for immediate release: 9 June, 2004
Big Turnover for Defending Champion Orleans
A year after Orleans lost in the league final to Wareham, Ryan Schroyer struck out five of the six Bourne batters he faced to close out the Cardinals’ first title since 1993. The Cardinals swept both Brewster and Bourne, becoming the first team since 1997 to sweep both postseason opponents. Cesar Nicholas, who led the league in RBI during the regular season, won the Star of Stars Award as the Most Valuable Player of the playoffs. He posted a .312 batting average with three home runs and four RBI in Orleans’ four postseason games. But Schroyer and Nicholas are gone, along with four league all-stars: right fielder Jon Zeringue (22 RBI), second baseman Billy Lockin (14 stolen bases), and pitchers Rhett James (7 wins) and David Purcey (60 strikeouts).
This year’s team features just two returning players: pitchers Will Startup and Abe Woody. The two were part of a staff that finished second in the league in earned run average with a mark of 2.36. Startup compiled an ERA of 1.19 in 37 2/3 innings, and Woody’s ERA of 0.77 led the team. Startup and Woody won’t have to go it alone, however. Right-hander Jason Berken went 5-1 with a 2.53 ERA this season for Clemson, and lefthander Spencer Grogan went 12-2 with a 2.72 ERA and seven complete games for Oklahoma State.
A host of new faces on the offensive side looks to improve the team’s .222 batting average of a year ago. Outfielder Steven Blackwood won MVP honors in the New England Collegiate Baseball League last summer, and he followed that up by hitting .369 with 61 RBI for Georgia Tech this season. Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman hit .361 for Virginia, while outfielder Antoan Richardson showed off his speed by stealing 31 bases for Vanderbilt.
The Cardinals open their season at Brewster on June 17, and will play their first game at Eldredge Park – home of the 2004 All-Star Game – on June 19, when they host Harwich.
Orleans alumni in the major leagues include Nomar Garciaparra of Boston (1993), Todd Helton of Colorado (1994), Frank Thomas of the White Sox (1988) and Mark Teixiera of Texas (1999). -- Brian MacPherson, 2004 CCBL Intern, bMacPherson@capecodbaseball.org
John Garner, Jr.