07/24/2005 12:56 PM
THIS WEEK IN THE CAPE LEAGUE
(17 July – 23 July 2005)
Coca Cola Pitcher and Player of the Week
COCA COLA PLAYER OF THE WEEK
With the week Alex Presley (Mississippi) of Chatham has had, it’s no wonder that he has been named the Coca Cola Player of the Week. In 24 at bats this week, Presley dominated opposing pitchers by banging out 11 hits, including two doubles. In the process, Presley also scored six runs, knocked in five RBI and hit an unbelievable .458 batting average, .542 slugging percentage and .500 on base percentage. Presley leads the league in overall batting average (.375), on base percentage (.445) as well as figuring in the top five in several other statistical categories. Presley is the fifth Chatham A’s player this season to be awarded either the Coca Cola Player or Pitcher of the Week.
COCA COLA PITCHER OF THE WEEK
It only took one pitching performance to do it, but Bourne’s Gib Hobson (NC State) made sure that the Boston SportsTicker remembered it. After dominating the Chatham A’s on July 19th over eight strong innings, Hobson’s performance has earned him the Coca Cola Pitcher of the Week. Hobson recorded the win after scattering only three hits, giving up no earned runs and striking out 10 hitters. Hobson’s overall record now stands at 4-1 with a 2.09 ERA. Michael Kydd, CCBL Intern, [email protected]
Falmouth Ready to Make Move in East
As the season rolls into the second half of the schedule, the Falmouth Commodores are hovering around the .500 mark with a 15-16 record, which is fourth best in the Eastern Division. The East is still very much up for grabs, however, as just eight points separate the top four teams.
Tulane’s Mark Hamilton has continued his impressive power surge. He now leads the CCBL in RBI, despite having played in only 20 games.
His powerful bat has impacted the rest of the lineup. Hamilton has been batting in the clean-up position, meaning opposing pitchers are unable to pitch around the number three hitter in the lineup.
Texas Christian University’s Chad Huffman has been reaping the benefits. Huffman is hitting .277 with four home runs and 20 RBI. Huffman has combined with Hamilton, Jon Still (Stetson) and TCU teammate Shelby Ford to form a powerful middle of the lineup for Falmouth. The quartet has accounted for 13 of the Commodores’ 18 homers.
Huffman has quietly put together a nice season for Falmouth. The Missouri City, Texas, native has played in 32 games this season, and currently leads the squad with a .426 on base percentage.
In a victory against the first place Cotuit Kettleers on July 19, Huffman went 3-for-4 with a double and knocked in two runs. He also scored two of Falmouth’s nine runs in the win. Colin Reed, CCBL Intern, [email protected]
Toneguzzi Tries To Help Cotuit Find Consistency
Cotuit has been a team that has struggled to find their way of late. The Kettleers haven’t been able to settle into a groove and are looming right around .500 ball as the battle with archrival Wareham for the West Division’s final playoff spot is starting to heat heating up.
The lineup for Cotuit has carried the load as they have been getting some great outings from some of their more unheralded pitchers. The team just needs to put a decent streak together. Star closer Chris Toneguzzi has been doing his best to keep the Kettleers in games and also to win a few when called upon in the late innings.
Toneguzzi, a name with mixed pronunciations, and a great one to cheer at that, has become a favorite of the Cotuit fans. He is a very imposing figure and definitely fills out all of the 6’5’’ 250 pounds on the stat sheet. Many batters seem to be fearless but this is one man that should strike fear in the hearts of his adversaries. While warming up “Guzzi” rears back and throws his first few tosses at about 92 miles per hour. He faces batters with much of the same velocity and simply overpowers most opponents.
As a fan of the Red Sox, being able to witness someone close out a game with ease like Toneguzzi does time and time again, is a great thing to see. The Sox have obviously struggled to finish ball games the past few seasons and it makes you wonder why they can’t find a closer like Toneguzzi.
“Guzzi” is the typical closer that most people imagine. He has the build and a nasty glare that seems to tell batters that they shouldn’t expect to hit what’s coming.
“Guzzi is definitely an intimidating fellow, “says coach Mike Roberts. “He has a great fastball and can mix it up too. He is a top notch closer.”
As a junior at Purdue, “Guzzi” recorded six saves had a 2-2 recorded with a 1.43 ERA. In his first two seasons as a Boilermaker, “Guzzi” was mostly a starting pitcher, but has seemed to settle in the closer role as a junior.
In the Cape thus far “Guzzi” is second in appearances with 16 and has recorded four saves and twenty-four strikeouts. Nick Mucci, CCBL Intern, [email protected]
Lalor Climbs to Top in Wins
Wareham’s John Lalor (Mississippi State) has had a great past week and a half of baseball. In his last three appearances Lalor has compiled three victories while lowering his ERA to an impressive 1.24. Lalor has climbed to fourth in innings pitched and has moved into a tie for first is wins.
Lalor brings a great array of pitches and really keeps batters guessing at the plate. The huge 6-foot-7’ right-hander hails from Mississippi State and is a very imposing figure on the mound.
“John is such a tremendous presence on the mound. He really seems to intimidate opposing batters,” says teammate Justin Masterson (Bethel College).
As a freshman for the Bulldogs, Lalor earned a spot on the SEC freshman academic honor roll. Lalor had a great spring for the Bulldogs and his coaching staff was very pleased with his progress.
“John had a great freshman season and we expect the Cape League to help him progress further as he matures into a leader of not only our staff but our team in the future,” said head coach Ron Polk.
Friday night Wareham and Cotuit played a thirteen-inning thriller that was eventually called a draw at 7-7. Justin Masterson pitched lights out baseball coming in the eighth and battling Cotuit closer Chris Toneguzzi for several innings in what was a joy to watch. Justin baffled hitters with his arsenal of pitches, using the fastball as his out pitch for most of the night.
The Gatemen came back from two three run deficits on Friday in a game that had all the makings of a classic.
Lance Slasgiver (Harvard) has climbed into the top ten in batting, hitting at a .337 average. Nick Mucci, CCBL Intern, [email protected]
Braves Continue to Climb and Lead the West
Led by a strong pitching performance this past week from Gib Hobson (North Carolina State) and the Cape League’s first grand slam of the season from Brad Lincoln (Houston), the Bourne Braves are in position to capture their first West Division title since they accomplished the feat in 2003.
In a game last week against the Chatham A’s, Hobson, a native of Pfafftown, N.C., went eight strong innings only giving up three hits, no earned runs and in the process whiffing 10 Chatham players. With the victory, Hobson improved his ERA to 2.09 and now has a 4-1 record on the season – good enough for second on the Bourne pitching staff behind only Forest Cory III (William & Mary). Hobson was also named the Coca Cola Player of the Week for his efforts.
Providing the fireworks was Brad Lincoln who hit a third inning grand slam to right field off Chatham’s Chris Cody (Manhattan) who was chased from the game after only three innings. The bomb was Lincoln’s third home run of the year effectively giving him the lead on a Bourne team that has collectively hit .209, 12 homeruns, 210 hits and walked 113 times this season.
The Braves currently lead the West Division by five points with a (19-12-1) record over the Wareham Gatemen (16-14-2) and the Cotuit Kettleers (16-14-2). Michael Kydd, CCBL Intern, [email protected]
Hyannis Mets Continue to Slump
It’s been a tale of three seasons for the slumping Hyannis Mets. Starting with a dreadful 1-12-1 record, the Mets rebounded to win five of their next six games behind strong pitching and timely hitting.
But the team reverted back and lost a season-high 10 straight games, following a 6-1 loss at Falmouth Thursday night at Guv Fuller Field and is now 6-23-1.
In that game, Alex Feinberg (Vanderbilt) was 2-for-3 with a stolen base for Hyannis. Jason Cline pitched three innings of hitless relief and struck out five for the Mets.
Hyannis is last in the league in pitching (4.90 ERA) and next to last in hitting (.205).
“It’s been a combination of factors,” admitted Hyannis GM John Howitt. “We lost some top players (NCAA Div. I Player of the Year Shane Robinson of Florida State and top hurler Kyle McCulloch of national champion Texas) to Team USA and several others players have underachieved.”
The leading hitters for Hyannis are Andy D’Alessio (.280. 1, 12) of Clemson and third baseman Kyle Norrid (.267, 1, 11) of Memphis. The top pitchers are Chris Duke (San Diego CC), who is 1-0, with a .295 ERA and southpaw Charlie Furbush (St. Joseph’s-ME), who leads the team in innings pitched (38.1) and strikeouts (40). John Garner Jr, Director of Public Relations & Broadcasting, [email protected]
Longoria Continues Torrid Pace
A quick look at the individual leaders of the Cape League shows that several Chatham A’s players have enjoyed fine seasons in the first half. Alex Presley (Mississippi), Chris Coghlan (Mississippi) and Baron Frost (USC) are all within the top five batting leaders. Three of the five Coca Cola Pitcher of the Week awards have gone to members of the A’s, as Jared Hughes (Long Beach State), Robert Woodard (North Carolina) and Derrick Lutz (George Washington) received the award in consecutive weeks.
Perhaps the most eye-opening stats on the team, however, belong to infielder Evan Longoria (Long Beach State). He was named Coca Cola Player of the Week for the second time in the 2005 season last week.
During a six-game stretch between June 20 and June 26 of this year, Longoria hit .440, going 11-for-25 at the plate. He added two home runs, five RBIs, three doubles and had an impressive slugging percentage over .800.
Then, during the week of July 11-17, Longoria notched three home runs and 11 RBI over a span of just 30 at-bats. His batting average for the week was .400, while his slugging percentage was .883.
Right now, Longoria is a legitimate Triple Crown candidate. He is fifth in the league in batting average (.339), tied for first with home runs (6) and leads in RBI (25).
Despite his numbers, the Downey, Calif, native says he has been getting lucky. “I just keep getting breaks,” Longoria said. “The bloop hits have been falling in.”
However, with power numbers like his, it is clear that his success is based on more than luck.
Chatham A’s baseball operations manager Matt Sherman is present for many Chatham games and has been very impressed with the A’s slugger. “Longoria’s got everything going for him,” Sherman said. “He sees the pitch well. He doesn’t try and do more than what they give him. If the pitch is on the outside corner, he won’t try and kill it.”
Longoria is a skillful and versatile infielder defensively. “He’s very smooth in the field and can play anywhere in the infield,” Sherman noted. Indeed, Longoria has seen time at three of the infield positions, having played nine games at second, six at third and ten at shortstop. Colin Reed, CCBL Intern, [email protected]
Singleton Helps to Single Out Orleans
Usually every team has one “superstar” – you know, that standout player that is pivotal to the team’s success. Well, the Orleans Cardinals don’t have just one, they have a whole team full of “superstars” and one of them is definitely Steve Singleton (San Diego).
In his first at bat in the Cape League during the military game, Singleton hit a homerun. “It was a good indication of what was to come,” said Cardinals General Manager Sue Horton. Singleton is an excellent defensive shortstop, as well as a contributing offensive player who is hitting .215 with a .327 slugging percentage.
As of late, Singleton has been a dynamic piece to a very successful Orleans puzzle.
“Like so many other guys on the team, he just makes things happen,” said Horton. According to Field Manager Kelly Nicholson, Singleton “pays attention to the game,” and that is part of the reason why he is so successful.
Singleton is enjoying the competition in the Cape League thus far. “The competition is unbelievable. Every night is like playing in the All-Star game,” said the 19 year-old Oakland, CA native.
There seem to be no egos on this Cardinals team, especially Singleton, who is described by Cardinals volunteer Dave Mitchell as “a terrific young man, he always has a smile on his face.”
The Cards are still in first place this season, leading Chatham by three games. And while every player on the roster has contributed to the team’s success, there is another group playing a big role…the fans! The atmosphere at an Orleans Cardinals game is amazing. Everyone should have an opportunity to witness the support Orleans fans are giving this team. Hours before the game is even ready to begin, the hill is filled with chairs set up by the faithful to get the best seat in the house come game time. Thursday night’s game saw almost 5,000 fans in attendance at Eldridge Park! With this kind of fan support it is no wonder the Cards remain in first place. Stefanie Falco, CCBL Intern, [email protected]
Flack Ready for Second Half
The Harwich Mariners put together a nice string of wins this week, going 7-3 in their last 10 games. This comes after a tough stretch earlier in the season when they suffered through some unfortunate losses.
“We’ve righted the ship lately,” manager Steve Englert said. “It’s tough to reel off the wins in this league, but the players on this team hate it when they lose.”
One player whom Englert believes will be key to his team’s success during the second half of the season is first basemen Chad Flack (North Carolina).
“He’s had an up and down year,” Englert noted. “He’s a very tough kid mentally, and he’s very coachable. It would be great for us if he could get hot the second half of the season.”
Flack is hitting .217 with three home runs and 12 RBI. He has recently made an adjustment in his swing, which he believes will help his performance at the plate.
“I’m working on seeing the pitch better by getting my foot down faster,” Flack said.
The Forest City, N.C., native enjoys facing his North Carolina teammates who are pitching for various teams throughout the Cape. It is especially fun when Harwich squares off against neighboring Chatham, as the A’s have three Tar Heel hurlers on their staff.
“It’s fun facing those guys,” Flack said. “We’ve had some good laughs. A couple of times I looked good against them, and a couple of times they made me look stupid. We’re definitely competing for bragging rights.”
Flack has had a good experience during his summer on the Cape. “It’s definitely quieter here than at Chapel Hill, but I’m enjoying it.”
Englert has also enjoyed himself coaching the team. “I love this team,” he said. “They want to win and they’re playing hard. That’s all we can ask of them.” Colin Reed, CCBL Intern, [email protected]
Turner Turns on Sox
The Y-D Red Sox remain a driving force this week in the Cape Cod Baseball League and they are doing that with help from infielder Justin Turner (Cal State Fullerton).
Turner, who was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 27th round, has been consistent as a member of the Y-D Red Sox. Turner is currently batting .250 with a .333 slugging percentage. “Turner makes good adjustments at the plate,” said Field Manager Scott Pickler, “He thinks the game.”
Like so many other players in the Cape League, Turner “plays hard and has a smile on his face everyday,” commented Pickler.
Defending a championship is not new to Turner, who earned a National Champion ring in 2004 with Cal State Fullerton. So far Turner has been helping to keep the Red Sox on track.
Currently the Sox are only 2 games behind Chatham, threatening to take over the number two spot in the Eastern Division. And they might just do it soon. The Sox are currently batting .242 and are really just starting to make their presence known.
There have been some minor set backs this season. Southpaw Eric Berger (U of Arizona) was forced to leave the Cape League with an injury to his oblique muscle. But even with the setbacks, the Sox are still managing to stay strong and might soon surprise us all. Stefanie Falco, CCBL Intern, [email protected]
Whitecaps Defense Shines Despite Losses
As the Whitecaps’ offense struggles to find consistency, Brewster’s defensive ‘web gems’ continue to marvel the crowds despite a dismal 1-6 finish for the week.
Fullerton’s Dan Dorn had a tremendous week at the plate and in centerfield. The lefty went 3-for-5 against Hyannis while collecting three RBI and his over-the-shoulder diving catch in a Y-D match-up still has the fans talking.
“You never know what is going to happen and have to be ready every pitch,” said Dorn. “I don’t think about how to catch the ball, I just react and go on instinct.”
Dorn’s fellow outfielder Tommy Lentz (Winthrop) has also come up huge for Brewster (13-20) by contributing remarkable hustle which has lead to numerous fan-pleasing catches for the Whitecaps’ leftfielder.
Brewster’s starting rotation turned in solid performances as the week ended. Will Savage (Oklahoma) and P.J. Walters (South Alabama) each received a ‘no-decision’ in their individual efforts. Savage tossed eight innings of 3-hit ball against Cotuit on Friday, and Walters hurled eight scoreless innings against Orleans on Saturday. Jenna Kubesch, Intern, [email protected]
Around the Cape League Horn
Commissioner Paul Galop will announce the 2005 CCBL All-Star Teams on Tuesday, following a meeting with the field managers. Fans at the All-Star Game will be treated to a radar readout that will clock the speed of pitchers on both teams. A reminder any media wishing to attend Saturday’s All-Star Game in Hyannis should contact Mike Kydd at [email protected]… Autism Awareness: Deputy Commissioner Sol Yas and several members of the Y-D Red Sox participated in a display at the Cape Cod Mall recently for Autism Research…The event was organized by Barbara Ellsworth (Mrs. E) and Red Sox players in attendance were Keith Conlon, Brian Kervin, Sean Land, Nick Moresi and Jim Rapoport… Rick Heath Run for Cancer: After being unable to make his run on June 24th due to an unfortunate accident, Rick Heath will be back in action and ready to run his 24-hour marathon on Friday October 7 & 8.
Cape Cod Baseball League All-Star Game
Saturday, July 30
McKeon Park, Hyannis, Mass.
John Garner, Jr.
CCBL Director of Public Relations & Broadcasting
(508) 790-0394 [email protected]
Interns: Stephanie Falco, Jason S. Itzkowitz, Jenna Kubesch, Michael Kydd, Nicholas Mucci, Colin Reed
Edited by Jim Higgins, CCBL Senior Vice President