08/17/2008 2:17 PM
Hyannis Mets 2008 Season Review
Mets Barely Miss Playoffs
And Positive Changes Give
Hyannis High Hopes for ’09
HYANNIS, Mass. -- Just by looking at the 2008 Hyannis Mets’ record, the team doesn’t appear to have improved very much from 2007, as it managed just one additional win. But looking at everything else that happened around Hyannis and McKeon Park, there were significant improvements in nearly every aspect of the organization, culminating with the Mets being awarded the Commissioner’s Cup as the Cape League’s outstanding franchise.
General manager Bill Bussiere and manager Rick Robinson created a new vibrancy at McKeon that could be easily seen and felt. The new lights attracted more people to the park, setting records at the gate. Robinson, who has a career winning percentage above .700 at Young Harris College in Georgia, accepts nothing but the best.
The Mets got off to a blazing start, going 16-9 through 25 games to hold a commanding lead in the West Division. Pitching was the key to the Mets’ hot start. Andrew Carraway (Virginia) established himself as the staff ace, going 4-2 with a 1.90 ERA in 10 games, and Russell Brewer (Vanderbilt) was the team’s stopper, posting a team-record 12 saves with a 2.74 ERA on his way to winning the Russ Ford Award as the CCBL’s outstanding relief pitcher.
If Carraway was No. 1 in the rotation, then Austin Hudson (Central Florida) was 1A. Hudson, who returned to the Mets for a second season, went 1-2 with a league-best 1.50 ERA in seven starts before a broken jaw ended his season.
The Mets’ fortunes took a downward turn when players started dropping like flies during a tough stretch of 20-plus games in a row. Ten different players came and went over the course of the summer, and at one point the Mets were operating with a 19-man roster, 10 position players and nine pitchers.
The rest of the West overtook the Mets when Hyannis fell into a seven-game losing streak just before the All-Star Game. Although the Mets were able to put together a surprising three-game winning streak after the break, the team never recovered and ended up missing the playoffs by three points with a final record of 22-22.
The Hyannis offense struggled all season, but it did have its bright spots. Third baseman Chris Dominguez (Louisville) led the league with 10 home runs and drove in 31 runs. First baseman Ben Paulsen (Clemson) was arguably the team’s best all-around player. He hit .290 with eight home runs and 33 RBI and he set a league record at first base by playing all 44 games without committing an error. Outfielder Trent Ashcraft (East Carolina) was among the league batting leaders all summer, finishing with a .327 average.
All three of the hitters were starters on the West Division All-Star Team. Paulsen won the West’s MVP Award at the game in Chatham.
Despite all the promise that started the season, it ultimately ended with a tough stretch that saw a playoff berth evaporate in a last-day doubleheader. After a season of positive change at McKeon Park, Hyannis’s goal will be to return to postseason play in 2009.
Chris Blake, CCBL Intern ([email protected])
Interns: Chris Blake, James Chandley, Ashley Crosby, Phil Garceau, Stefanie Marini, Laura Rasmussen