Brewster and Harwich were the final two ballparks for me to visit. After nearly 20 years of following the Cape League from Woods Hole and every corner of the globe, the home of the White Caps and the home of the Mariners were the only two ballparks prior to tonight I had never visited. I've been to several former Cape League ballparks. But isn't it ironic that a guy from Seattle -- home of the Mariners -- visits the Harwich Mariners last?
In this case, I saved one of the best for last. Cotuit has always been my favorte ballpark and Harwich reminded me of Cotuit. Perhaps it's the setting -- a beautiful baseball field set deep in a Cape Cod woods. Grandstands are on either side of a press box and parking near the entrance is scarce.
My son and I drove what seemed like just 15 minutes from Stony Brook in Brewster to Harwich High to catch the 7 pm Mariners v. Y-D Red Sox matchup. We were treated to a close 1-1 tie through much of the game. Between innings my son pitched to me in the batting cage along the left field line and afterward we had the pleasure of meeting the father (Paul) of Y-D Red Sox pitcher, John Leonard (B.C.). Leonard has real presence on the mound and throws a good fastball (92) and slider. He's also got a curve and changeup. We chatted there on the fence in leftfield until his son came in to pitch one inning of flawless relief. His dad showed little anxiety as he got three consecutive ground ball outs to end the inning quickly. He is slotted to start on Tuesday.
Tonight was the first we saw of Connor Powers (Harwich/Miss. State) since he won the home run hitting contest at Fenway. He absolutely smashed a ball to left for a single.
Y-D went on to win 4-1.
It was during this game that I finally realized the power of Twitter. As I sat there watching the game my phone constantly vibrated, an indication that CodBall was being 'tweeted' or texted. In this new era of new media, there are layers within layers. There is what you can see on the field. There is even what you can see on a blog or a newspaper website. There is what you can hear on the radio or internet radio. But then there is also this inside game of Tweeting and texting. The interns and the blogosphere are active on every pitch it seems.
I love it but it does keep you busy. Harwich may be the best place to make this discovery. The park is very quiet. It's quite conducive to multi-tasking.
Earlier in the day, after circumnavigating the very annoying Barnstable County Fair, we arrived at 5 pm for the first pitch at Stony Brook Elementary, home of the White Caps. The Caps played Falmouth tonight and won handily 9-1.
Falmouth's starter Taylor Wall (LHP) was terrible and so was his catcher, Chris O'Brien. Wall couldn't seem to throw and O'Brien couldn't seem to catch. If you subtract the wild pitches and passed balls it would have been a closer game. It pains me to say that because I like both of these guys a lot. They just had a bad day.
On the Brewster side, it was another story. Pitcher Caleb Cotham (Vanderbilt) was lights out. Apparently he's pitched just 5 innings but he looks over-powering.
Similarly, I like first baseman Harold Martinez (Miami). I watched Martinez sting two powerful homeruns at Fenway during the All-Star game and then tonight I watched him go 2-2 with an RBI double (they called it a triple) , a single and a walk. The double/triple was a bannana down the right field line that got past the rightfielder for Falmouth.
Shortstop for Brewster Niko Gallego (UCLA) also had a big game. I watched him hit safely in his first three at bats and score all three times.
Stony is a great, comfortable ballpark with a lot of character. It was sun-drenched this afternoon with lots of local fans.
The scoreboards in Brewster and Harwich are much nicer than what we see in the West.