THIS WEEK IN THE CAPE LEAGUE
(27 June – 3 July 2004)
Written by Cape League Interns Britt Berry, TJ Lasita, Brian MacPherson
Contributions from Cape League Historian Bruce Hack
Coca Cola Pitcher and Player of the Week
COCA COLA PITCHER OF THE WEEK
For the second straight week Brewster southpaw Matt Goyen (Athens, Ga/ Georgia College) has been named Pitcher of the Week and this time he has the award to himself.
Goyen pitched the best game of the young season as he limited Orleans to two hits and strikeout a season-high 18 batters on 30 June. The two singles came in the first inning another Cardinal did not reach base as he retired the final 26 batters. He also struck out the final seven batters. Goyen set a Brewster record for strikeouts and was three shy of the league record held by Jim Jachym (Falmouth).
COCA COLA PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Harwich’s John Slone (Cincinnati, OH/Miami University) earns Player of the Week honors after hitting .478 in five games for the Mariners. The right-handed hitting catcher had 11 hits in 23 at bats, scored four runs, drove in three and had two doubles. In the Mariners 10-1 win over Brewster on the 28th he was 3-for-4 with three RBI. He scored the winning run in the 2-1 win over Bourne on the 30th as he scored from second on a wild pitch.
Brewster pitching duo has Whitecaps on top.
The Brewster Whitecaps end the third week of the Cape Cod Baseball League season tied for first place in the East Division with the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox. The Whitecaps have won three in a row and five of their last ten games.
Brewster pitching has kept the Whitecaps in the hunt especially the dynamic duo of Josh Cribb (Clemson) and Matt Goyen (Georgia College).
Righty Josh Cribb and southpaw Matt Goyen have been dominating in the early going. The two pitchers are tied for first in the league with a 0.00 ERA and both have 3-0 records. In a complete game shutout against the Orleans Cardinals on Wednesday, Goyen struck out eighteen batters, walked none, and gave up only two hits. As of Friday, he leads the league with 35 strikeouts.
Cribb and Goyen are the only CCBL pitchers to have tossed a shutout and also to have pitched a complete game. Brewster leads the league with a 1.81 ERA.
Infielder Ryan Roberson (George Washington) has been hot offensively, eighth in the league in batting average at .300, and also boasting fifteen hits and eight RBI through July 2. Will Rhymes (William & Mary) is third in the league in hits with 17 as of July 2 as well.
Ryan Patterson (LSU) returned to Brewster this week after postseason play with the LSU Tigers. Patterson was a member of the 2003 East Division Championship team. Steve Tolleson (South Carolina) and Michael Campbell (South Carolina) also arrived in Brewster, making their debuts against the Chatham A’s on Saturday evening. -Britt Berry, 2004 CCBL Intern, bBerry@capecodbaseball.org
Harwich Mariners (8-6, third in East, 4-1 last week)
After winning three games in a row and five of their last ten, the Mariners are back in contention for first place in the East Division. Harwich is in third place, two games behind Yarmouth-Dennis and Brewster. Brent Lillibridge (Washington) is fourth in the league with three homeruns and Ben Copeland (Pittsburgh) is tied for third with six stolen bases.
On Tuesday at Whitehouse Field the Mariners and the Red Sox went to extra innings. Both teams had scored early in the game, with the Mariners stringing together doubles by Mike Pankratz (Baylor) and Lillibridge in the bottom of the third. In the bottom of the eleventh inning, Eric Eymann (Illinois) doubled to right, followed by a single by Player of the Week John Slone (Miami University). Eymann stole third, Tim Grogan (Western Kentucky) walked, and Eymann came around to score the winning run on a Red Sox throwing error.
Harwich’s Dan Brauer (Northwestern) is 3-0, tied for the league lead in wins, with a 1.00 ERA (ninth in the league). Brauer has given up only five hits in eighteen innings pitched. He has walked only six, while striking out 27, good enough for second in the league through Saturday.
Brauer held the Bourne Braves to one hit in six innings on Wednesday, giving up one earned run, two walks, and striking out thirteen. The Mariners scored two runs with credit to doubles by Jon Aughey (Citadel) and Slone in the third and fourth innings, respectively. Wild pitches by the Bourne pitching staff allowed the Mariners to come home. Kevin Lynch (Florida State) and Craig Hansen (St. John’s) combined to finish the final three innings of the game, giving up one combined hit, one walk, and four strikeouts. Hansen earned his second save. --Britt Berry, 2004 CCBL Intern, bBerry@capecodbaseball.org
Chatham Athletics (6-8, tied for 4th in East, 2-3 last week)
A’s pitcher Kyle Bono (University of Central Florida) is second in the league in saves with three, giving up only two hits and two walks and striking out thirteen in eight innings. The Chatham pitching staff has a 2.36 ERA, third in the league.
On Tuesday night at Veterans’ Field in Chatham, A’s hitters jumped on Brewster starter Phil Davidson (N.C. State) early, tagging him for two runs in the bottom of the second inning. Singles by Chris Getz (Michigan), Robby Jacobson (George Mason), and a sacrifice fly to left by Zach Dillon (Baylor) put Chatham on top. The A’s scored again in the sixth, thanks to a double by Travis Storrer (Clemson), a wild pitch from Brewster’s Davidson, and a single by Ryan Bono (University of Central Florida) to come away with a 3-1 win.
On Friday night against the Falmouth Commodores, pitcher Andrew Miller (UNC-Chapel Hill) struck out twelve batters through four innings. However, the infamous Chatham fog rolled in, and after a delay the game was called. Unfortunately for Miller, as well as the A’s who racked up several hits, since the game did not go the required five full innings, all statistics from the game are discounted. It is believed Miller is the first Cape League pitcher to record the first 12 outs of a game by strike out. --Britt Berry, 2004 CCBL Intern, bBerry@capecodbaseball.org
Orleans (6-9, tied for 4th place in East Division, 3-3 last week)
Early in the season, Orleans hitters focused primarily on working the count and waiting for opposing pitchers to throw strikes. But the results weren’t exactly what the Cardinals wanted – the team compiled a meager .139 batting average through its first eight games.
But even when they were struggling, the Cardinals found success when they put the first pitch into play. They hit the first offering for a .355 clip through eight games, but they did so just 11 percent of the time.
“At first, a lot of the guys were watching balls go by that were probably hittable,” said left fielder Steven Blackwood (Georgia Tech), whose batting average of .275 leads all Cardinals with at least 25 at-bats. “That gets you down, and you’re in trouble in this league if you get down in the count.”
In an effort to change its fortune, Orleans adapted the Snickers hitting philosophy.
Hungry? Why wait?
“We’ve changed our approach,” Blackwood said. “We’re trying to be more aggressive at the plate and swing at first-pitch strikes.”
In three games between June 27 and June 29 – all wins – the Cardinals put the first pitch in play more than 23 percent of the time, and they were rewarded with a .375 batting average on those swings. Not coincidentally, the overall team batting average jumped 42 points in that time span.
Even in a losing effort, the Cardinals accumulated a season-high 12 hits against Cotuit on Friday. Jordan Brown (Arizona) had three hits to raise his batting average to .417 in six games since he arrived.
Three games with Chatham in the next five days, including a home-and-home set on Sunday and Monday, will go far in determining whether the Cardinals will be able to make a move in the East Division. -- Brian MacPherson, CCBL Intern, firstname.lastname@example.org
Yarmouth-Dennis (9-6, first place tie in East Division, 3-3 last week)
Maybe Tony Sipp had the right idea.
After watching Yarmouth-Dennis left fielder Matt LaPorta (Florida) drive a monster home run over the left-field fence on Wednesday, the Cotuit pitcher reverted to the careful approach and walked the Florida freshman in his next two plate appearances. LaPorta did no more damage in the game, and the Kettleers earned a 6-3 victory.
More so than any other team, the Red Sox have relied on two players to carry them through the early part of the year. LaPorta and catcher Frank Curreri (Massachusetts) have combined to hit .352 with six home runs and 19 RBI thus far, monstrous production for the month of June, when pitchers tend to dominate.
“He’s got unbelievable power to all fields,” Curreri said about his teammate. “He miss hits balls and still hits them 500 feet. Unbelievable.”
Curreri had no elaborate success strategy.
“They throw it, you hit it, you hit it where it’s pitched,” he said. “That’s all I’m basically doing.”
But the rest of the Y-D team has hit just .211 with four home runs and 44 RBI in the season’s first 14 games. And when Bourne pitchers held LaPorta and Curreri to one hit in seven at-bats on Friday, the Red Sox went down to defeat.
The team’s pitchers allowed a total of nine earned runs during the team’s three-game losing streak earlier in the week, but a 4-1 victory against Orleans on Saturday could be the spark the team needed to reverse its fortune.
“Our pitching staff is doing fine, our hitters took a little bit of time off, but we’ll be back,” Curreri said. “(Saturday) was a good jumping-off point.” -- Brian MacPherson, CCBL Intern, email@example.com
Cotuit (9-5-1, 1st in West, 3-1-1 last week)
The game of baseball is pretty simple. If you score more runs than the other team, you win. Even more simple, if you don’t let the other teams score, you’re going to win a lot of games. It took a sacrifice fly in the third frame Wednesday by the Falmouth Commodores to snap the Cotuit Kettleers’ run of 33 consecutive shutout innings, the second longest streak in league history. The game ended in a 3-3 tie, called due to darkness after eleven innings of play.
“I think the key was we threw strikes – very few walks in those 33 innings,” said Kettleers’ manager Mike Roberts. “Not many teams up here, if you throw strikes, are going to bunch three or four hits in a row.”
After allowing 14 runs to the Bourne Braves on opening day, the Cotuit defense has grown stingier, allowing just 28 runners to cross home plate since, through Saturday.
“The key to our defense so far this year has not been how good we field and throw, it’s been more how the outfielders and infielders have been placed,” Roberts said.
The Cotuit defense will look to be a factor once again this week, as the Kettleers take on the Brewster Whitecaps and Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox, two of the top teams in the West Division. Yarmouth-Dennis, featuring slugger Matt LaPorta, is one of the Cape League’s most dangerous offensive threats.
While the West Division race remains tight, Cotuit is enjoying life at the top. Winning seven of their last ten through Saturday, the Kettleers have the league’s best record. Second place Bourne is lurking, however, as the Braves were three points back, entering Sunday. The two teams will do battle Thursday, in a 5 p.m. start at Elizabeth Lowell Park. -- T.J. Lasita; CCBL Intern; TJLasita@capecodbaseball.org
Falmouth (5-8-1, fourth in West, 1-3-1 last week)
In the Cape Cod Baseball League this season, it’s debatable which team is the best. Several teams can make a case for having the best pitching staff. Several more can say they have the league’s best defense. But when it comes to which Cape League team has the most power, the case is closed.
Through Saturday’s games, the Falmouth Commodores have clearly shown their ability to hit the ball out of the park. Entering Sunday, the Commodores have belted a league-leading 18 home runs on the season. In second place is Yarmouth-Dennis, which has 10, through Saturday.
“I think a lot of nights we’re going to be able to swing the bats,” said manager Jeff Trundy. “A good pitcher is still going to dominate at times, but I feel very confident that our lineup is going to be able to score runs on a lot of evenings.”
This should come as no surprise, as two of the league’s most feared power threats reside in the heart of the Falmouth order. Daniel Carte (Winthrop) and Mark Hamilton (Tulane) have combined for ten home runs so far this season.
After a rocky start that left him searching for his first base hit of the season, Daniel Carte has propelled himself to the top of the league in home runs with six, through Saturday.
“I think at first, he was trying a little too hard, and that’s customary for kids up here,” Trundy said. “I think he started to get down a little bit, but he’s got some confidence and I think it just took a couple of hits to get him going, of course those couple of hits were home runs.
Putting his tough start behind him, Carte is hitting .235 through Saturday, with eight RBI and 12 runs scored.
“I think he’s going to have a good rest of the summer – it just took him a while to get settled in,” Trundy said. “He was disappointed with the way he started, but at least he didn’t let it affect him for the rest of the summer the way I have seen some kids let that happen.”
Falmouth is climbing the West Division standings after playing near .500 ball in their last seven games through Saturday. -- T.J. Lasita; CCBL Intern; TJLasita@capecodbaseball.org
Bourne (8-7, 2nd in West, 2-4 last week)
It’s no secret that the nation’s best collegiate hitters flock to Cape Cod each summer. There’s also no hiding that the country’s premier pitchers show off their talent every year on The Cape. So it should come as no surprise that when a guy can do both--hit and pitch--people take notice.
Enter Micah Owings. The big right hander from Georgia Tech has made waves for Bourne this summer at the plate and on the hill.
“When you have a limited roster of 23, it’s nice to have two-way guys,” said Braves manager Harvey Shapiro. “It’s like getting two guys for one.”
Through Saturday’s games, Owings has not disappointed from either end of the game. On the hill, Owings has yet to allow a run to cross the plate in five innings of work. Along the way, he’s scattered four hits and struck out ten batters. Offensively, Owings has hit .286, with five RBI working primarily as the team’s designated hitter.
“We actually had a couple guys do it last year, but they maybe weren’t as impressive as him as far as potential,” Shapiro said. “He has a very high ceiling.”
The Braves have needed all the offense they can get. After scoring 14 runs in a blowout win on opening day, the Bourne offense has hit the skids. Going 2-4 for the week, the Braves were shut out twice and scored no more than three runs.
Still, Shapiro is confident his club can turn it around.
“We’ve got to keep working at it, but they’re coming,” he said. “It’s an adjustment and we have some young guys, but they’ve just got to keep working.”
The Braves will be tested this week, as they’ll engage first place Cotuit in a battle for West Division supremacy. -- T.J. Lasita; CCBL Intern; TJLasita@capecodbaseball.org
Hyannis (7-7, third place in Western Division, 4-1 last week)
Good things come to those who wait. And for a Hyannis team in need of a boost to propel it away from the basement of the West Division, Mark Sauls (Florida State) and Justin Tordi (Florida) couldn’t have shown up at a better time.
Tordi, who hit .184 in 43 games with Hyannis last season, announced his arrival with a 3-run home run against Falmouth on Wednesday. But his biggest hit of the week came in Saturday’s 10-inning thriller against a surging Cotuit squad. With Pat Reilly on second base in the bottom of the 10th, Tordi stroked a single just inside the left-field line to drive in the winning run.
“When you get someone who comes in here for a second year, they know what to expect,” said Hyannis coach Greg King. “They know every pitcher that comes out can shut them down.”
Sauls struck out more than a batter an inning and compiled an earned run average of 2.38 in 13 appearances with the Mets last season, but his first start of the new season didn’t come until June 27. The Mets’ record stood at 3-6, and they were visiting a Chatham team still smarting from a 5-1 defeat the week before.
The Florida State righthander was up to the task. He stymied the A’s through seven innings, scattering three hits and striking out five.
Sauls held Chatham at bay long enough for the Mets to take home a 2-0 victory, the second of what would be a four-game winning streak that left Hyannis tied for second place.
“He’s another guy with experience,” King said. “He’s aggressive, he goes after hitters, and I’m glad he’s here.”
Saturday’s win against Cotuit helped the Mets make up ground in the division, and a trip to Bourne on July 9 only will continue the sorting of the pecking order. Looking ahead, the annual game at Sandwich High School will feature Hyannis and Wareham on July 12. -- Brian MacPherson, CCBL Intern, firstname.lastname@example.org
Wareham (5-10, 5th in West, 0-6 last week)
They might not be Pedro Martinez and Curt Schilling, but as far as Cape League hitters are concerned, Brad Furnish and Mark McCormick are not too far off.
Just a few weeks into the season, the Wareham duo has established itself as one of the most potent strikeout combinations in the league. Entering Sunday’s game, Furnish and McCormick combined for 48 Ks in 39 innings of work.
“They both come right at you,” said Gatemen manager Cooper Farris. “They both have three pitches that they can throw for strikes, too.”
Through Saturday, McCormick posted a 1-0 record, while boasting a 0.95 ERA. The right hander from Baylor allowed a combined nine hits and three runs in his first three starts of the season.
Furnish has shown similar success, but has yet to see the win column entering Sunday’s affair. The southpaw features a 1.80 ERA, but has only one decision – a loss – in his first three starts of the year.
“It’s good,” Farris said of being able to pencil in a pair of strikeout artists in the starting rotation. “If we could just score a few runs for them, it would be really good.”
That lack of run support is one of the factors that has led to Wareham’s recent eight game losing streak. The Gatemen were outscored 19-7 in their last five games, entering Sunday. After jumping out to a quick 4-0 start, Wareham is now 5-10 and in the basement of the West Division, through Saturday. But, with contests against West Division foes Hyannis and Falmouth on their plate this week, the Gatemen will look to climb their way back up the standings. -- T.J. Lasita; CCBL Intern; TJLasita@capecodbaseball.org
John Garner, Jr.
CCBL Director of Public Relations & Broadcasting
(508) 790-0394 email@example.com