06/02/2006 3:22 PM
for immediate release: 2 June, 2006
Bourne Braves 2006 Season Preview
BOURNE, Mass. -- With great anticipation for a new state-of-the art-facility at Upper Cape Tech and after posting a strong end to the 2005 season by finishing as league runners-up, the Bourne Braves have set the bar high once again.
Going into his third year as general manager, Mike Carrier has taken a different strategy toward his recruiting process. With each team being allowed to sign 26 players prior to the season and eventually play with 23, Carrier and field manager Harvey Shapiro complemented each another’s expertise and recruited fewer players this season, leading them to focus on precision rather than volume. The collegiate season and each team’s success in the NCAA tournament will determine whether or not the Braves will come into the season with a full roster. Carrier, like most general managers, is fearful of possible injuries that could occur during or prior to the start of the season.
With its blend of few veterans and a strong number of newcomers, the Bourne Braves look to the season with high hopes. Veterans include RHP Andrew Carignan (North Carolina), who is impressively performing for the Tar Heels with a 1.75 ERA, and middle infielders Andy Goff (Wake Forest) and Brett Bartles (Duke), among others.
Following the leadership of Carignan, out of the bullpen will be a core number of talented pitchers including right-handers Bobby Bell (Rice), Thomas Farmer (Akron), Trevor Holder (Georgia), Ben Hunter (Wake Forest), Jared Koon (Mississippi State) and Mickey Storey (Florida Atlantic). Storey has been heavily relied upon during the regular season at Florida Atlantic, pitching 94 innings. Balancing the powerful right-handers will be lefties Mitch Moreland (Mississippi St.), Kyle Walker (Texas) and Mitch Houck (Central Florida). Walker has been dominant in his collegiate season, registering 37 strikeouts over a span of 31 innings.
Team USA has invited three Braves players to its annual tryout: RHP Austin Graham (Alabama), catcher Preston Clark (Texas) and shortstop Zack Cozart (Ole Miss). Based on regular season statistics, these three are considered to have excellent chances of making the team.
The catching duties will be occupied by Preston Paramore (Arizona State) while the corners will be covered by veteran third baseman Beau Mills (Fresno State) and infielder Cat Everett (Tulane). Complementing Bartles and Goff in the middle infield will be versatile player Matt Hall (Arizona State).
Using the 2005 season as a stepping stone, the Braves hope to begin the 2006 season as well as they ended last year.
With the incentive to skipper another championship-caliber team, Shapiro will look to his all-time wins list to provide comfort. Currently, Shapiro holds the eighth position and can overtake the seventh spot with a strong season by the Braves. Shapiro will be accompanied by his coaching staff, including Brian Pugh, John Keefe (Salve Regina) and Tim D’Aquila.
The most notable alumni and standouts of the Bourne Braves performing in the major leagues include Kevin Youkilis of the Boston Red Sox, Jerry Hairston of the Chicago Cubs and Mark Mulder of the St. Louis Cardinals. The Braves open their season at home on June 15.
Daniel Scalia, CCBL Intern [email protected]