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Cape League Season Under Way

06/18/2002 1:04 PM

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This week in Baseball
18 June 2002

Cape League Season Gets Under Way

COTUIT - When the rains ceased and the clouds finally cleared, the 2002 Cape League season brightened up the beginning of the week with the Cotuit Kettleers on the fast track for success.

Brewster Whitecaps' centerfielder Anthony Gwynn (San Diego State) snaps in versus the Hyannis Mets. The Mets ended up coming back for an 8-8 tie Monday night in 10 innings at McKeon Field. See story and more photos from the first week of the 2002 Cape League season.
Sean Walsh/CCBL 2002

     At 4-0 and with the league leaders in home runs, RBI, hits, team ERA (0.27), wins and strikeouts, it appeared that first year field manager Garrett Quinn had torn a page directly from prior field manager Mike Coutts' recipe book. In so doing, the Kettleers found themselves squarely in first place in the Western Division (as of Tuesday, June 18) and with a spirit perhaps borne from last year's late-season run of 9-1.

     Paving the way was Georgia Bulldog Lee Mitchell who clouted three home runs in just 15 at bats, had the league lead in RBI (6) and a very healthy .400 clip. Fellow Bulldog and Cotuit leadoff man Chaz Lytle was no slouch in the hitting department either, tied for first with teammate Mitchell (6). But if any team is going to have prolonged success during the Cape League's 44-game summer schedule, then pitching is key and pitching is precisely what Quinn's fiery corps brought to the table.

     Headed by Wake Forest's Ryan Braun (2-0, 0.00 ERA), Cotuit's mounsdmen found themselves head and shoulders above the remaining nine CCBL franchises with a collective team ERA of 0.27. The next best team ERA as of Tuesday was held by the Y-D Red Sox (1.44).

     Led by second-year outfielder Jon Kaplan (Tulane), however, Falmouth also remained undefeated in the Western Division at 2-0-1, falling in second place behind the boiling hot Kettleers. As of Tuesday, the speedy Kaplan remained atop the league with a .545 batting average. The top Falmouth pitchers through the Commodores' first three games were Chris Tracz (Marist, 1-0, 0.00 ERA) and Chris Gale (Virginia, 1-0, 2.57 ERA).

Hyannis Mets' righty Brian Wilson (LSU) bears down hard on the Brewster Whitecaps in the early innings.
Sean Walsh/CCBL 2002

     In the Eastern Division, Brewster found itself riding a wave in first place at 2-0-1, followed closely by the Chatham A's in second place at 1-0-1. The Whitecaps, also under the tutelage of a rookie Cape League helmsman in Dave Barnard (Williams), may have sat back a little bit against the upstart Hyannis Mets Monday night on the road, but nevertheless the 'Caps looked sharp.
Wielding some smooth leather in centerfield was Anthony Gwynn (San Diego State), but leading the way was Missouri outfielder Jayce Tingler who was tied for second in the league lead in batting (.500), followed close behind by William & Mary's Trey Wakefield (.400).

     In the pitching department, the Whitecaps were paced by duo righties Jeff Kamrath (Virginia, 1-0, 0.00 ERA) and Bryan Gale (Michigan State, 1-0, 0.00 ERA).

     A few clicks away at Veteran's Field, perennial powerhouse Chatham may have only gotten two games in due to foul weather, but 10th year field manager John Schiffner had his multitalented squad looking sharp already as the A's stood at 1-0-1 in second place behind Brewster.

Brad Scioletti (Wake Forest) of the Orleans Cardinals rips a single to left versus the Wareham Gatemen.
Sean Walsh/CCBL 2002

     Loaded with return players and potential CCBL all-stars, the A's Chad Orvella (UNC) was tops in hitting at .429 (6th in the league overall), while Baylor's Zane Carlson again showed how dangerous he can be picking up two Ks and a save as the closer against Wareham Tuesday night at Spillane Field. Carlson, one of the top relief men of 2001, may have gained some redemption against the defending league champions Wareham. It was Carlson who -- in spite of a stellar effort versus the Gatemen in the third game of the 2001 Championship series -- was on the mound for Chatham when it fell 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth with two outs.





Around the Horn 


     It's in the Genes -- Speaking of Brewster centerfielder Anthony Gwynn (San Diego State), the answer is "yes." Yes, Gwynn is the son of future Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn (San Diego Padres), and yes, Tony Gwynn Sr. is Anthony's Gwynn's head coach at San Diego State. Ironically, the stadium San Diego State plays in is named after the elder Gwynn.

Cotuit leadoff hitter Chaz Lytle (Georgia) was tied with the league lead in hits (6) through Tuesday.
Sean Walsh/CCBL 2002

     Is There a Pattern? -- Last season, it was the Bourne Braves at the top of the heap after 4 games, when the braves went 3-1, jumping out at 3-0 before falling to Orleans. Nevertheless, the Braves took it all the way to the playoff semifinals before giving way to eventual CCBL Champions, the Wareham Gatemen. Bourne was also led by a rookie field manager that year (Spencer Graham/VMI), who is now a scout with the Kansas City Royals.

     What Pattern? -- Last year, it was the Orleans Cardinals who jumped out at 3-1, finally succumbing to the Chatham A's. Interestingly, though, Orleans would eventually fall from grace and finish at 20-24, while Chatham pushed hard at the close of the season to finish in a tie for first place in the Eastern Division at 25-19 with the Y-D Red Sox, eventually sweeping the Sox in the semifinals.

     A Winning Tradition -- led by 10th year manager John Schiffner, the perennial league contending Chatham A's have history on their side. Usually stocked with return players of high caliber, Schiffner's troops have been in the playoffs every year since 1995 and were crowned CCBL Champions in 1992, 1996 and 1998. Incidentally, Schiffner leads all active field managers with wins, although he still has a way to go to catch up with all-time wins leader Don Reed (334).


Wareham Gatemen first baseman Josh Ford (Baylor) and pitcher Kevin Guyette (Georgia Tech) react to a Cotuit bunt at Cotuit's home opener.
Sean Walsh/CCBL 2002

Wareham Gatemen centerfielder Chris Durbin (Baylor) leads off the inning crushing one into the leftfield bleachers versus the Orleans Cardinals.
Sean Walsh/CCBL 2002



Cotuit's Mitch Stetter, a second-year hurler out of Indiana State, brings a nasty offering to the Wareham Gatemen.
Sean Walsh/CCBL 2002

Wareham Gatemen second baseman Jayme Dorr (Trinity) fields one cleanly versus Orleans.
Sean Walsh/CCBL 2002


Bourne Braves' catcher Alain Picard (Maine) fires one down to second in an attempt to nab the base stealer as Y-D return all-star Adam Bourassa (Wake Forest) awaits the result.
Sean Walsh/CCBL 2002


Wareham Gatemen rightfielder Dave Murphy (Baylor) slides safely home as Orleans Cardinals backstop Ryan Hanigan (Rollins) attempts to make the play.
Sean Walsh/CCBL 2002


Hyannis Mets first baseman Logan Sorenson (Wichita State) flips it to Mets' relief pitcher Ryan Dixon (Miami) too late to catch Brewster Whitecaps' Jayce Tingler (Missouri).
Sean Walsh/CCBL 2002


Cotuit's Chaz Lytle (Georgia) leads his fellow Kettleers in a moment of solemnity before snapping into the 2002 season and a 4-0 start.
Sean Walsh/CCBL 2002


Brewster leadoff man Jayce Tingler (Missouri) pulls back on an attempted bunt versus Hyannis.
Sean Walsh/CCBL 2002


Wareham southpaw Dave Sanders (Wichita State) delivers versus the Orleans Cardinals on Father's Day at Clem Spillane Field.
Sean Walsh/CCBL 2002


Arizona State's Rodney Allen (Orleans) takes a sweet, smooth cut versus the Wareham Gatemen.
Sean Walsh/CCBL 2002

Bourne's Brian Lipman (Troy State) rips one to the opposite field versus the Y-D Red Sox at Coady Field.
Sean Walsh/CCBL 2002


Orleans Cardinals outfielder Dave Coffey (Georgia) rips one deep but too high versus Wareham.
Sean Walsh/CCBL 2002


Hyannis Mets' Ben Harrison (Florida) takes a mighty hack at one versus Brewster.
Sean Walsh/CCBL 2002

-- Sean Walsh