06/17/2023 6:12 PM
Article By: Brian Butler
The 2023 Cape League season kicked off this week, and teams wasted no time getting going. The first week had many exciting highlights, and several players had outstanding performances.
Bourne Braves: Kodey Shojinaga, IF/C, Kansas
Kodey Shojinaga got off to a hot start this week for the Braves. Shojinaga has appeared in all six of Bourne’s games so far, starting in all but one of them. The Jayhawk infielder has recorded at least one hit in each start, and strung together three straight multi-hit showings to open the campaign. His .520 on-base percentage is currently eighth in the league. The Bourne standout has also walked more times (5) than he has struck out (3) across his 25 plate appearances.
Brewster Whitecaps: Dylan Leach, C, Missouri
The ‘Caps are rolling to start the summer, much of which is thanks to Dylan Leach. Leach is hitting .368 across his five games, and that start has been fueled by two multi hit showings. Leach also has an OPS just over 1.000 to start the summer, slashing .368/.478/.526 in the early going of the season.. One of the highlights of the Tiger backstop’s week was his performance in Chatham on Sunday night, where he went 2-4 with a homer, two runs scored, a walk and a stolen base. As the Whitecaps look to three-peat as Eastern Division champions, Dylan Leach looks poised to be a key factor.
Chatham Anglers: Matthew Wilkinson, LHP, Central Arizona College
Matthew Wilkinson absolutely knows how to get the people going. He has made just one appearance so far, but it was nothing short of electric. Wilkinson pitched five perfect innings of relief, striking out eight as he got the win for the Anglers on Tuesday against Orleans. As the outing developed, the Canadian southpaw began to fire up the crowd as he came off the mound after each inning. It truly was an incredible Cape Cod debut for the man they call “Tugboat”.
Cotuit Kettleers: Brett Bateman, OF, Minnesota
Brett Bateman has powered the Cotuit Kettleers strong start to the season. The Minnesota outfielder is currently fourth in the league with a .438 batting average, and his 4.74 runs created rank tenth. Bateman has recorded a hit in each of Cotuit’s five games, and has back-to-back games with two hits. He has also been a speed threat, tied for third in the league with three stolen bases. The Gopher’s week was highlighted by his Opening Day performance against Chatham, where he went 2-4 with a double, four RBI, and a stolen base. Brett Bateman looks like he’s going to be a big factor for the Kettleers this summer.
Falmouth Commodores: KC Hunt, RHP, Mississippi State
KC Hunt had all the makings of a lockdown reliever for Falmouth this week. The Bulldog righthander has appeared twice for the Commodores, earning the save in each outing. Hunt’s first appearance of the year was a dominant one, as he went 3.0 innings with seven strikeouts to earn the save against Harwich. The Falmouth fireman has also yet to walk a batter through 5.0 innings pitched, holding opposing hitters to a .211 average. As the summer carries on, keep an eye on KC Hunt in the Falmouth bullpen.
Harwich Mariners: Andrew Armstrong, RHP, Florida State
The major highlight of the week for Harwich was manager Steve Englert’s 400th career win in the Cape League, and Andrew Armstrong was a major factor in reaching that milestone. Armstrong got the start in Harwich’s shutout win on Wednesday, tossing five scoreless innings with seven punchouts. The Mariner righty allowed just four total baserunners, surrendering two hits and walking two more. Armstrong will look to be a key piece of the Harwich rotation this summer.
Hyannis Harbor Hawks: Billy Amick, IF, Clemson
Billy Amick has appeared in just three games for the Hawks so far, but he’s certainly made the most of them. Amick has recorded an out in just two of his 11 plate appearances, and has already hit two homers, one of which came with an early bat flip of the year contender. The Hyannis infielder comfortably leads the league in runs created with 10.4, and he has an other-worldly .875 isolated power through the first week. Billy Amick will certainly be a name to watch in Hyannis this summer.
Orleans Firebirds: Daniel Avitia, RHP, Grand Canyon
Daniel Avitia has already started twice for the Firebirds, and each outing has been very impressive. Avitia is tied for the league lead in strikeouts with 11, and he has allowed just one earned run in his nine innings pitched. Across his two starts, the Orleans hurler has held opponents to just a .206 batting average. Daniel Avitia looks like he’s going to be a big part of the Orleans pitching staff this summer.
Wareham Gatemen: Mark Manfredi, LHP, Dayton
There was nobody flyer than Mark Manfredi in Wareham this week. Manfredi made his first start for the Gatemen on Monday, tossing four innings without giving up an earned run. The Dayton southpaw allowed just two hits, both singles, in the outing while striking out five. Mark Manfredi looks prepared to be a key cog in the Wareham rotation over the weeks to come.
Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox: Nathan Archer, CF, Bowling Green State
While it’s difficult to pick just one player for Y-D to highlight, Nathan Archer’s performance could not be ignored. Archer has recorded three multi-hit outings already, highlighted by an outing on Wednesday where he went 3-4 with a homer and two runs scored. After the first week, the Y-D outfielder has a 1.143 OPS, and is tied for their league lead with two long balls. Archer has also driven in five so far for the Red Sox. Following an outstanding showing in the first week, Nathan Archer looks ready to have a strong summer.