10 July 2009
Wates a True All-Around Hitter for Y-D
S. YARMOUTH, Mass. - Every good team has a marquee player, a batter or pitcher who is capable of carrying the team whenever he steps out onto the diamond. Outfielder Austin Wates (Virginia Tech) is that player for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox.
“Austin was one of the first players we signed,” said Y-D General Manager Jim Martin. “(Virginia Tech head baseball coach) Pete Hughes gave us a call and recommended Austin to us. We checked him out with the area scouts and everything checked out, so we signed him very early.”
Wates has more than checked out this year for the Red Sox. His .387 batting average leads the league, while his 29 hits puts him seven ahead of the next closest batter, teammate Blake Kelso (Houston). If that was not enough, Wates also is tied for the league lead in triples (with two), is second in on-base percentage (.459), tied for fourth in extra base hits (seven), and is fifth in slugging percentage (.509).
When asked if the Red Sox expected this type of production from Wates when they signed him, Martin admitted that “everyone looks good on paper,” but added that Wates’ astounding level of production has been “a very pleasant surprise.”
It is one thing to carry a team, but it is another altogether to do so as a gentleman. The fact that Martin has just as many good things to say about Wates’ character as he does about Wates’ playing ability speaks to the gentlemanly fashion in which the Seattle native approaches everything he does.
“Austin is one of the nicest guys on the team,” the G.M. said. “He is just so respectful and polite all the time. Everything is ‘yes sir,’ and ‘yes ma’am.’ He’s got a smile that lights up the room. And that’s a credit to his parents. Two of the nicest people you’ll meet. You talk to them for two minutes and you see why he’s such a great kid.”
Thanks in large part to the effort of Wates, Yarmouth-Dennis is back atop the East Division in a first-place tie with Chatham. The Red Sox sport a 12-9 record, and still are home to the league leader in saves, Tyler Burgoon (Michigan), and starter Chris Sale (Florida Gulf Coast), who leads the league is strikeouts (30) and innings pitched (28). Everything is coming up roses for Y-D, who has gotten a boost in the lineup from Micah Gibbs (LSU), who hit two home runs in his second Cape League game, a victory over Hyannis. The team’s most glaring weakness up to this point had been starting pitching, but that has turned around recently, headlined by Michael Goodnight (Houston)’s 1.06 earned run average. Y-D’s recent hot streak has been underlined by crowds that seem to grow bigger each game, crowds that are aided by the youth clinics that the team puts on before home games.
All the pieces have begun to come together for the Red Sox, who have their sights set, and realistically so, on another Arnold Mycock Trophy.
By Mike Campbell, [email protected]
Interns: Chris Blake, James Chandley, Ashley Crosby, Phil Garceau, Michael Campbell, Katy Ann Fitzpatrick