WAREHAM, MA - Head Coach Cooper Farris returns to Wareham for his 12th season looking to build upon the success of the last two seasons and move one step beyond consecutive Western Division Finals appearances. Having won CCBL Championships in his first two seasons in 2001 and 2002 and returning to the Finals in 2006, Coach Farris and General Manager Tom Gay have been piecing together a roster that includes some key returning players and many talented newcomers.
Headlined by 2011 CCBL All-League selection first baseman Daniel Palka (Georgia Tech) and 2011 Western Division CCBL All-Star Game MVP right-hand pitcher Konner Wade (Arizona), the Gatemen return seven players from last year’s team that was eliminated by the Falmouth Commodores in the Western Division Finals.
Palka finished the regular season at Georgia Tech fourth in the ACC with 12 home runs and 10th in RBI with 45, and returns as Wareham’s top offensive threat. He will be joined by fellow ACC player and Middleboro, MA native Tyler Horan (Virginia Tech) who finished 2nd in the ACC with 14 homers; bringing some power to projected Wareham lineup.
Not to be overlooked and also returning from last year’s squad is 2011 Gatemen Positional Player of the Year Johnny Field (Arizona). Originally a non-roster invitee, Field impressed early and became one of the best overall players in league. He finished at or near the top of the Pac-10 conference in a number of offensive categories this season. Ty Ross (LSU) will return behind the plate at Spillane Field this summer and his experience will help with almost an entirely new pitching staff. Another local product, Matthew Walsh (Franklin Pierce) from Plymouth, MA and the Northeast 10 Conference’s Rookie of the Year, will share time with Ross at catcher.
Wade will anchor the Wareham pitching staff either as a starter or a closer. His CCBL All-Star selection in 2011 was based on his CCBL-leading 12 saves. However, he was 7-2 and started 14 games this season for the University of Arizona. Either way, Coach Farris has a talented arm to lead what will be an entirely new group with the exception Wade, Dillon Newman (Baylor) and Barrett Astin (Arkansas), who are versatile Cape League veterans.
Jared Ruxer (Louisville) has been one of the best freshman pitchers in the nation this college season and will no doubt compete for a spot in the starting rotation. A pair of LSU Tigers also figure to add to the depth of the staff as Nicholas Rumbelow and Kurt McCune come to Cape Cod for the first time.
Infielder Mott Hyde (Georgia Tech) also returns to the veteran Gatemen infield and figures to spend time up the middle at shortstop and second base. A pair of Hoosiers—short stop Dustin DeMuth and outfielder Kyle Schwarber—will arrive from Indiana, as will the first players in Gatemen history from the University of Oregon—right-hander Brandon Tessar and outfielder Brett Thomas.
Joining Cooper Farris on the bench this season will be legendary college baseball coach Ron Polk. Polk holds the record for wins as a coach in SEC baseball history. The “father of SEC baseball” spent the majority of his career at Mississippi State and is eighth on the all-time NCAA wins list.
Proud to be awarded the CCBL’s Commissioner’s Cup for the 3rd time in 2011, the loyal and dedicated Wareham Gatemen volunteers are putting the final touches on the preparation for another exciting season at Spillane Field. It all gets underway on June 14th when the Gatemen welcome the Chatham Anglers to Spillane Field and begin their quest for another Cape Cod Baseball League Championship.