05/18/2009 9:15 AM
Y-D’s Goal Is a Return to Championship Form
SOUTH YARMOUTH, Mass. -- After a disappointing 2008, the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox hope to return to the form that brought them Cape Cod Baseball League championships in 2006 and 2007. Y-D ended last season in the basement of the East Division, but an intriguing mix of old and new talent has manager Scott Pickler optimistic that things will be different in 2009.
Batting looks to be the strong point of this year's squad again. Josh Rutledge (Alabama), who led the team in both runs (26) and hits (48), and Andy Wilkins (Arkansas), who slugged a team-high five home runs, both return to a lineup which led the league in team batting last year. New additions Micah Gibbs (Louisiana State) and Christian Colon (Cal State Fullerton), both Freshman All-Americas last year and the latter a top 50 MLB prospect, are facing decisions about accepting invitations to join Team USA or remain with the Red Sox.
Speed on offense was another strong point of last year's team, which led the league with 71 stolen bases. Jonathan Jones, the nephew of 1971 Michigan Heisman Trophy winner and 11-year NFL veteran Desmond Howard, will attempt to continue that trend.
To achieve their championship goal, the Red Sox must improve on last year's league-worst team ERA of 4.28. Tyler Waldron (Oregon State), who sported a 2.92 ERA last year, returns to the staff, while fireballer Anthony Ranaudo (Louisiana State) must also choose between Team USA and Y-D. Kevin Rhoderick, a pre-season Third Team All-America and an Oregon State teammate of Waldron, also appears ready to make his presence felt.
The strongest local product on the roster is infielder Mickey Wiswall (Boston College), a Stoneham, Mass., native.
Strong fan support has always been a source of pride for the Red Sox, who finished third in the league in total attendance in 2008 despite their last-place finish. Things can only get better this year.
The Red Sox have announced plans to honor a longtime contributor who passed away in October. Sandi Hoyt was a former president of the Red Sox and a volunteer for 19 years. Her presence at every game and in the Cape League community will be sorely missed. Hoyt coached the Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School field hockey team for 14 years and the Red Sox have established an annual scholarship in her honor for a member of the team. They are also in discussions with the Hoyt family about an additional memorial.
The Sox will open at home this season, hosting the Orleans Firebirds on Friday, June 12, at Red Wilson Field in a 5 p.m. contest.
Michael Campbell, CCBL Intern (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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