THIS WEEK IN THE CAPE LEAGUE
(16 June – 19 June 2005)
Coca Cola Pitcher and Player of the Week
COCA COLA PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Hard-hitting catch JP Lowen (Kentucky) immediately made his presence felt for the Harwich Mariners last Thursday on opening night. He slugged two long home runs and collected five RBI in a 6-3 win over the visiting Chatham A’s. Lowen was just signed to a Mariners contract last week and drove all the way to Cape Cod from the Blue Grass State in his jeep.
COCA COLA PITCHER OF THE WEEK
Falmouth right-hander Tim Norton (Connecticut) hurled a two-hitter and struck out nine over eight innings Friday at McKeon Park, leading the Commodores to a 7-0 win over the Hyannis Mets. The 6’5”hurler was impressive from the start, striking out five consecutive Mets in the second and third innings. The Franklin, Mass., native allowed just two singles, including an infield scratch hit. The hard-throwing junior retired the last 13 batters he faced before exiting after his 107-pitch outing.
Braves’ Mills in a “Win-Win” Situation
Not many 18-year-olds have as many options as Bourne Braves third baseman Beau Mills has this summer. Then again, when you're as talented as the Visalia, Calif. native is, it's easy to see why.
Mills, son of Boston Red Sox bench coach and fill-in manager, Brad Mills, batted .319 and led the Western Athletic Conference with 22 home runs as a freshman at Fresno State this spring. Mills also led the Bulldogs with 63 RBI and an eye-popping .699 slugging percentage. Those stats weren't unnoticed by the folks who compile Team USA, as they invited Mills to their tryouts starting June 27th in Raleigh, N.C.
"It's a win-win situation for me," noted the 6-3, 210-pounder who had hits in each of his first two games for the Braves. "It'd be a great accomplishment to play for Team USA and I'd feel proud to wear the uniform with USA on the front and play in places like Japan. But if it doesn't work out, I have a great fallback in playing in the premier college league in the country."
Mills, who won't turn 19 until mid-August, is looking forward to the four-day tryout for Team USA later this month. The left-handed-hitting third baseman knows gaining a spot on the national team won't be easy, but it helps to get sage advice from someone who knows what it takes to get to the major leagues - his dad.
"He really wants me to get the experience of playing (baseball) every day (this summer)," said the younger Mills. Beau’s father and mother were both on hand this past Thursday in Cotuit to watch their son play in his first Cape league game against the Kettleers. "He wants me to know what it's like to play 12-13 days in a row, whether for Team USA or here in the Cape League."
Mills is also using his time on the Cape to get familiarized once again with wooden bats, something that he knows takes time to adjust to.
"It's definitely different," noted Mills, adding, "it takes a few games to get used to." To show how baseball savvy Mills is, he stated that the "pitchers have a big edge " over the hitters early in the league schedule.
And just how impressive is that World Series ring that his dad was flashing the other night at Lowell Park in Cotuit? "It's huge," laughed Mills. "Amazing. It's a great accomplishment (for my dad). It's his pride and joy."
Southpaw hurler Forest Corey III (William & Mary) is among the early pitching leaders with a no runs allowed in seven innings and is second in the league with 10 strikeouts and just one walk allowed.
Scott Sanford, CCBL Website Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org
Cotuit Touches All The Bases
Kettleers’ Field Manager Mike Roberts has his club off and running during this young 2005 season. In his first year, Robert’s club led the league with 75 stolen bases. Through three games, the Kettleers are on pace to challenge the league record of 134 steals shared by the 2000 Wareham and 1988 Wareham teams after Saturday’s 10-steal effort vs. Falmouth. (The 2000 Wareham team was managed by Mike Roberts.)
Roberts’ teams keep opposing pitchers on their toes and fans are on the edge of their seats. Last year Cotuit was eager to run, but an overall lack of team speed was a major problem. Too many times, fans were left questioning Roberts after runners in scoring position had been picked off at second and third. This year, the squad is loaded with speed.
Bruce Murphy, Cotuit’s General Manager, went out looking for players with speed and who were willing to run and take chances on the bases. “We have plenty of speedy guys who will fit right into Roberts’ strategy,” Murphy said.
Led by 5’7’’ outfielder Shane Jordan (Stetson) and Emeel Salem (Alabama), Cotuit has speed from top to bottom. In the first three games, almost every one of the starters has stolen at least one base. Salem leads the league with six steals and Jordan is right behind with five.
Not only is Roberts running, but he has his batters being unselfish at the plate. Back-to-back bunts are not a rarity for Cotuit. On Saturday, down 1-0 in the third inning, Cotuit batters Jordan and Todd Davison (Deleware) dropped consecutive bunts plating two runs, giving Cotuit a lead they would not relinquish. Davison is the league leader with six RBI and this unselfish play has aided in his exceptional .445 batting average, currently fifth in the CCBL.
Nick Mucci, CCBL Intern, email@example.com
Norton Impressive In Debut For Falmouth
Behind the brilliant pitching of 6’5” right-hander Tim Norton, the defending Western Division Champion Falmouth Commodores began their 2005 season with a 1-1-1 record.
Their victory came Friday night at Hyannis behind the strong hurling of Norton from the University of Connecticut. Norton’s eight shutout innings earned him Coca-Cola Pitcher of the Week award.
Norton’s teammates provided more than enough offense, as Jon Still (Stetson) and Brian Friday (Rice) contributed 2 RBIs each in the 7-0 victory.
This was the second time in less than a month that Norton was recognized for his performance on the mound, as he was named Big East Pitcher of the Week May 23. The Pascoag, R.I., native pitched a complete game against Boston College on May 20, allowing just one run and scattering five hits. Judging by his masterful performance against the Mets on Friday, Norton plans to continue his winning ways this summer.
The young season has already seen some unusual happenings. The umpire dispute has been resolved, as Cape League Commissioner Paul Galop and Phil Buttafuoco, commissioner of the ECAC, met Friday and resolved the conflict quickly. The conflict, a result of Falmouth skipper Jeff Trundy’s ejection in last year’s championship game, resulted in an umpire walkout during Thursday’s opener against Wareham. However, both the league and the umpires worked quickly to reach a compromise. The regular umpires were back on the job Friday afternoon.
Falmouth lost to Cotuit Saturday evening in a game that saw 15 stolen bases between the two teams. The Commodores had five of those steals.
Colin Reed, CCBL intern,firstname.lastname@example.org
Furbush Making a Name In Hyannis
Bursting onto the Cape League scene like a meteor shower has been 6’5” freshman hurler Charlie Furbush of the Hyannis Mets.
Although he posted a 6-0 record with a microscopic 1.01 ERA and was North Atlantic Conference Co-Player of the Year for Division III St. Joseph’s (ME), the hard-throwing southpaw was under the CCBL radar screen just two weeks ago.
But that was before three successive powerful performances in the CCBL Tryout in Wareham, Military Game and season-opener against the defending champion Y-D Red Sox.
Furbush, whose fastball has been clocked at 93 MPH, struck out all six batters he faced in Wareham, prompting an impressed call from tryout coordinator John Wylde to Baseball America and a quick agreement with GM John Howitt and the Hyannis Mets.
The South Portland, Maine native pitched a scoreless fifth inning with two strikeouts against the touring U.S. Military All-Stars last Saturday. He was named opening-day starter by Coach Greg King against Y-D and hurled four scoreless innings and allowing three hits with five K’s.
“Our team (Thomas College) had a chance to face him this spring and he completely shut us down,” said King. “He’s got great stuff.”
Furbush is the leading Mets’ hurler during the young season, with a 0.00 ERA in four innings pitched. Mike Koons (Arizona) and Chris Duke also have allowed no runs, while Kyle Norrid (San Diego CC) is the leading hitter with a .250 batting average.
The Mets are off to a 0-2-1 start, after tying defending champion Y-D, 2-2 on opening night and dropping a 7-0 contest to Falmouth during their home-opener Friday and a 2-0 blanking at Wareham.
For the fourth straight season, the Mets will play a home game at Tom Nevers Field on Nantucket Island in the Nantucket Pennant Game, this time against the Harwich Mariners. Both teams will conduct youth clinics before the game and Hy-Line Cruises is a participating sponsor, along with AK Diamonds Restaurant and Nantucket Bank.
John Garner, Jr., Director of Public Relations & Broadcasting, email@example.com
Wareham’s Lalor Off To Great Start
John Lalor pitched eight strong innings and recorded eight strikeouts for Wareham Saturday night. The Mississippi State University star looks to be one of the most promising pitchers the Cape League has to offer.
John threw 104 pitches and scattered four hits Saturday in what was truly a great effort. Mike McCallister (Alabama) made two exceptional plays in right field, one in foul territory on the fence, to help Laler in his effort.
In the 2005, Lalor helped lead his Rebels into the Super Regionals and were on the verge of a College World Series birth.
Lalor and teammate Billy Sittig (Stonehill) are two major reasons why the Gatemen lead the Cape League with a miniscule 1.13 ERA. Sittig, a hard-throwing right-hander, hurled six innings of two-hit baseball with nine strikeouts against Y-D.
Joel Collins leads the Gatemen offense with a .455 batting average with five hits in 11 trips, although Wareham is ninth in team batting average with an anemic .150.
Nick Mucci, CCBL Intern, firstname.lastname@example.org
ACC Closers Join Brewster’s Relief Staff
Instead of working for opposing teams, two of the ACC’s most dominant closers, North Carolina’s Jonathan Hovis and Casey Lambert of Virginia, are joining forces for the Brewster Whitecaps.
Hovis and Lambert are relief pitchers for the Whitecaps (2-1) and have turned in solid efforts in the young Cape Cod Baseball League season.
“With guys from different schools and parts of the country, things are expected to start slowly, but our team is starting to gel,” said Hovis. “Since pitching seems to dominate the league [Lambert] and I are going to focus on giving our team a chance to win by throwing well late in the game.”
Hovis pitched three no-hit innings in Brewster’s season opening loss to Orleans, while striking out three Cardinal hitters. Lambert earned his first save of the summer in the home opener, tossing three scoreless innings against the Cotuit Kettleers, while fanning three batters and giving up only one hit.
While Hovis and Lambert are expected to shine in the bullpen for Brewster, teammate Keoni Ruth (San Diego) is on an offensive tear. Ruth was 3-5 on opening night against Orleans. while blasting a solo home run in the sixth inning. He continued his surge the Saturday against Cotuit, going 2-4 with two runs scored. Tommy Lentz (Winthrop) is among the league leaders with a .400 batting average.
The Whitecaps lead the Cape League with a lofty.298 batting average.
Jenna Kubesch, CCBL Intern, email@example.com
Battermates Put A Charge Into the A’s
The battery of Chris Cody (Manhattan) and Garrett Bussiere (California-Berkley) have been two of the bright spots in the first week of play for the Chatham Athletics.
The A’s are off to a 1-2 start in the early going. Their win came Friday evening at the home opener at Veterans Field against division rival Orleans. The final score was 4-2, with the junior southpaw Cody notching his first win of the season. The Brewster, N.Y., native allowed one run over five innings, striking out five and walking two.
Bussiere, a sophomore at Cal-Berkeley, is hitting .333 during the two games he has played in. His home run Saturday against Brewster provided the only Chatham run in an 8-1 loss to the Brewster Whitecaps.
Despite their slow start and unseasonably chilly weather, the Athletics lead the league in total attendance as 2,218 people have watched the first two home games of the season. These fans will undoubtedly be rewarded when the A’s return to their winning ways.
Colin Reed, CCBL intern, firstname.lastname@example.org
Reid’s Tenure Begins With A Win
John Reid’s tenure as general manager of Harwich began on a high note, as the Mariners were the only undefeated team after the first week of play. It was a particularly sweet season-opener on Thursday, when Reid’s Mariners defeated the Chatham Athletics, 6-3 at Whitehouse Field.
Reid, a Chatham resident, grew up rooting for the A’s and even interned for them for two summers while attending Boston College. In fact, Chatham GM Charlie Thoms recommended Reid for the opening at Harwich, following the departure of Mike DeAnzeris.
The Mariners have looked sharp during their three victories, which Reid partly attributes to a pre-season scrimmage against the Columbus All-Americans. “I think it really helped the kids get used to the wooden bats,” Reid said.
Whatever the reason, the Mariners have made the transition from aluminum to wood seamlessly. J.P. Lowen, a recent signee from the University of Kentucky, hit two long home runs over the right field wall and drove in five runs during Thursday’s game. In Friday’s 8-3 victory over Bourne, Scott Sizemore (Virginia Commonwealth) was an impressive 4-for-5 at the plate, while teammate Jake Dugger (Arkansas) went 3-for-3 with 2 RBIs. Harwich has outscored its opponents, 17-6 thus far in the young season.
Of course, no team can begin a season undefeated without solid pitching. Adam Ottavino pitched seven innings of shutout baseball against Bourne on Saturday, striking out eight while allowing only three hits. Villanova’s Kevin Mulvey, the lone returning Mariner from the 2004 campaign, pitched six solid innings in the season-opener, before Harwichport’s own Cody Crowell (Vanderbilt) pitched a perfect ninth inning for his first save of the season.
The new GM was very impressed with his team’s performance, as they looked sharp both in the field and at the plate. Reid said this was particularly impressive considering the players the Mariners are missing due to the College World Series and Team USA tryouts.
When asked if he had any mixed emotions regarding his friends at Chatham, Reid laughed. “If we didn’t make the playoffs and they did, maybe I’d cheer for them,” Reid said.
Colin Reed, CCBL intern, email@example.com
Cardinals Visit Eastham Elementary
After an opening day win over Brewster, the Orleans Cardinals did something different…they celebrated by giving back to the community with a visit to Eastham Elementary school Friday.
Members from the Cardinals visited the kids in their classrooms as well as partake in the fifth grade barbecue. “It was great, the kids look up to us as heroes,” said hard-hitting infielder Dave Uribes (Pepperdine). While at the school, the team got to practice their skills against the youngsters with a game of wiffle ball.
This season, the Cardinals, as well as other Cape League teams, will host clinics for boys and girls ages 6-13. Cardinals GM Sue Horton said that 2005 “is a great year for clinics.”
This year, Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Massachusetts will be providing t-shirts and other goodies for the kids who participate in the clinic as part of their “Jump up and Go” campaign to get kids to eat more nutritiously, get more active and to have fun. According to Horton, usually about eight or nine players help run the clinics over the summer.
While the Cardinals Friday started out on a positive note with a trip to Eastham Elementary, it did not end so well. The Cards lost to Chatham A’s, 4-2 Friday night at Veterans Field. But not to worry, it is only the second game of the season and the team still needs time to gel, especially with team members still finding their way on to the Cape.
“Coach Kelly put a good team together,” said Uribes, “We have good pitching, good defense and good hitting.” Uribes is batting .462, a respectable fourth in the league.
Coach Kelly thinks he put together a good team as well, “Love them, love them.”
Stefanie Falco, CCBL Intern, firstname.lastname@example.org
Y-D Red Sox Returnee Leads CCBL In Batting
Slugging outfielder Nick Moresi (Fresno State) of the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox says what he likes best about the Cape is its atmosphere and friendly fans. What Y-D fans like best about Moresi is the way he prevented an opening-day loss to Hyannis for the Sox Thursday.
Moresi hit an RBI double to tie the game 2-2 in the bottom of the eighth inning. Thanks to Moresi’s two-bagger, the Sox were able to earn a tie instead of a loss as the game was called after nine innings due to darkness.
After the first three days of play, Moresi tops the league in batting with a lusty .583.
Moresi, a California native, is back for a second season with the defending Cape League champs. “It’s an honor to be back, and nice to have the opportunity to be back,” said Moresi. When the Sox defeated Falmouth in extra innings for the championship last August, Moresi said it was “Unbelievable. The finale last year was the best baseball game I have ever been apart of.”
Adding to his list of accomplishments, Moresi was named Fresno State Scholar-Athlete of the Year. He also was second-team All-WAC, co-rookie of the year and a “Louisville Slugger” All-American.
While on the Cape, Moresi will help run summer camps for the youngsters. Moresi likes to help teach “the little guys” at the camps. And as with most kids “you never know what you’re going to get,” said Moresi.
Until Moresi hit the double in the bottom of the eighth, nothing all that exciting happened for the Sox opening day, barring a few arguments from both field managers with the umpiring crew. And even though opening day for the Sox did not bring a win, it was still a good outing. Field manager Scott Pickler was happy with his starter Pat McAnaney (Virginia). Pickler was disappointed with the missed opportunities the Sox had.
“We stranded too many runners and didn’t execute in key situations,” said Pickler. Pickler is happy with his team thus far, “We have a good group of guys.” And since it was opening day Pickler did say it takes at least a week for the team to get acclimated.
Opening day for the Y-D Sox brought a new look to the field and it wasn’t just from the new talent on the team. During the off-season, new dugouts were installed. The new dugouts go into the ground, creating a better view for spectators and more room for the players, according to GM Jim Martin. Fellow GM Charlie Thoms of the Chatham A’s installed the dugouts for Y-D as well as Harwich and for Brewster’s new field that will open in 2006.
Stefanie Falco CCBL Intern, email@example.com
Around the Cape League Horn
Faces in the Crowd: Brad Mills, bench coach for the Boston Red Sox, was in attendance at Thursday’s Bourne at Cotuit season-opener to watch his son, Beau Mills (Fresno State) play for the Braves…All in the Family: Roddy Ames (Colby) enjoyed a memorable beginning to the season, playing in the Wareham Tryout and U.S. Military Game as a Cotuit Kettleer and then starting the first three games of the regular season at first base for the Hyannis Mets. His father, Rodney Ames of Ames Electric, came to the rescue, fixing the electronic scoreboard at McKeon Park during the Military Game… Partnership: New corporate partners for the Cape League are BlueCross BlueShield of Massachusetts, BJ’s Wholesale, Nokona, David Sunflower Seeds, 99 Restaurants and Yellow Book… Scoring the Game: The Cape Cod Times launched its new CCBL scorecard program where the first 100 fans at all 230 Cape League games receive a complimentary scorecard and a Cape Cod Times. The scorecard program is presented by Sovereign Bank. Other sponsors include Merrill Lynch, CTX Mortgage and John Hancock… Homeland Security: League president Judy Walden Scarafile and her husband, Peter Scarafile, Hyannis Mets VP, both pharmacists, are part of the Cape Cod Medical Reserve and completed a course on Terrorist Activity: Recognition and Reaction, offered by Homeland Security.
John Garner, Jr.
CCBL Director of Public Relations & Broadcasting
(508) 790-0394 firstname.lastname@example.org
Interns: Stephanie Falco, Jason S. Itzkowitz, Jenna Kubesch, Michael Kydd, Nicholas Mucci, Colin Reed
Contributing Editor, Scott Sanford