Cape Alums Highlight Olympic Roster

by Andrew Wirtanen in


Matt LaPorta on The Blue Monster in Durham, NC Two years ago I watched the Brewster Whitecaps attempt to derail the "Y-Dynasty" Red Sox in the Eastern Division Championship Series. The Whitecaps were led by the powerful Matt LaPorta (Indians AA), who hit 6 regular season home runs but batted a modest .250. On August 13th, LaPorta will get the start in left field for Team USA at the Olympics in Beijing.

He's not alone. Other former Cape Leaguers accompanying him include shortstop Jason Donald (Cotuit '04-'05, Phillies AA), 1st baseman John Gall (Orleans '97, Marlins AAA), shortstop Brian Barden (Brewster '01, St. Louis AAA), and reliever Mike Koplove (Chatham '97, Dodgers AAA).

This past Sunday, I watched Team USA pounce on Team Canada with a 9-1 victory at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park (yes, that's the same team featured in Bull Durham). All ex-Cape Leaguers started the game and Koplove made a relief appearance in the 8th. The College Baseball Blog has a nice roundup of other ex-collegiate players on the squad.

LaPorta was the first on the board in Sunday's action, with a solo HR to center (400 feet at the DBAP) in the 2nd. In fact, LaPorta homered in 3 out of the 4 exhibition games vs. Team Canada. There's a great story about him by The Washington Post.

One interesting note: the USA team includes one collegiate player: Stephen Strasburg (San Diego State). Strasburg played in the NECBL in '07 and struck out 48 in 34 IP this summer on the Team USA National (collegiate) team.