for immediate release: 28 May, 2006
Harwich Mariners 2006 Season Preview
HARWICH, Mass. -- Breaking the Cape Cod Baseball League record by averaging 10 strikeouts per game and holding the best shutout record of the season are facts that would lead people to expect another great season of pitching from the Harwich Mariners.
The Mariners seem to have an abundance of outstanding pitchers for the 2006 season, but unfortunately, looks may be deceiving. Because of the USA Baseball National Team, most of the top pitchers on the roster may not be in a Mariners uniform this summer.
There is always a risk when choosing high-profile players, and over the next few weeks, the Mariners are in danger of losing some of their best players to Team USA. Second-time invitee OF/LHP Sean Doolittle (Virginia) will be joined by LHP Nick Schmidt (Arkansas) and IF/RHP Damon Sublett (Wichita State) at the USA Baseball National Team Trials in Durham, NC. An additional 33 players from across the country will be invited to tryout for the 22-man Team USA roster, which will be announced July 1.
This is a familiar situation for field manager Steve Englert. Although each team in the CCBL loses players every year, the Mariners seem to be taking the brunt of it this year. In his fourth year as head coach, Englert takes it all in stride, discussing how each year “everyone is in the same situation with losing players – the roster changes on a weekly basis.”
Englert’s major concern is that players, whoever they may be, “show up on time and stay healthy.” With the Team USA roster announcement date in July, it is obvious that some of the star players will not be in Harwich to start off the season.
However, there are still a lot of reasons for the Mariners to be excited. First and foremost, there will still be great pitching. One of the major reasons the Mariners are set to have an amazing rotation is junior Nick Hill (US Military Academy). Hill consistently throws over 90 miles per hour and is one of the top pitchers ever to play for Army. Englert has high hopes for the left-handed pitcher and believes Nick is a “definite future prospect.”
One of the returning Mariners, RHP Dan McDonald (Seton Hall), has done well on the mound and been a regular force at the plate for the Pirates this spring. McDonald will remain a constant in the rotation this summer. Pitching teammates Tony Watson and Johnny Dorn (Nebraska) are both having a tremendous season with winning records and solid ERAs.
Although pitching seems to be the Mariners’ claim to fame, they are also stocking dependable power hitters and good speed in their lineup. Remaining in the middle of the lineup will be returning infielder Chad Flack (North Carolina). Flack is third on his team with a .375 average and is 13-14 in stolen base attempts. Teammate IF Josh Horton is leading the Tar Heels with a .398 average and is rated the No. 19 sophomore prospect by Baseball America.
Other sources of power and speed will come from OF Matt Hague (Washington) and IF Sergio Miranda (Virginia Commonwealth). Hague is leading his team with a .391 average and is a perfect 9-9 in stolen base attempts, while the impressive Miranda is leading the Rams with a .415 average and a .580 slugging percentage.
The Mariners will host their home opener on Friday, June 16 at Whitehouse Field. They begin their season by taking on the Wareham Gatemen at Clem Spillane Field on Thursday, June 15.
Johnna DeChristoforo, firstname.lastname@example.org