in pressure situations,” Fleury said. “ I was jittery with my first swing (of the at-bat)… but I refocused and got back to it. I wasn’t in the starting lineup, but I got my chance.”
The Mariners, who lost seven of eight games before going on a seven-game winning streak to seize the CCBL title, bring it all back to those same four words.
“On the grind, baby.”
“That’s the Harwich Mariners for you,” Stidham said. “It’s what we do,” Fleury added.
The playoff co-MVPs sure captured that quickly enough.
Laura Rasmussen, CCBI Intern ([email protected])
Interns: Chris Blake, James Chandley, Ashley Crosby, Phil Garceau, Stefanie Marini, Laura Rasmussen