06/09/2007 1:58 PM
Cape League Kicks off Season with Exhibition
against U.S. Military All-Stars
CHATHAM, Mass- Fans got their first taste of what promises to be a great summer for the Cape Cod Baseball League tonight as the US Military All-stars took on a team of early arrivers from the Cape League.
Tonight's 3-1 win by the Cape Leaguers over the visiting Military All-Stars was the first of two times that these teams will match up, and, as is frequently the case, it was all about pitching tonight. The Cape League team switched pitchers every inning and all looked sharp for the first game, but the key player for tonight’s game was Lucas Ledbetter of Columbia Louisiana. Ledbetter threw seven plus innings giving up only three runs on five hits and one walk while striking out eight Cape Leaguers.
The game was scoreless through four innings has Ledbetter matched the individual performance of four different Cape League pitchers. In the first inning it was Bill Purdy (Columbia) of the Wareham Gatemen getting the job done striking out two and walking one. Next up on the mound was Sam Whalen (Babson) also of Wareham who also struck out two batters on his way to a perfect inning. Shawn Haviland (Harvard) of Yarmouth Dennis, and Keith Cantwell (Seton Hall) of Falmouth each gave up one hit while striking out two batters.
In the top half of the fifth Brandon Copp (Northern Illinois) of Falmouth got to two groundouts and a line drive caught by the first baseman Josh Porter (Northeastern) of Harwich. The Cape League batters finally got to Ledbetter in the bottom of the fifth as Bill Perry (Hartford) doubled into left-center to start the inning. He then advanced to second on a ground ball to second base by Derek Shunk (Villanova) of Cotuit and scored when Hyannis’ Ryan Grant (Brevard Community College) grounded out to Javier Garcia at shortstop. Ledbetter then got Bobby Stevens (Northern Illinois) to hit a ground ball sharply back at the pitcher which he snagged with his bare hand for the last out of the inning.
It wouldn’t take long for the Military All-Stars to tie the game back up as Ronnie Stahl started off the inning by singling into right field off of Chris Sandini (Wentworth). Stahl then stole second base as Sandini struck out Reid Lamson for the first out. Stahl advanced to third on a passed ball on a passed ball and could not advance home on a ground ball back to the pitcher by Henry Santos.
With two down it looked as though Sandini may get out of the inning but instead Stahl was able to score on a wild pitch that got by catcher Ryan Grant. Sandini walked the next two batters before getting Elton Shaw to hit a foul ball that Grant handled for the last out of the inning. Ledbetter made quick work of the Cape League in the bottom of sixth getting a ground ball out to start and striking out the next two batters.
Hyannis Mets pitcher Tyler Stohr (North Florida) took the mound in the seventh and followed the lead of his counterpart inducing a ground ball from Ray Judy and then striking out the next two batters. Ledbetter’s seventh inning wasn’t as easy however. After striking out the first batter he would give up a single to Bill Perry who advanced to third on a double by Shunk. A single to left field by Nick Criaris (Broward Community College) would score Perry and allow Shunk to advance to third who would come home for the third run of the game on a balk by Ledbetter. Bobby Stevens fouled out to the catcher and Mike Tamsin (Northeastern) hit a grounder back to Ledbetter to end the inning.
Jeff Wojnar (Babson) of Bourne pitched a perfect eighth inning striking out all three batters he faced. Ledbetter was given a well deserved round of applause by the fans in the bottom of the eighth as would be pulled from the game after walking Ben Guez (William and Mary). Guez wouldn’t make it past first however as the Military’s new pitcher, Sean McGuire caught him leaning towards second and picked him off at first base. With Guez taken care of McGuire would only need to face two batters to end the inning as he struck out both Nick Romero (San Diego State) and Rich Goulain (Fordham).
Greg Miller (Seton Hall) gave up two walks in the ninth but induced a double play ball from Josh Tips and got John Hernandez to hit a pop-up to third for what would typically be the last out of the game with the home team leading three to one. However, in the spirit of the game, the US Military All-Stars took the field one more time that gave Brian Higgins a chance to take the mound.
Higgins, a native of Centerville, Massachusetts and son of Cape Cod Baseball League senior vice president Jim Higgins, was greeted with a warm round of applause from the fans in Chatham. Higgins pitched a perfect ninth inning to close out the game striking out one and get two outs by way of the ground ball.