06/26/2008 10:11 AM
for immediate release: 26 June, 2008
Falmouth Commodores 2008 Season Preview and Update
Falmouth Relies on Infield Depth,
Durability for Return to Playoff Finals
FALMOUTH, Mass. – If the first week of the 2008 season is any indication, the Falmouth Commodores offense is a force to be reckoned with. And one that looks to only get stronger as the Commodores aim for their third visit to the Cape Cod Baseball League Championship Series in five years.
It’s all about depth and durability in the infield. Joey Wong (Oregon State), a member of the All College World Series Team in 2007, and Kevin Nolan (Winthrop) are the go-to guys up the middle of the infield. Wong started 29 games for the Commodores in 2007 and was steady offensively with a .252 average and 10 RBI. Nolan began his summer campaign with the Commodores with a bang, going 4-for-5 in the season opener, including a solo home run and two doubles. It was a performance that earned him a share of the Coca-Cola Player of the Week award.
The Commodores are awaiting the arrival of Diego Seastrunk (Rice), whose Owls were playing in the College World Series. Seastrunk had a phenomenal spring, leading Rice in batting (.353) and RBI (61), and will likely be the everyday third baseman.
Tim Fedroff (North Carolina) will join the outfield corps of A.J. Pollock (Notre Dame) and Ryan Jones (Wichita State) now that the Tar Heels have completed their run for the College World Series title. Fedroff finished third in the ACC in batting at .398 and ranked second in the nation in hits with 105, only 11 behind the leader and former Cape League standout Buster Posey. Pollock has been a catalyst batting leadoff, while Jones displayed his power Thursday with a three-run homer. UCLA’s Gabe Cohen is also on his way to add depth to the stellar outfield.
Trevor Coleman (Missouri) and Michael Thomas (Southern University) are sharing the catching duties for the Commodores. Coleman started 54 games for the Tigers this past spring, balancing a .295 batting average with a .989 fielding percentage. According to general manager Dan Dunn, Thomas has “an arm that is second to none.”
So far, the Commodores have built their starting rotation around Chad Bettis and Nate Karns, both from Texas Tech, as well as Alex Wilson (Texas A&M) and Nick Tepesch (Missouri). Oregon State’s Jorge Reyes, who was the 2007 Most Outstanding Player in the College World Series, has jumped into that rotation as well.
Returnee Preston Claiborne (Tulane) leads a bullpen that also includes Nate Striz (North Carolina), Evan Danielli (Notre Dame), Travis Lawler (Florida), Aaron Loup (Tulane), Rex Brothers (Lipscomb), Tommy Toledo (Florida) and Ben Tootle (Jacksonville State). Claiborne posted a 3-2 record and a 3.32 ERA in 11 games for Falmouth last summer.
Like most Cape League teams, the Commodores, early in the season have several temporary players, including pitchers Chris Gloor (Quinnipiac), Shaeffer Hall (Kansas), and Jonathan Kountis (Ohio Dom.). Jimmy Cesario (Houston), A.J. Wirnsberger (Georgia Southern) and Darin Ruf (Creighton) have helped out in the infield while vying for a spot on the final roster.
“I think we will probably have a little bit more power in our lineup than we did last year,” Dunn said. “Catching and defense will be exceptional. We are excited because we are coming off the West Division playoff championship and we made the Cape League finals last year. We have a few good players coming back that we think will carry us.”
Falmouth alumni presently earning Major League pay checks include four current members of the Boston Red Sox – catcher Kevin Cash (1999), relief pitchers Javier Lopez (1997) and David Aardsma (2002) and outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury (2004), who hit .438 and started all four games of the 2007 World Series. Houston Astros roommates Mark Loretta (1991, 1992) and Darin Erstad (1993, 1994), San Diego Padre Khalil Greene (1999, 2000) and St. Louis Cardinal Adam Kennedy (1996) also wore Commodore pinstripes.
Laura Rasmussen, CCBL Intern ([email protected])