08/28/2009 11:28 AM
Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox 2009 Season Review
Mixed Emotions Pervade Y-D Red Sox Results
During Cape League Season
By Mike Campbell, CCBL intern
South Yarmouth, Mass.—It’s hard to imagine a season that could have been both more successful and disappointing for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox.
Y-D’s regular season was as much as anyone could have hoped for in the Cape Cod Baseball League. After a mediocre 4-6 start, the Red Sox went on a tear, winning nine games in a row. The streak propelled the squad into first place, and Y-D never looked back until its final game.
Under field manager Scott Pickler, the Red Sox continued their winning ways. They finished the season with a league-best record of 28-15-1, good for the Eastern Division title top seed in the CCBL Playoffs. Y-D finished with a total of 57 points. The next closest teams were Bourne in the West and Orleans in the East, each with 52 points.
This year’s Y-D team was one of the best in recent memory, even compared to championship teams in 2004, 2006, and 2007. The Red Sox led the league in team batting (.261) and led the league in ERA for the majority of the season, until Orleans leapfrogged them late. The staff finished a tenth of a run behind the Firebirds, recording a remarkable 2.79.
The Sox nearly swept the season’s individual awards. Starter Chris Sale (Florida Gulf Coast) was named the BFC Whitehouse Outstanding Pitcher of the Year, first baseman Mickey Wiswall (Boston College) was awarded the John Claffey New England Pro Prospect of the Year, closer Tyler Burgoon (Michigan) was named the Russ Ford Reliever of the Year, and Pickler, earned the Mike Curran Manager of the Year award.
The Red Sox filled the stat sheet to an astounding extent. Sale led the league in with 55 strikeouts and 55 innings pitched, tied for first in wins with four, and finished third in the league with a 1.47 earned run average.
Games for the Red Sox were often shortened to eight innings, thanks to shut-down closer Burgoon, whose 12 saves lead the league. Wiswall finished second in the CCBL with 30 RBI and recorded a .302 batting average. Outfielder Austin Wates (Virginia Tech) may have been Y-D’s best all-around hitter before hitting a slump late in the year. He led the league in hitting for a large part of the season, ultimately finishing fourth at .312. Wates finished second to Wiswall in RBI (21), hits (43), total bases (55), and led the team in on-base percentage (.395).
Y-D also led the Cape league in All-Star selections, with 7; Sale, Wiswall, Wates, shortstop Blake Kelso (Houston) and infielder Tyler Hanover (LSU) were all named to the East squad. Wiswall, Wates and Kelso were named starters, and Sale was named East MVP.
Needless to say, Y-D entered the post season as a favorite to win the Arnold Mycock Trophy as league champions. Cotuit had other plans.
As the first seed, the Red Sox drew the Kettleers, who had beaten Wareham in the first round. Despite a valiant effort by Sale (three runs, one earned in eight plus innings) in the first game of the series, the Red Sox were not able to overcome an eight-inning shutout by Cotuit‘s Chad Bell (Walter State JC).
Y-D returned to form in game 2, erupting for 10 runs in a 10-5 win behind Jonathan Jones’ (Long Beach State) 4-5 effort. Game 3 was the ultimate disappointment, though, for the regular season champs. Nine innings away from a date with Bourne in the championship, Red Sox lost in convincing fashion: a Cotuit victory, 18-4.
2009 was everything the Red Sox could have wished it to be up until August 8, when a disappointing effort in the playoffs turned the season sour.
But after a last place finish in 2008, this past season leaves the Y-D organization looking forward to more success in the future. With the recruiting proficiency of Pickler, General Manager Jim Martin, and area scouts across the country—evidenced by the amount of individual awards that Y-D secured during the season—there is no reason why we should not see Y-D at the top of the standings again in 2010.
Mike Campbell can be reached at [email protected]