for immediate release: 16 June, 2004
Harwich Looks to Familiar Talent Pool for Success in 2004
CAPE COD, Mass. – When building their 2004 team, the “dynamic duo” of Harwich general manager Mike DeAnzeris and head coach Steve Englert chose to look to the baseball programs which have given them success in the past. The Harwich organization likes to retain its prior longstanding relationships with universities and draw from this talent pool for their roster. The Mariners favor bringing back players for second and sometimes third seasons on the Cape. Such schools include Nebraska, Baylor, Florida State, and Northwestern.
The Harwich Mariners are well known for turning out exciting seasons, as well as high draft picks. This year, for the fourth consecutive year, the Mariners placed a former player in the first round of the MLB First Year Player Draft. This year, pitcher Jeff Niemann (Rice) was selected fourth overall by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
Other recent Mariner players selected were Dewon Brazelton number three overall to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2001, Joe Saunders twelfth overall to the Anaheim Angels in 2002, and Mitch Maier thirtieth overall to the Kansas City Royals in 2003. The 2004 draft claimed a team-record 22 other players, placing over 70 Mariners in the span of the last four years to move from college into professional baseball.
The only problem could be that the team that Mariners General Manager Mike DeAnzeris has put together could be too good. Many of 2004’s Mariners are still in post-season play with their college teams, or are being lured away from the Cape by Team USA.
Alex Gordon, a sophomore infielder from Nebraska will be delayed in joining the team due to his prestigious invitation to the tryouts for Team USA. Gordon was named as a 1st Team All-American by Sports Weekly, as well as to the All-Big 12 Team. He also received the honor of being the Big 12’s Player of the Year. Gordon’s teammate at Nebraska, Zach Kroenke, will contribute to the Mariners’ on the mound as a lefty.
Other players essential to the Mariners’ lineup will also be delayed in their arrival to the Cape. Jon Aughey (Citadel), Sebastien Boucher (Bethune-Cookman), Tim Grogan (Western Kentucky), Brent Lillibridge (Washington), Kevin Lynch (Florida State), and college teammates Craig Hansen and Anthony Varvaro (St. John’s) are all playing in this year’s NCAA Tournament at press time. Boucher was the 213th pick overall in the 7th round of the draft.
Kevin Lynch, a returnee from the 2003 Harwich team, will be used as a closer and in short relief. Dan Brauer (Northwestern) brings to the Mariners’ pitching staff the accolades of being named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week three times, as well as being named to the All-Big 10 Team. Tim Sabo, who played for the Hyannis Mets in 2003, will contribute to the Mariners’ pitching in 2004. Anthony Varvaro and Craig Hansen are hard throwers from northeastern schools. “They’re kind of like our local hometown kids,” said DeAnzeris, who believes that the native New Yorkers will “play well with the familiarity of the Cape atmosphere.” Also, they just have “that tough northeastern swagger and attitude,” great attributes for pitchers.
DeAnzeris and the Mariners also look forward to seeing the progress of their players from lesser-known schools, but who still have excellent baseball programs. “Most of the time we find the real diamonds in the rough at these smaller schools. These guys are so exciting to watch. These baseball programs are of such high quality, but they don’t receive the notice and exposure that they deserve” DeAnzeris said. Such players include pitcher Zach Ward (Gardner-Webb University in North Carolina), who was named to the 2nd Team All-Atlantic Sun Conference and catcher John Slone from Miami University, who was drafted 442nd overall.
When asked about potential challenges for his team in 2004, DeAnzeris noted that the Mariners play in the largest park in the league. “Our players have to know how to run. In the past this has been a challenge. We’d have a few guys with speed, but the rest were average on the basepaths and in the field. I don’t think this is the case this year. We’ve got more power and speed all-around and I believe this combination will work well for us.”
The Mariners begin their race for the pennant on June 17 at Veteran’s Field against the Chatham A’s at 7:00 p.m. Their home opener is the following day at Whitehouse Field at 7:00 p.m. versus the Brewster Whitecaps. -- Britt Berry, 2004 CCBL Intern, [email protected]
John Garner, Jr.
CCBL Director of Public Relations & Broadcasting
(508) 790-0394 [email protected]