for immediate release: 31 May, 2004
Braves Aim to take Next Step in 2004
In 2004, only one achievement can top last summer’s runner-up finish: taking home the top prize of the CCBL Championship. If the Braves want to reach that status though, they’ll have to find a way to replace hurler Eric Beattie. Last season, the University of Tampa standout silenced Cape League hitters all summer, posting a 4-0 record with a 0.39 ERA. The right-hander’s 51 strikeouts and just six walks helped him earn the league’s outstanding pitcher award. Beattie wasn’t the only Brave to baffle hitters, though. The league’s best staff featured four pitchers with sub 1.00 ERA’s last season. One of those pitchers, Kyle Schmidt, struck out 63 batters, good for fifth in the league.
Luckily for Bourne, they will not have to replace Schmidt in the rotation this summer. The big right-hander returns to the Cape League for his third straight year, and will look to match the form that earned him a start in last year’s All-Star Game.
The Braves hope Tim Mascia can pick up the slack offensively. The Florida Atlantic outfielder earned second team All-Atlantic Sun Conference honors this spring, as he flirted with a .400 batting average throughout the 2004 season. Behind the plate, Bourne will call upon Texas A&M’s Craig Stinson to handle the pitching staff. Stinson threw out 63.6 percent of potential base stealers for the Aggies in 2004, while achieving a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage, committing no errors in 375 chances.
In addition to the new names on the diamond, the Braves have revamped the front office, as well. Mike Carrier, who has served as a volunteer for the team over the past three seasons, was named general manager in the off-season. In addition to his duties as general manager, Carrier was also tabbed Chairman of the New Field Committee in Bourne.
Harvey Shapiro will serve as field manager of the Braves once again in 2004. Shapiro returns for his seventh season in the league. His 135 wins are 12th on the league’s all-time list. He was Cape League Manager of the Year in 1996, while head man for the Falmouth Commodores. A host of former Braves are currently playing Major League Baseball, including Mark Mulder, Ron Villone and Brandon Inge. Recently, Bourne alum and Boston Red Sox infielder Bill Mueller, last year's AL batting champion, was placed on the disabled list, only to be replaced in the lineup by another ex-Brave, Kevin Youkilis.
The Bourne Braves begin their West Division title defense June 17 at home against the Cotuit Kettleers. -- T.J. Lasita, 2004 CCBL Intern, TJLasita@capecodbaseball.org
John Garner, Jr.