07/03/2005 11:16 AM
THIS WEEK IN THE CAPE LEAGUE
(27 June – 2 Jul 2005)
Coca Cola Pitcher and Player of the Week
COCA COLA PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Y-D outfielder Chris Errecart, who plays for the University of California Berkeley, had a torrid week at the plate, going 8-for-14 (.571) with two home runs and four RBI for the Red Sox. A Stockton, CA, native, Errecart had a 1.071 slugging percentage on the week for the Sox and a .625 on-base percentage. Errecart's week was highlighted by a 3-for-4 day at the plate in a 5-1 win over West Division-leading Bourne. In that game, Errecart belted a two-run homer and scored another run to highlight Y-D's attack.
COCA COLA PITCHER OF THE WEEK
Chatham A's righthander Robert Woodard, from North Carolina, hurled seven shutout innings, yielding but two hits, in a 3-0 win over East Division rival Brewster. Woodard, a native of Charlotte, NC, ran his Cape League record to 2-0 on the still young season with his strong outing against the Whitecaps. In addition to giving up onluy two hits, Woodard fanned three while walking only one in his outing.
Texas Pitching Duo Bolsters Sagging Mets
After losing 11 of their first 13 games, the Hyannis Mets hope the arrival of two top hurlers from the NCAA College World Series champions will bolster their sagging fortunes.
The Texas duo of Randy Boone and Adrian Alaniz pitched the Longhorns (56-16) to the national championship and will now toe the mound for the struggling Mets.
Boone, who along with Team USA-bound Kyle McCullough, played for the Mets last summer, finished the spring with a 7-4 record and a 3.46 ERA. Last summer in Hyannis, Boone posted a 1-0 record with a 1.08 ERA.
Freshman All-America hurler Alaniz was also impressive with an 8-3 record and a 2.67 ERA.
“These two pitchers from Texas add talent and depth to our staff,” said Hyannis GM John Howitt. “We need a shot in the arm and hopefully their addition will help turn things around.”
The Mets received disappointing news when Team USA announced that three Mets’ signees, McCullough, Arizona closer Mark Melancon and NCAA Division I Player of the Year Shane Robinson of Florida State had been selected to play for their touring squad.
McCullough, who posted a 12-4 record with a 2.92 ERA at Texas, won the deciding game over Florida, 6-2, with 6 2/3 strong innings, while going 0-1 with a 4.79 ERA with the Mets last summer.
“This is tough because we built our team around these three players,” admitted Howitt.
Hard-throwing right-hander Mark Sauls (Florida State) was a tough luck, 2-1 loser to Bourne Friday, after allowing just two hits and one earned run in eight innings pitched. The Florida State product struck out four and walked one in his most impressive outing of the summer - a game that lasted only one hour and 47 minutes long. John Garner, Jr., Director of Public Relations/Broadcasting, [email protected]
Hobson Off To Fast Start For Braves
After leading his team in wins this spring, North Carolina State hurler Gib Hobson is leading the red-hot Braves in that category as well this summer. So far, his two victories in Cape League play has him tied for the team lead in that category.
Hobson, a 6-3, 203-pound righthander out of Pfafftown, NC, tied for most victories on the Wolfpack staff this past season with six, finishing with a 6-4 mark and a 5.12 ERA. Hobson did slump towards the end of the season for the 41-19 Wolfpack, losing his final two outings to Virginia in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament and to Creighton in the NCAA Regionals in Lincoln, NE. But after a rough first outing here on the Cape, Hobson has righted himself with two straight strong outings and is 2-1 with a 3.06 ERA for the Braves.
"I'm just trying to be successful," noted Hobson. "Every time out (on the mound) I want to give the team a chance to win."
Hobson gained a lot of notoriety earlier this season when he tossed a no-hitter at Maryland in an ACC game - a rarity in the world of aluminum bats, which most all of the colleges use around the country. His efforts earned him national Pitcher of the Week honors for his no-no against the Terps.
"That game was amazing," reflected Hobson, who'll enter his junior year this season in Raleigh. "All of my pitches were working that day."
And how does Hobson feel about playing on the Cape? "This is where you want to be (to play baseball) in the summer."
Running The Bases - Bourne's seven-game winning streak came to an end when Cotuit scored five times in the eighth to down the Braves, 5-2, last Monday. But after that the Braves ran off three straight Ws to take over the top spot in the Western Division...William & Mary's Forest Cory III hurled eight strong innings in a 2-1 win over Hyannis Friday, moving him into a tie with Hobson for the team lead in wins. Cory is now 2-0 on the young season...Although he didn't make the Team USA squad, Fresno State's Beau Mills got some good news this week. Mills was selected by Baseball America as a First-Team selection on its All-Freshman team. Mills is the son of Red Sox bench coach Brad Mills. Scott Sanford, Website Editor, [email protected]
Commodores Heating Up After Slow Start
After a tough start to the season, the Falmouth Commodores began heating up during the third week of play, led by second/third basemen Shelby Ford (Texas Christian), who leads all Cape League hitters with 11 RBIs.
Ford, a native of Fort Worth, Texas, posted eye-opening numbers this spring at TCU. He led the team in batting average (.370), stolen bases (12), runs (64), walks (28) and triples (3). In addition, Ford slugged seven home runs and finished the season with a .578 slugging percentage.
Ford possesses a blend of speed and power and his versatility makes him an extremely valuable asset to Falmouth. The sophomore played summer ball last season in the Texas Collegiate League for the Coppell Coppherheads, where he posted a .375 average in the wood-bat league.
Three of Ford’s RBIs came during a 14-6 victory over the Harwich Mariners on Monday.
While Falmouth manager Jeff Trundy was pleased with Ford and catcher Jon Still’s hitting, he was more impressed with his team’s overall attitude. “We lost five games in a row, but we could have won four of those easily,” Trundy said.
“The kids are having fun with each other and really getting along, and that’s very important.” Colin Reed, CCBL Intern, [email protected]
Cotuit’s Newcomers Setting Tone Early
Many Cape League teams sometimes have to wait weeks before their rosters are completely set and all of their players have returned from the College World Series. This has been the case for the Cotuit Kettleers in the 2005 season.
The Kettleers bats have struggled through the first two weeks of the season, that was until they received some much needed help over the last few days.
Speedster Julio Borbon (Tennessee) will fit right in with Manager Mike Roberts’ strategy of aggressive base running and small ball attitude. Julio hit for a .350 average as a freshman on a Volunteer team that advanced to the College World Series and finished eighth in the overall national rankings. In five games he is only hitting .077 but is beginning to make a difference at the top of the order.
Both General Manager Bruce Murphy and Coach Roberts feel that Julio will set the tone at the top of the order adding to an already speedy lineup which includes Shane Jordan (Stetson) who has six stolen bases and Emeel Salem (Alabama), who is second in the league with nine stolen bases.
Brad Boyer (Arizona) has been with Cotuit for five games and has contributed with three RBI’s. The coaching staff and management are pleased with both of these players and feel that the lineup will benefit from these two great acquisitions.
Initially it was feared that Boyer would decide to tryout for Team USA along with Arizona teammate Jason Donald. However, Boyer’s decision to play in the Cape League this summer was certainly popular with the fans in Cotuit.
Sitting at the top of the league with a .371 average, Sean Gaston (Notre Dame) has been a huge boost for the middle of the Cotuit lineup. Sean has compiled 17 total bases in only eight games placing him in a tie for first on the team with Emeel Salem.
Certainly, these three key additions have moved the Kettleers up in team batting average, catapulting them to third in the league. There’s no doubt that many in the lineup are benefiting from these additions and are giving run-producing machines like Bryan Harris (LSU) more RBI opportunities and more protection in the lineup.
Harris, a second year player for Cotuit, has caught fire of late and has pushed his average up to.279. Until Thursday night, Cotuit had been the only team to not hit a home run - that was until Harris crushed the team’s first home run of the season. This led the way for catcher Devin Thomas (Brown) who had a great night at the plate Friday night going 4-5 with a solo home run.
Complementing the offensive outburst, the Kettleers pitching staff shut out the Gatemen led by the strong effort of Nathan Culp (Missouri). Nick Mucci, CCBL intern [email protected]
Robbins, Brashear Show Power For Gatemen
If all teams were measured solely by how many home runs they hit, the Wareham Gatemen, who are third in the league with nine dingers, would be considered one of the best teams in the Cape League. This stat alone would make it appear that the Gatemen have a very potent lineup. This, however, has not been the case for Wareham through three weeks of Cape League play.
Whit Robbins (Georgia Tech) leads the league with four home runs, a .711 slugging percentage and eight extra base hits. Catcher Justin Brashear (Mississippi) is on pace with his teammate, but remains one home run behind, placing him second in the league.
Besides these two bright spots in the power categories, the Gatemen lineup has struggled to pick up the slack for its exceptional pitching staff. In the last two games, the lineup has only produced three runs.
The pitching staff has been one of the league’s best, recording a 2.72 ERA - good for fourth in the league. Coming off the bench in a closer role, Justin Masterson (Bethel) has been the leader of the staff. In ten innings, he is yet to allow a run, and has been lights out in pressure moments.
“I love the pressure,” said Masterson. “I like coming into a tight ball game and getting it done for the team when it counts.” A starter at Bethel College, a small school in Indiana, Masterson understands his role and loves hearing the crowds reaction when he is called to duty.
“It’s been fun playing here. They call my name and school out and people are left looking around wondering where that could be.”
The 6-6 righthander has enjoyed his role on the team and is just happy to be playing. “I can’t complain. As long as I am playing I am happy. This is just a great opportunity no matter what your role.”
Along with Manager Cooper Farris, Justin believes the lineup will pick itself up and Wareham will be a very competitive club.
“These boys are too good to be shut down every night,” noted Masterson after a 9-0 loss to Cotuit,
“This lineup will improve and be a great complement to our pitching staff.” Nick Mucci, CCBL Intern, [email protected]
Cardinals' Burris Leads League In Steals
Faster than a speeding bullet, it’s a bird, it’s a plane, no…its Cardinals third baseman Manny Burriss (Kent).
Burriss, who hails from Washington, DC, is currently leading the Cape League with 17 stolen bases. “I’m excited about it,” said Burriss. “It’s the strong point in my game.”
While stealing bases is his strong point, his hitting isn’t bad, either. Burriss is batting .314, which is good for sixth place in the Cape League. His on-field presence is certainly contributing to the Cardinals success so far in this young season. Burriss, who is playing in his first season with the Cape League, loves every second of it. “I love it, it’s a lot of fun,” said Burriss.
Burriss joins fellow Cardinal Dave Uribes (Pepperdine) in the top 10 for batting this week as they hope to keep Orleans at the top. Two new players joined the Cards this week, first baseman/outfielder Brett Pill (Cal State Fullerton) and southpaw Mike Ballard (Virginia).
The Cards are hoping to get even more help from some new players before rosters are finalized on July 5th. “Everyone’s on pins and needles, there are a lot of Cape leaguers at the Team USA trials,” said GM Sue Horton. Stefanie Falco, CCBL Intern, [email protected]
Pruitt Helps Lead Sox To Victory
Although they are off to a slow start and the fact that the Y-D Red Sox are hanging out at .500 so far this season, Braedyn Pruitt (Stetson) is beginning to ignite the Sox.
Pruitt is tied for sixth place in batting for the league with a .314 average and a .486 slugging percentage. Pruitt, who is from West Palm Beach, is in his first season with the Cape League. In 2005 with the Hatters, Pruitt hit .328 with seven home runs. Not only does he swing the bat well, he also is an impressive defensive player. He had a .942 fielding percentage in 2005 as an infielder.
Pruitt was especially impressive on Thursday in the Sox win over Cotuit. He went 4 for 5 with a 2-run triple in the fourth to help lead the Sox to a 5-2 victory. Unfortunately, Friday’s game against Chatham was postponed due to wet grounds at D-Y.
Although the Sox are fourth in the Eastern Division of the Cape League, they are doing well as a team. The Sox are batting .232 with a slugging percentage of .300. And with Chris Errecart (U Cal Berkley), batting .342, Justin Turner (Cal State Fullerton), batting .303 and of course Pruitt, it is likely that the Sox will be above .500 soon. Stefanie Falco, CBBL Intern, [email protected]
Negrych Shines Despite Mariners Struggles
Second basemen Jim Negrych (Pittsburgh) enjoyed a fine third week of play, but his performance was not enough to help the struggling Harwich Mariners, who dropped five games in a row going into Saturday’s action.
Negrych brought the power stroke he had displayed this spring at Pittsburgh to Tom Nevers field on Nantucket when the M’s took on the Hyannis Mets last Saturday in the Fourth Annual Nantucket Island Pennant Game. He hit a three-run blast in the third inning and followed it up with a solo shot just one inning later, leading Harwich to a 9-3 victory.
The slugging second basemen leads his team with three home runs and is tied for first with a .545 slugging percentage.
Negrych’s performance comes as no surprise, as the sophomore led his team with 16 home runs this past spring while posting an impressive .345 batting average. Pittsburgh traveled to the Big East Championship game this year for the first time in 10 years and Negrych was named an all-conference first-team selection in the Big East.
Second basemen do not ordinarily lead their teams in home runs or bat fifth in the line-up, but Negrych is not your average second basemen. During his first two years at Pitt, he has wracked up an impressive amount of accomplishments, including, but not limited to: Baseball America’s 2005 Big East “Best Pure Hitter”, 2004 Big East Rookie of the Year and Baseball America’s 2005 “Best Defensive Second Basemen” in the Big East.
Negrych got off to a slow start in a Mariners uniform, but definitely picked it up this week. During a four-game span, he hit 8-for-16 with three home runs, five RBI and five runs scored. Colin Reed, CCBL Intern, [email protected]
Hughes Almost Perfect For A's
John Schiffner has seen a lot of baseball games during twenty years as manager of the Chatham A’s. When he describes something as “one of the best moments in my coaching career”, it must be a very special moment.
Schiffner was referring to righthander Jared Hughes' performance last Sunday at Veterans Field. Hughes, a sophomore from Long Beach State, took a perfect game into the ninth inning against the visiting Falmouth Commodores. As he took the mound in the ninth, the 1,927 people in attendance rose to their feet and gave Hughes a standing ovation.
“My heart was jumping out my skin when he got that ovation,” Schiffner said.
When Falmouth leadoff hitter Aaron Garza broke up the perfect game with a single into right field, the appreciative crowd rewarded Hughes with another well-deserved ovation.
While Schiffner was disappointed his pitcher didn’t achieve perfection, or even a shutout, he said the most important thing was his club got the win.
The 6-foot-7 hurler enjoyed a fine season this past spring at Long Beach State, going 8-3 with a 2.83 ERA. Hughes and Evan Longoria, teammates at both Chatham and Long Beach, took home the Cape League pitcher and player of the week last week.
Thus far, Hughes is 2-0 with a miniscule 1.20 ERA for the A’s, and is a major reason that Chatham leads the league in pitching, with a team ERA of just 1.87. Colin Reed, CCBL intern, [email protected]
Whitecaps' Cooper Finds Home Away From Home
For the past 16 summers, Linda Riedl's home in Brewster has housed family, fun and some of the nation's most talented ballplayers. The Whitecaps' Craig Cooper, a speedy outfielder from Notre Dame, is Riedl's most recent addition to the family. Cooper, an outfielder and first baseman for the Whitecaps, stayed with Riedl in the summer of 2004, too.
While the Whitecaps have acquired a 7-6 record, Cooper boasts a .280 batting average and has five stolen bases.
Riedl rarely misses a chance to see the Whitecaps in action and supports Cooper and his teammates from the stands. She knows all of the players and even traveled this week to Falmouth for what ended up being a short game due to fog.
"I feel like part of the family," said Cooper, who appreciates Riedl's support. The Riedls, also avid Red Sox fans, even tolerate Cooper's love of the Yankees. "Craig is very good student and athlete and he is easy going," said Riedl. "He leaves everything on the field." Cooper is a political science and computer applications major at Notre Dame and focuses on being aggressive at the plate. As impressive as his bat has been for the Whitecaps, Cooper's strong arm in right field has been equally impressive and is highly appreciated by his teammates.
Along with Cooper, the Whitecaps offense continues to be led by William & Mary's Greg Sexton (.324, 8 RBI), Northeastern's Chris Emanuele (.294), Tommy Lentz (.327) of Winthrop and USC's Matt Cusick (.275, 5 RBI).
The arrival of Aaron Bates of NC State, Brian Leclerc of Florida, and Florida State's Ryne Malone has added more depth to the Whitecaps lineup. Malone (.750) was a perfect 4-4 against Hyannis, and Bates is batting a solid .375 after two games.
Whitecaps hurler P.J. Walters (South Alabama) improved to 3-0 on the young season with a victory earlier this past week. Currently, he leads all Cape League hurlers in wins. Jenna Kubesch, CCBL Intern, [email protected]
Around the Cape League Horn
Radio Game of the Week: The next CCBL Radio Game of the Week on PIXY 103 will be broadcast live Monday, beginning at 6:45 p.m. when the Orleans Cardinals host the Chatham A’s in a July 4 match-up...Make-up Games: The Wareham at Chatham and Brewster at Falmouth games were postponed because of inclement weather and will be made up Wednesday July 6 at 7pm. The Y-D at Cotuit game will be played Tuesday July 12.
John Garner, Jr.
CCBL Director of Public Relations & Broadcasting
(508) 790-0394 [email protected]
Interns: Stephanie Falco, Jason S. Itzkowitz, Jenna Kubesch, Michael Kydd, Nicholas Mucci, Colin Reed
Contributing Editor, Scott Sanford