07/15/2007 2:35 PM
THIS WEEK IN THE CAPE LEAGUE
(7 July – 13 July 2007)
Coca Cola Pitcher and Player of the Week
COCA COLA PITCHER OF THE WEEK
Bryce Stowell (Cal Irvine) of the Hyannis Mets was chosen as Coca-Cola Pitcher of the Week for his dominant performance in a 3-0 shutout victory Wednesday over the Chatham A’s. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound right-hander earned his first win of the season by going seven shutout innings against Chatham. He showed excellent command as he struck out eight batters while walking one and allowing just three singles.
COCA COLA PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Falmouth third baseman Conor Gillaspie (Wichita State) earned this week’s Coca-Cola Player of the Week honors by helping his Commodores win five of six games and improve to 13-13 for the season, good for second place in the West Division. Gillaspie went 9-for-18, slugging at .833. Included were a home run, a triple and a double. His biggest game of the week came Saturday against Chatham when he stroked a two-run blast in the bottom of the third. Those RBI proved to be the winning runs as Falmouth went on to beat the A’s, 4-2. Gillaspie had three RBI during the week, scored four times himself and stole a base.
Temporary Players No Longer: Perry, Satin,
Guez Win Permanent Roster Spots with Bourne
BOURNE, Mass. -- Bill Perry (Hartford), Josh Satin (California-Berkeley) and Ben Guez (William & Mary) are breathing a little easier now. The Cape Cod Baseball League’s July 3 deadline for final rosters has come and gone and the three players have shaken off their ‘temporary’ labels and found a home on the Cape.
With several of their highly recruited teammates sidelined with injuries, these three unsigned players carried the Braves through the injury spell and earned themselves permanent spots on the Bourne roster.
Bourne field manager Harvey Shapiro signed six temporary players -- the most he has ever taken -- and has managed to roll with the triple punches of Team USA, injuries and the Major League Baseball draft that so often wreak havoc on recruited rosters.
“Sometimes, you look at a guy and you say, ‘How come he wasn’t picked up by another team, if he’s really that good?’ So you’re always a little hesitant,” Shapiro said. “But there are a lot of reasons a guy goes unsigned and we’re happy with the six we’ve taken. If it was that easy to figure out what guys are going to do when they get up here, everyone would have success in this league.”
Home is where the heart is, and in Perry’s case, his heart is right at home. The East Falmouth native and Falmouth High graduate is back on the Cape and is heating up faster than the Midwest in July. After a solid, though not explosive, first two weeks of the season, Perry seems to have found his sweet spot at the plate. Through last Friday, he was hitting .342 in July, and had racked up seven RBI, compared to a .267 average in limited playing time in June. Perry has become a roving fixture in the Braves’ batting order, moving from the two-spot down to the fifth, sixth and eighth slots.
Much has been asked of this Cape Cod native, an All-State selection as a senior in high school and a two-time Old Colony League pick. With several of Bourne’s big guns out with injuries, including starting third baseman Kevin Hoef (Iowa), the opportunity was there for Perry to step up big. He moved from second base to split time with Addison Maruszak (South Florida) at the hot corner (where he was a starter for the Hawks this year) and came up with several big hits, including a walk-off home run that lifted the Braves over Orleans on July 7.
While he is primarily a for-average hitter, Perry possesses a powerful swing that earned him 25 RBI and a .518 slugging percentage in Hartford this past spring. He has two home runs to go with his 12 runs scored.
“The biggest difference here is the pitching,” Perry said. “Every night, you’re facing a college team’s No. 1 or No. 2, and it can be intimidating at first. But it’s still just about doing the same things.”
While Perry is back in familiar territory, teammate Josh Satin finds himself far from home. The Calabasas, Calif., native, isn’t new to the Cape, however; he was an all-star first baseman last season with Orleans. Playing at the other end of the peninsula this season with Bourne, Satin was hitting .275 through Friday with a team-leading three home runs. His 18 RBI were good for third on the team and fourth in the league, and when he is not playing first base, he has lent his bat to the Braves’ powerful lineup as the designated hitter.
Guez may be the Braves’ biggest surprise. After hitting .270 with a mediocre William & Mary squad in the spring, Guez has bumped up his statistics in the face of the Cape League competition and made a name for himself as a legitimate five-tool player. He can hit for average (.276 at week’s end) and does well in the leadoff spot, and his 35 total bases included two home runs, a triple and three doubles. His speed gave him a team-best seven stolen bases and a boost in the outfield, where he committed just one error in 23 starts.
Jordan Flasher (George Mason) and T.J. Hose (East Carolina) are two other temporary players to make the final roster.
With the loss of Cody Satterwhite (Mississippi) to Team USA, the Braves entered the season in need of a closer, and Flasher, the go-to closer at George Mason (14 saves in 28 appearances and a team-low 2.84 ERA), stepped into the role. He has been solid late in the game, with four saves and a 1.87 ERA in 14.2 innings.
Hose was named the CCBL Pitcher of the Week on June 24, with eight strikeouts and no earned runs in two appearances. He has since taken the mound three more times for the Braves, and was tied for the best ERA in the league, at 0.42 over 21-1/3 innings.
This story plays itself out every year all around the Cape League, as unsigned players arrive in June, knowing that the next four weeks may be the biggest break of their careers.
“It’s such an experience,” Perry said. “Playing every night against this kind of competition, where you know one in six of these guys you’re playing with and playing against is gong pro. Who wouldn’t want to be here?”
And with a month of solid baseball under their belts and a permanent roster spot to prove it, six new Braves get to stay. Liz Hoffman, CCBL intern ([email protected])
Cotuit’s Pitchers Continue to Struggle;
Kettleers Lead Cape League in Stolen Bases
COTUIT, Mass. -- The Cotuit Kettleers stumbled on their way to the top in the Cape Cod Baseball League’s West Division this past week, losing four of six games and slipping to an 11-11 record.
Cotuit started the week with a three-game losing streak against Wareham, Chatham and Falmouth before getting back on track with a July 10 victory over the Brewster Whitecaps. The Kettleers then gained a measure of revenge against Wareham on July 11 with a 7-4 victory, but fell the next night to Orleans, 10-6.
Despite the 2-4 stretch, manager Mike Roberts’s squad found itself tied for second place with resurgent Falmouth in the West Division, six points behind pacesetting Bourne, at week’s end.
Cotuit’s last-in-the-league pitching staff continued to struggle. Through games of July 12, the Kettleers had a staff ERA of 5.43 and had allowed more hits (243), walks (123) and home runs (16) than any team in the 10-team league. The Kettleers were forced to use five pitchers in a single game twice last week, which does not leave a lot of recovery time for the pitchers in rotation.
The Kettleers did receive an outstanding pitching performance from sophomore Brian Wilson (Loyola Marymount) against Chatham on July 8. Wilson relieved starter Ryan Strauss (Florida State) in the 5th inning and pitched hitless baseball the rest of the way while striking out three.
At the plate, Cotuit remained in the middle of the pack. Its .254 team batting average ranked fifth.
In last week’s six games, the Kettleers averaged more than seven hits and 4.5 runs per game, with Ryne White (Purdue) continuing among the CCBL batting leaders with a .379 average to rank second in the league. Teammate Robert Stock (Southern California) had collected 14 RBI and was batting .245.
A major bright spot for Cotuit was its speed afoot, reflected by the team’s league-leading total of 44 stolen bases. Tied with nine stolen bases apiece were Cotuit’s Mike Bianucci (Auburn) and Josh Harrison (Cincinnati), who shared the top spot with Falmouth’s Aja Barto (Tulane). Erica Bailey, CCBL intern ([email protected])
Falmouth Climbs into Second-Place Tie in West
After Impressive Wins over Bourne and Cotuit
FALMOUTH, Mass. – Two victories over division-leading Bourne moved Falmouth into a second-place tie in the Cape Cod Baseball League’s West Division and brightened the Commodores’ hopes for postseason play. Manager Jeff Trundy and his squad beat the first-place Braves, 4-3, on July 6 and pulled out a 2-1 win on July 11.
The Commodores also posted a convincing 7-3 win over No. 2 Cotuit on July 9 and a victory over Hyannis on July 12. At week’s end, the resurgent Commodores found themselves locked in a second-place tie with Cotuit.
Falmouth looked as if it finally found the right balance of offense and defense in the July 6 game against Bourne, combining solid pitching and clutch hitting to pull out the 4-3 victory. Falmouth starter Kyle Gibson (Missouri) gave up two runs in five innings and struck out eight. Gibson ranked third in the league with a 0.96 ERA and had struck out 30.
Teammates David Adams (Virginia) and Conor Gillaspie (Wichita State) were the offensive stars with three of the team’s seven hits. Gillaspie went 2-for-4 and drove in all three runs with a double and a home run, while Adams smashed a lead-off triple in the sixth inning.
The Commodores were again anchored by their pitching staff in the July 11 game against Bourne as starter Aaron Crow (Missouri) worked six innings, fanning five. Crow was leading the league with a 0.42 ERA.
Falmouth sealed the victory when it scored its only two runs in the fourth inning thanks to a throwing error and a fielder’s choice ground ball.
Shooter Hunt (Tulane) was on the mound for Falmouth’s match-up against Cotuit on July 9. The 6-foot, 3-inch right-hander breezed through the Kettleers’ lineup, striking out 11 in six innings. Hunt had struck out 31 batters in 20 innings of work.
The bats started to come around for the Commodores during the third inning when back-to-back singles by Gillaspie and Matt Hague (Washington) sparked a five-hit, four-run Commodore outburst.
Falmouth is hoping its upward movement in the standings will continue this week, a likely occurrence if the Commodores can get their offensive game on track. Falmouth ranked seventh in the CCBLwith a team batting average of .235. Commodore pitchers also ranked seventh, but with a respectable 3.97 staff ERA and a league-leading total of 247 strikeouts. Erica Bailey, CCBL intern ([email protected])
Hyannis Mets Prove to be Winners
Both on the Field and with Their Fans
HYANNIS, Mass. -- One of the biggest highlights for the Hyannis Mets wasn’t a diving catch, a walk-off hit or a blast over the outfield wall -- although all those events did take place – for the Mets. Instead, it was hosting the Challengers Club Day at McKeon Park last Wednesday.
The Challengers Club is an organization that gives disabled Cape Cod kids of all ages an opportunity to take part in sports such as soccer, bowling, karate and, of course, baseball in the spring and early summer. When Laurie Pfiefer, game day coordinator for Hyannis, heard about the club from an intern, she quickly contacted the organization and invited them to come and interact with the Mets’ players.
“We like to do some community service and outreach with our players whenever we can,” said Pfeifer, who arranged for Challengers members to watch batting practice, get autographs from all the players and take their favorite position on the field for the playing of the National Anthem. And, perhaps best of all, they all received free ice cream!
Not only did the Challengers Club members walk away with memories they won’t soon forget, so did the Mets players.
“It was an honor to for us to make them smile and have a great day. It was just a great experience. They’re wonderful and they make my day so good,” said third baseman James Darnell (South Carolina), who also volunteered with the Challengers Club through his high school baseball team. Darnell’s thoughts were echoed by Mets manager Greg King, who referred to the Challengers members as “some of the most passionate, polite, loving people you will ever meet.”
“Getting to interact with them, that’s just awesome,” said King. “ We’ve been hovering right around .500 and hearing a lot about slumps and not swinging the bats, but when you see these kids that came tonight -- they just love life, and they don’t realize how special they make us feel -- they just bring you back down to reality.”
The day would only get better for the Mets as Hyannis shut out the Chatham A’s, 3-0, Wednesday. Bryce Stowell (Cal Irvine) pitched seven innings, giving up just three hits, to earn his first win of the season. Darnell, shortstop Ryan Jackson (Miami), and centerfielder David Macias (Vanderbilt) all drove in runs.
A day earlier, the Mets did something they had been struggling to do all season: come back from a deficit late in the game. The Mets were losers of three in a row and trailed Orleans, 3-1, when the game, which had been suspended because of inclement weather on Friday, resumed in the bottom of the fourth. Thanks to a Phil Bell (Alabama-Birmingham) RBI in the bottom of the ninth, the game went into extra innings. The Mets finally prevailed when Darnell drove in Joey Gonzales (California-Riverside) with a single in the 12th inning for a 4-3 walk-off victory.
“We’re always getting ourselves in a hole, and we got ourselves in a hole again, but it was nice to see that we could come back, which we hadn’t been doing. Coming to the ballpark yesterday and today, there was just a different feeling,” said King on Wednesday.
The Mets lost to the Falmouth Commodores on Thursday and to Wareham on Friday, but as the week ended, they remained only four points out of second place in the Cape Cod Baseball League’s West Division with a record of 9-14-2. Kevin Wolfe, CCBL intern ([email protected])
Pitching, Catching Strength Keeps
Optimism Alive Among Wareham Gatemen
WAREHAM, Mass. — While the Wareham Gatemen are still waiting for the pieces to fall into place, they have one backbone of consistency this season, and it runs the 60 feet, 6 inches between the pitcher’s mound and home plate.
Wareham’s starting pitching has been its strength, and the two mens on the receiving end of those pitches, both of whom gained permanent roster spots last week, have a lot to do with it.
Wareham hurlers shut down the Cape Cod Baseball League’s two most potent offenses last week with a 7-0 win over Yarmouth-Dennis, the top team in the East, on Sunday and a 3-1 victory in a pitcher’s duel with Bourne, the West Division leader. At week’s end, the Gatemen were fourth in the league in pitching with a team ERA of 3.19 and had actually given up fewer hits than the three teams ahead of them, whose combined winning percentage was .623.
“The quality of our starting pitching has been good; we are getting out of them what we had hoped we would get out of them,” general manager John Wylde said. “[Pitching coach] Ryan Beggs does a very good job with our pitching staff. He’s friendly and easy to work with, and I think all of our pitchers over the seven years he’s been here have felt that way.”
Two Gatemen hurlers have been recognized by the league, and have made themselves strong all-star candidates. Left-hander Wade Miley (Southeastern Louisiana) secured his roster spot quickly when he was chosen the first Pitcher of the Week on June 18. He has thrown two complete games and was second in the league in strikeouts through last Friday, with 38. He had been first on that list until left-hander Andy Oliver (Oklahoma State) fanned six Mets in Wareham’s 3-2 win over Hyannis on Friday. Oliver caught the league’s eye, and its weekly pitching nod, for the week of June 25-July 6, during which he gave up just two hits in 15 shutout innings. His 1.69 ERA put him comfortably in the top 10 in the league.
Right-hander Kendal Volz (Baylor) fell to 0-3 in his first three starts, but made a big stride last week. He became the first Cape League pitcher to throw a complete-game shutout when he blanked Y-D on July 8.
Left-hander Jeremy Bleich (Stanford), back for his second year with Wareham, had a disappointing spring season with the Cardinals, but seems to have found his groove again on the Cape. After a mediocre debut win over Hyannis and a rough outing against Bourne on July 4, Bleich was much like his 2006 self in his start last Monday. He settled down in the third and retired 15 of the next 17 batters he faced, seven on strikeouts, as Wareham posted a huge win over West-leading Bourne at home.
“Jeremy did not have the spring he wanted at Stanford, and at the start of the game against Bourne you could see in his face, it was like ‘here we go again’,” Wylde said. “Then, all of a sudden, he was cruising. If that’s the Jeremy we’re going to see the rest of the summer, we’re going to be in very good shape. That’s the way he pitched last year for us. His whole pace picked up; he was catching the ball from the catcher and throwing it right back, and that helps out a team defensively, when everyone can stay focused on the pitch.”
Oliver, Volz and Dallas Keuchel (Arkansas) are all coming off their freshman year and into their rookie season on the Cape. For Wylde, that means they have a lot to learn.
“For freshmen, pitching on the Cape is, in a sense, uplifting,” Wylde said. “They’re pitching to wood, and there is a lot they can learn that they can carry back to their teams and forward in their professional careers. They learn that they can use the whole plate, they can throw hard on the inside and not regret it, and that’s something our boys are doing well, especially the young guys.”
On the receiving end of those arms are a pair of catchers, both rookies but separated by two years in age. Bryan Garrity, a rising senior at Massachusetts, and Josh Phegley, who just finished his freshman season at Indiana, are splitting time behind the plate for the Gatemen. Both are pleasant and productive surprises from this year’s crop of temporary players. After Robert Lara (Louisiana State) and Buddy Munroe (Clemson) withdrew from the roster, two spots opened behind the plate and Phegley and Garrity have parlayed those openings into contracts for the summer.
“Our catchers have been really big,” Farris said. “Neither of them was on the original roster, and they’ve been a nice surprise for us. They’re working hard and it’s showing.”
“People will look at a catcher’s passed balls, but passed balls and wild pitches are in the eye of the scorer,” said Wylde, the league’s statistician and a true sabermetrician. “You have to look at the total number of balls that got by these boys, and neither Josh nor Bryan has let many by them.” “You also have to look at how many times people try to steal on these catchers,” he continued. “People around the league are starting to see that maybe these aren’t good guys to run on.”
Hyannis, for one, will be more cautious against Phegley, who threw out four Mets in a 4-3 Wareham win on June 30. Phegley has caught 13 runners stealing this season, and Garrity has nabbed nine.
Phegley is that rarest and most coveted of breeds: a true hitting catcher. From his heroics in the Gatemen’s opening-day, ninth-inning win over Falmouth through this week, Phegley has proven himself to be an asset at the plate as well as behind it. He finished the week hitting a team-best .315 with five doubles and only nine strikeouts in 51 at-bats.
“The thing that so impressed us about Josh is that when he came in here, he had a couple of adjustments hitting-wise that he absolutely had to make,” Wylde said. “He went right to work on that for the first week he was here and has carried that right onto the field.”
The Gatemen’s hitting remains streaky and their defense has been far from impenetrable. But until the rest of the pieces fall into place — and Wylde and field manager Cooper Farris are confident they will, preferably before the team is eliminated from the postseason — the Gatemen’s strength on the mound and behind the plate figures to keep them in the hunt. Liz Hoffman, CCBL intern ([email protected])
Brewster Ends Rollercoaster-Ride Week:
Whitecaps Win Two, Lose Two, Tie One
BREWSTER, Mass. – It was a rollercoaster ride for the Brewster Whitecaps last week in the Cape Cod Baseball League as they finished the week with two wins, two losses and a tie.
Brewster opened the week with a 4-3 win over Chatham in a weather-shortened six-inning game. Yonder Alonso (Miami) had two hits in two at-bats for Brewster and scored twice. Right-hander Lee Land (North Carolina-Greensboro) picked up the win, throwing a shutout sixth inning.
The Whitecaps came out flat in a 7-3 loss to Cotuit on Tuesday. Cotuit jumped out early and scored seven unanswered runs. Alonso continued his hot hitting for Brewster as he collected two more hits and an RBI. Right-hander Brad Kledzick (Wake Forest) had a rough outing, giving up six earned runs in 5-1/3 innings.
On Wednesday Brewster and Harwich played to a 3-3 tie through eight innings. Tavo Hall (San Francisco), the Brewster second baseman, went 2-for-4 at the plate with an RBI and a run scored. Right-hander Ryan Cook (Arizona) turned in a quality start, going six innings and allowing all three runs. Southpaw Ben Hornbeck (Kansas State) relieved Cook and pitched two shutout innings before the game was called because of inclement weather.
The Whitecaps bounced back on Thursday and took out their frustrations on the Wareham Gatemen. 8-2. Hall collected two more hits and Blake Tekotte (Miami), the Whitecaps’ leadoff man, had two hits and two RBI. Charlie Cutler (California) went 2-for-2 with an RBI and a run scored.
Starter Matt Couch (San Diego) pitched six strong innings and Land threw three shutout innings of relief to pick up his fourth save of the season.
The rollercoaster ride was all downhill from there as Brewster came out slow against Orleans and were held to just two hits in a 9-0 romp by the Cardinals.
The lone bright spot for Brewster was second baseman Danny Lima (Tennessee), who had both Brewster hits. Starter Mike Colla (Arizona) suffered his first loss of the season. John Hannemann, CCBL intern ([email protected])
Chatham’s Seager Finds Competition
Tougher in CCBL than in College World Series
CHATHAM, Mass. -- Chatham A’s Infielder Kyle Seager (North Carolina) had a few options when it came to picking a sport. After trying his skills in basketball, soccer and baseball, it became clear to Seager that baseball was his passion.
“I stopped playing soccer when I was younger, and I wasn’t really that good at basketball,” Seager said. “Baseball was the only sport that I was all right at.”
“All right” hardly describes Seager’s abilities. Seager has proven to be instrumental at bat (.267 average) and in the field for Chatham. Having come to the Cape Cod Baseball League from the College World Series in Omaha, Seager is looking to finally kick back and enjoy playing baseball.
“Playing here is so much more relaxing,” said Seager. “You just come here and you have a great time playing ball. At Carolina, it was real stressful. You were representing your school and your coaches, and you were working really hard to win.”
Seager said that the transition from Omaha to the Cape League has been for the better. When playing in the College World Series, Seager said, even the size of the crowds was stressful.
He quickly added, however, that he finds the level of play in the CCBL more difficult than in the College World Series. “It’s a lot harder here,” the 6-1, 185-pound infielder observed. “You are facing the best pitchers in the country, and the best players in the country. This is like a big all-star game every time you come out.”
But the quality of the competition is exactly what attracted Seager to Cape Cod. Just receiving an invitation to play in the Cape League was exciting, he said, but being asked to play at Chatham was even better.
“The Cape is probably the best league to play in for summer ball,” said Seager. “Just getting invited up here was a really big thrill. There is really no other place you’d rather go, and the Chatham A’s are probably the most well-known summer team in the country.”
Seager said he did have some reservations about coming to the Cape League. He was a bit concerned about living with a host family he did not know. But, he said, he quickly discovered that this experience was another enjoyable aspect of being a Cape League player.
“My host mom is really nice,” Seager said. “Her son is a good guy, too. He’s our bat boy.”
Another plus to playing in the Cape League, said Seager, has been making new friends with teammates he had never met previously or had seen only in games he watched on television. He said this kept A’s players busy trading school T-shirts with one another.
Next home game for Seager and the A’s will be against the Hyannis Mets at Veterans Field Thursday starting at 7 p.m. Gabriella Remington, CCBL intern ([email protected])
Harwich’s Heroics in Late Innings
Keep Mariners in Playoff Contention
HARWICH, Mass. -- After getting off to a cold start in the Cape Cod Baseball League, the Harwich Mariners have turned up the heat the past couple of weeks by playing competitive baseball, being in every game and winning in dramatic fashion.
Last Sunday night, Harwich faced Falmouth and Steve Strausbaugh (Western Carolina) was the hero. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Strausbaugh laced a single to right to drive in Kyle Day (Michigan State) from second base and give the Mariners a 4-3 win.
“We have been playing very competitive baseball the past seven or eight days,” said third baseman J.T. Wise (Oklahoma).
After a tough loss to Yarmouth-Dennis on Monday and a day off on Tuesday, the Mariners made the short trip to Brewster, where they played the Whitecaps to a 3-3 tie in a rain-shortened the game.
Once again, it was a Harwich comeback that salvaged one point in the standings for the Mariners. Trailing early, Harwich rallied for two runs in the fourth and one in the sixth to earn the tie. Right-hander Josh Zeid (Tulane) and lefty Evan Crawford (Auburn) combined for eight effective innings on the mound, while Wise and Cole Figeroa (Florida) collected three hits each.
Another come-from-behind bid fell just short Thursday night in Bourne against the red-hot Braves. In a nail-biter, the Mariners lost, 4-3, in the ninth inning.
Harwich was down, 3-0, but tied the score with a three-run rally in in the fifth. A throwing error led to a costly -- and decisive -- unearned run in the ninth inning. Right-handers Dan Hudson (Old Dominion) and Danny Farquhar (Louisiana-Lafayette) pitched very well for Harwich.
The Mariners returned home on Friday to face Cotuit, the second-place team in the West, and staged another late-inning rally which sent the Kettleers home on the short end of a 5-4 score.
Cotuit led, 4-1, until the seventh when Harwich’s Jared Bolden (Virginia Commonwealth) took charge. Bolden walked and stole second. Then, as he attempted to steal third, the ball was thrown into the outfield and he raced home to make it 4-2.
Harwich’s late-inning heroics continued in the eighth. Wise drove in Strausbaugh and pinch runner Terrence Dayleg (Western Kentucky) on a laser double to left field to knot the score at 4-4. In the top of the ninth, catcher J.B. Paxson (Western Kentucky) gunned down his second runner of the game to keep the game tied.
In the home half of the ninth, Day led off with a double down the left field line. After two failed attempts to advance the runner to third, Dayleg, who had been held hitless in nine games, slammed the third pitch of his at-bat up the middle, scoring Day from second and giving Harwich its second walk-off win of the week, 5-4.
Southpaw Corey Young (Seton Hall) pitched eight strong innings and righty Mark Willinsky (Santa Clara) picked up the win with an inning of shutout relief. John Hannemann, CCBL intern ([email protected])
Orleans Pitcher Schwimer Is Adjusting
Nicely to Cape League, New Role as Starter
ORLEANS, Mass. – Orleans Cardinals pitcher Michael Schwimer (Virginia) started playing baseball at the age of 4. Seventeen years later, baseball remains his passion.
“I started playing baseball probably because my dad loved the game,” said Schwimer. “I’ve been playing sports my whole life. There is even home movie footage of me hitting balls off of a tee when I was 4.”
After turning down an invitation to play in the Cape League last season, Schwimer was finally given the go-ahead by his college coach to pitch this summer for the Cardinals, and like all newcomers, he is finding that adjustments must be made to achieve success in the CCBL.
“One of the biggest differences is the wood bat,” he said. “You can pitch a lot more inside and instead of getting jam-shots that fall for singles -- which you do in college -- up here it’s a broken bat or a ground ball and an out.”
Schwimer said he has found that pitching in a wooden bat league has accentuated his strong points because he is less likely to be hurt by a lucky swing.
“I throw a sinker, and I can’t really throw it that much in college because hitters with metal bats can still get a piece of it,” the 6-7, 210-pound right-hander explained. “Up here, if you miss the throw by a little bit, it’s still a routine ground ball. So I’ve been able to throw it and I’m having a lot more success with it.”
Wooden bats are not the only difference Schwimer has found. Living with a host family can be one of the biggest adjustments a player has to make when coming from a college dorm. But, he said, the transition has been seamless. Schwimer, who rooms with teammate Brandon Crawford (UCLA), said it has been “a great experience,” especially being able to eat the “great food” prepared by his host mom.
“She does a good job,” Schwimer said. “She asks us what we like, and she even makes Caesar salad because I told her I liked Caesar salad.”
Schwimer has also had to adjust to a complete roster of new teammates, as only one other player from UVA is playing for the Cardinals.
“It was interesting at first because people weren’t sure about everybody,” said Schwimer. “Now everyone is really close with everybody else. You just mess around and joke around with everybody. It’s really great. It’s just like being on a team back home.”
Schwimer said he has become comfortable enough with his Cardinal teammates to joke around with them. He observed that there are quite a few “characters” on this Orleans team, but that makes it even more enjoyable.
“I love these guys … I think it’s a great team,” he said.
One of the biggest benefits to Schwimer, other than the great exposure, is getting to spend the summer in the middle of one of America’s great vacation destinations.
“I think the best word for me to describe it is just relaxing,” he said. “It’s just a really relaxing place. I’ve been doing a lot of reading … I’m on my third book of the summer.”
Schwimer is adjusting nicely to a new role with the Cardinals. Although he pitched exclusively in relief during his first three seasons at UVA, he has been an integral part of the Orleans starting rotation. At week’s end, he had compiled a 2-1 record and a 3.26 earned run average in his four starts for the Cardinals. Gabriella Remington, CCBL intern ([email protected]
Generosity of Locals Keeps Red Sox
Players Housed, Happy and Winners
SOUTH YARMOUTH, Mass. -- With players coming from around the country and having limited time to earn money from a job, one of the key components to the Cape Cod Baseball League is having a place for these college athletes to stay. Enter host families, the people who open their homes to complete strangers for an entire summer and make strangers feel like part of the family.
“They’re awesome,” said outfielder Aaron Luna (Rice) of the couple which is putting him up for the summer. “They just let me have my own freedom and bend over backwards to make my stay a little bit easier. And they get my favorite food.”
Not only do the families try to make the players feel welcome, the players try to fit in with the family as much as possible as well.
“They have two kids, 15 and 13, and I try to go to their hockey games whenever possible, I had never been to a hockey game,” said Joey Railey (San Francisco), who is living with the family that hosted his college roommate last summer. “Also, one thing that I think is pretty cool, my host dad and I have breakfast together every morning because he always eats breakfast alone since nobody else in the house is up early enough to eat with him.”
With their living accommodations cared for, the players are able to focus on winning baseball games, and that’s just what the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox did this past week, taking three of four games before losing to Chatham two nights in a row to close out the week. A 9-4 victory over Falmouth on Saturday provided a solid start as Luna had two RBI, including a solo home run, to lead the offense. Coastal Carolina teammates Bobby Gagg and David Anderson both pitched four plus innings with reliever Anderson collecting the win.
On Sunday, the Red Sox were surprised by Wareham, but they resumed their winning ways on Monday, beating Harwich, 6-2. The players enjoyed a day of rest on Tuesday, then added the Orleans Cardinals to their list of victims with a 5-4 victory on Wednesday.
Despite falling behind early, Chatham hung tough and came back to earn a 12-11 victory on Thursday. Eddie Burns (Georgia Tech) pitched 5-2/3 innings for the Red Sox, allowing just one earned run, but the A’s nicked Nick Cassevechia (Baylor) for the first two runs he had given up in 16-2/3 innings pitched.
The Red Sox couldn’t capitalize on home runs by second baseman Grant Green (Southern California), catcher Jason Castro (Stanford) and first baseman Luke Stewart (Georgia) on Friday as they lost again to the A’s, 11-5. Despite the rough finish to the week, Y-D continued to hold the best record in the league -- 17-7-1 -- and remained on top in the East Division. Kevin Wolfe, CCBL intern ([email protected])
WCAI AND NESN TO CARRY CCBL ALL-STAR GAME
WAREHAM, Mass. -- The 45th edition of the Cape Cod Baseball League All-Star Game, presented by the leading banks of Cape Cod at Clem Spillane Field in Wareham, will be broadcast live on WCAI, the Cape and Islands NPR stations and also televised on a delayed basis by NESN, the New England Sports Network.
Legendary broadcaster Fred Cusick, longtime radio and TV voice of the Boston Bruins and the CCBL’s Game of the Week commentator on WBZ1030.com, will provide play-by-play on WCAI, while John Garner of the Cape League will do color commentary along with Sam Eshelman, voice of the Wareham Gatemen.
Mindy Todd of WCAI’s “The Point” and reporter Henry Rome will do live interviews between innings.
Veteran Boston-area broadcaster Bob Neumeier will provide play-by-play of the CCBL All-Star Game for NESN, while former New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Jim Beattie, who played for the Harwich Mariners in 1974 and more recently served as Executive VP of the Baltimore Orioles, will do color commentary.
The telecast on NESN will be shown on Monday, July 30, at 7 p.m., during the regular time slot of the Boston Red Sox, who are off that day.
The Cape and Islands NPR stations, WCAI 90.1fm, WNAN 91.1fm and WZAI 94.3fm, are listener-supported public radio stations serving Cape Cod, Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard and the South Coast. Founded by local residents, the stations are a service of WGBH Radio. They strive to celebrate the uniqueness of the communities they serve while discussing common issues.
As a service of the WGBH Educational Foundation, the Cape and Islands NPR stations promote general education by offering television, radio and other programs and services that inform, inspire, and entertain to people of all ages, origins, and beliefs.
The All-Star radio broadcast will also be available on the Internet by going to the CCBL Web site, www.capecodbaseball.org, or to www.gatemen.org for the feed provided by Cape.Com.
NESN is a regional cable television network that covers all six New England states. In New England, DirecTV carries it on channel 623 (with channel 623 for HD). Comcast, in the city of Boston, has NESN on channel 13, with NESN HD on channel 851. NESN can be found on channel 51 by Comcast subscribers on Cape Cod.
The Boston Red Sox are co-founder and majority owner (80 percent) of NESN, with the Boston Bruins owning the remaining 20 percent. NESN carries Boston Red Sox and Boston Bruins games and also features college sports, fishing and hunting shows, and sports talk shows.
USA World Events, a sports marketing and events management company, has partnered with the CCBL and helped to bring NESN into the fold.
“We’re very excited about working with the Cape League for the All-Star Game and several other events down the road,” said USA World Events President Tom Souza. “This is a unique opportunity and we hope to make a positive impact with the league.”
LEADING BANKS: For the fifth straight year, the Cape Cod Baseball League All-Star Game will be presented by the leading banks of Cape Cod, including Bank of America, TD Banknorth and Eastern Bank. Also supporting this mid-season classic are Cape Cod Five Cents Saving Bank, Cape Cod Cooperative Bank and Citizens Bank. In the non-banking category, Mid-Cape Home Centers and Merrill Lynch are also sponsors of the event.
"We are very grateful to have the banking community rally around the Cape League to support this very exciting event" said League president, Judy Walden Scarafile. "We expect a crowd of at least 5,000, so we will have a great opportunity to show off this wonderful partnership with the banks and other sponsors."
The game will take place in Wareham on Saturday, July 28, starting at 6 p.m. Many pre-game festivities are planned, including the Baseball Express Home Run Hitting Contest.
TURN ON THE LIGHTS … THE PARTY IS JUST BEGINNING: Keyspan Awards Nights at Cape League ballparks include: at Falmouth, July 18 at 7 p.m.; at Yarmouth-Dennis, July 19 at 5; at Chatham, July 19 at 7; and at Harwich, July 30 at 7.
WHO’S HOT … AND WHO’S NOT: Back from a high ankle sprain, Kevin Hoef (Iowa) of the Bourne Braves was still leading the CCBL with a .371 batting average as the week began. His Braves teammate Brian Pruitt (Stetson) was the second leading hitter in the league with 21 RBI, just two behind loop leader Dennis Raben (Miami) of Orleans ...
Shane Peterson (Long Beach State) of the Hyannis Mets topped the league in hits (31), while batting 337, which was seventh overall in the CCBL. Ryne White (Purdue) of Cotuit was second in the league at .357 … Falmouth’s Aja Barto led with 12 stolen bases ...
Hard-hitting infielder Gordon Beckham (Georgia) led the league with seven homers and was hitting .307.
Josh Lindblom (Purdue) of Cotuit was the first Cape League hurler to reach four wins, while Yarmouth-Dennis closer Nick Cassavechia (Baylor) led the league with seven saves ...
Left-hander Andy Oliver (Oklahoma) of Wareham was the pace-setter with 39 strikeouts, followed by Gatemen teammate Wade Miley (SE Louisiana) with 38 ...
Yarmouth-Dennis had compiled the highest team batting average (.273) and most runs scored (135). Bourne dropped to second with a .264 team batting average, followed by Chatham (.260) … Orleans (.224), Wareham (.225) and Falmouth (.219) were the bottom three teams ...
The Orleans Cardinals were the only CCBL team with an ERA of under 3.00 with a 2.49, followed by Wareham (3.10) and Bourne (3.11). Cotuit was last in team pitching with a 5.48 ERA.
HELLO … GOODBYE: Local product Matt Costello of Centerville a left-handed pitcher who is transferring to Central Connecticut this fall, has been added to the Cotuit Kettleers’ roster. He replaces Mike Bianucci (Auburn), who was among the league leaders with nine stolen bases before suffering a hip flexor.
GAME OF THE WEEK ON WBZ: This week’s CCBL Game of the Week on WBZ Radio 1030.com featured the Harwich Mariners at Orleans Cardinals on Monday, July 16, beginning at 6:50 p.m. Next week, it’s Hyannis at Wareham, Monday, July 23, starting at 6:50. Broadcast legend Fred Cusick provides the play-by-play.
Interns: Erica Bailey, John Hannemann, Liz Hoffman,
Gabriella Remington, Kevin Wolfe