HYANNIS ---- This year’s Harbor Hawks are off to a rocky start. First in the Western Division at one point, they are now tied for second with a 7-8 record, and they have right-hander Brian Dupra (Notre Dame) partly to thank.
A Rochester, N.Y. native, Dupra has been with the Cape League for three years, spending the last two with the Harwich Mariners. Initially signed as a temporary player with the Harbor Hawks, he recently inked a full contract after rejecting an offer to join the Detroit Tigers organization. He has helped the Harbor Hawks with a 2.46 ERA and a team-leading 12 strikeouts.
Dupra is missed in Harwich. This became obvious when he faced the Mariners last Tuesday. Fans murmured and reminisced about his two years with them. One fan wanted to go see how he was doing because they missed him so much.
“Harwich loved Dupra, the town and especially his host family,” general manager Bill Bussiere said.
Dupra pitched well, although the Harbor Hawks eventually lost.
As for hard feelings between the teams sharing players?
“There’s always good healthy competition between the teams, but the coaches all talk throughout the year and are friends, and some of the players come from the same school and play on the same team. It’s all good fun,” Bussiere said.
Players come and go in the Cape League. They sign pro contracts, come back from the College World Series, or go play for Team USA. Bussiere shed some light on the situation.
“The players we sign at the beginning of the season, we have a permanent contract with, we honor those commitments, but sometimes, like with the College World Series, we need to have temporary players step in,” he said.
These are usually players like Dupra who cannot commit to a whole summer. Although a first pick for Harwich for the past two years, it was thought that his presence in the league this summer would only be needed for a short time.
“My dream has always been to play professional baseball and I’m ready to get started,” he told the Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle.
Despite that desire, he will spend this summer with the Harbor Hawks.
Through the uncertainty, the Harbor Hawks are adapting to the many changes, with the help of field manager Chad Glassman.
“Chad and I are very honest with the guys. We let them know ahead of time who will play and what is in store for their season here in Hyannis,” Bussiere said. “The final roster is due July 12th. We’ll see where we all stand then.”