Three new managers make West Division debuts
CAPE COD TIMES
The Cape Cod Baseball League kicks off its 44-game regular season tomorrow night with five games.
Here's a look at the West Division, which will have new managers in three of its dugouts. Hyannis, which made it to the championship series last summer, will be skippered by Mike Juhl; Wareham, which won the West regular season crown in 2000, has named Cooper Farris as its manager; and Bourne hopes to improve under the first-year guidance of Spencer Graham.
Bourne at Cotuit, 5 p.m.
Hyannis at YD, 5 p.m.
Wareham at Falmouth, 7 p.m.
Brewster at Orleans, 7 p.m.
Chatham at Harwich, 7 p.m.
Falmouth at Bourne, 4:45 p.m.
Cotuit at Brewster, 5 p.m.
Orleans at Hyannis, 5 p.m.
YD at Chatham, 7 p.m.
Harwich at Wareham, 7 p.m.
Manager: Spencer Graham
Field/directions: Coady School Field, across Trowbridge Road from Bourne High School in Bourne village.
Last season: 13-29, fifth in West
Outlook: Under new skipper Graham, the Braves will look to improve on last year's last place finish and start this year with a fresh slate. University of Arizona catcher Ken Riley is the only Brave with any Cape League experience; Riley hit .232 for Hyannis last year. Riley is joined by his college teammate, pitcher/center fielder Brian Anderson. Hurler Matt Brown threw 44ª innings for Cal-Berkeley this spring, with a 3-3 record and a 5.40 ERA. Third baseman Conor Jackson also played for the Bears, knocking the ball at a .288 clip, with four home runs. Outfielder James Burgess is still playing with Tulane in the College World Series, but was named to the Conference USA All-Freshman Team in 2000, with a .325 batting average.
Top alumni in the majors: Jeremy Giambi (A's), Mark Mulder (A's) Bobby Higginson (Tigers), Ron Villone (Reds).
Manager: Mike Coutts
Field/directions: Lowell Park/ Lowell Avenue, less than two miles south of Route 28 in Cotuit.
Last season: 17-26, fourth in the West
Outlook: The Kettleers bring just one player back from last year's squad: pitcher Ryan Combs from North Carolina State, who compiled a 3.51 ERA last summer. Scott Wade, a right-hander from the University of Kentucky, was named a 2000 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American last year. Righty Brian Slocum, a sophomore at Villanova, throws a fastball with some pop on it. Batterymate Alberto Concepcion was a second round draft choice of the San Diego Padres, but opted for college and plays for USC, one of the teams in this year's College World Series. Another team still playing in Omaha is Stanford, whose outfielder Sam Fuld will patrol the green at Lowell Field this summer. Chris O'Riordan plays second base for Stanford and led the team with a .366 batting average last year.
Top alumni in the majors: John Franco (Mets), Jeff Kent (Giants), Tim Salmon (Angels).
Manager: Jeff Trundy
Field/directions: Guv Fuller Field, behind Gus Canty Community Center, 790 E. Main St., Falmouth.
Last season: 21-23, third in West
Outlook: The Commodores return four players from last year's roster. Arkansas pitcher Gary Hogan finished with a 3.48 ERA in 15 games last year for Falmouth. Clemson's B.J. LaMura pitched in nine games and posted a 5.40 ERA. Justin Maureau, a left-handed pitcher and first baseman, compiled a 3-1 record with a 4.35 ERA last summer. Jarrod Schmidt, another righty from Clemson, players outfield and first base as well. Schmidt registered a 4.05 ERA and a .250 batting average for Falmouth in 2000. Baylor right-hander Steven White will look to help anchor the pitching staff. Hoping they can emulate their older brothers' success are OF/1B Bryan Erstad, younger brother of Darin, and Enrique Cruz, younger brother of Toronto Blue Jays center fielder Jose.
Top alumni in the majors: Darin Erstad (Angels), Tino Martinez (Yankees), Turk Wendell (Mets)
Manager: Mike Juhl
Field/directions: McKeon Field/ High School Road, two blocks south of Main Street behind Barnstable Grade Five Building, Hyannis.
Last season: 21-21, second in West, lost to Brewster in playoff finals.
Outlook: The Mets will look to get it done at the plate this year, as several of their players have shown they can wield the lumber. "I think offensively we're going to be very strong," said Juhl, who played for Hyannis in '89 and '90. Notre Dame outfielder Brian Stavisky will be back for his second year in a Mets uniform, after hitting .324 with 26 RBI last summer and .386 with 66 RBI and 10 HR at South Bend. Stavisky was also the MVP of last year's Cape League All-Star Game. Lefty slugger L.J. Biernbaum, Georgia Tech first baseman Jason Perry and infielder Ryan Garko will look to fill out the lineup. On the mound, the Mets will have J.T. Taylor back after his 8-2, 2.86 ERA season at Baylor. Taylor will be joined in the rotation by Chris Cochran, the ace of the James Madison staff.
Top alumni in the majors: Kris Benson (Pirates), Jeromy Burnitz (Brewers), Jason Varitek (Red Sox, Robin Ventura (Mets).
Manager: Cooper Farris
Field/directions: Clem Spillane Field, Wareham High School, one mile west of Wareham Center on Route 6.
Last season: 27-16, first in West, lost to Hyannis in semifinals
Outlook: The Gatemen are another club with a new man at the helm, Harris being their third manager in three years. Wareham brings back Ben Crockett, the Harvard pitcher and 10th round Red Sox draft pick, who was named Cape Cod's Co-Pitcher of the Year in 2000 with a 5-1 record and a 2.95 ERA. Southpaw pitcher/first baseman Russ Bayer will also be back after a season with Miami of Ohio. Liberty University's Joey Monahan played for Yarmouth-Dennis last year but will join the Gatemen in 2001. Mike Galloway, a high school classmate of the Boston Bruins' Joe Thornton, will come down after a season at Central Michigan.
Top alumni in the majors: Doug Glanville (Phillies), Chuck Knoblauch (Yankees), Mo Vaughn (Angels), Barry Zito (Athletics), Ben Sheets (Brewers).
Compiled by Contributing Writer Jim O'Sullivan