Two trips to and from the Cape and 450 miles later, here are some notes from the weekend's action... First stop on Saturday was Stony Brook Field to see host Brewster take on Orleans. This was the second weekend in a row I had the opportunity to see Andrew Gagnon (Long Beach State) pitch for the Whitecaps. He has impressed both times. Gagnon pitched 7 innings and gave up 5 hits and struckout 8 while not walking anyone, as the Whitecaps defeated the Firebirds, 6-2. Gagnon is now 3-0 with a 1.66 ERA. Brewster jumped on Orleans' Martin Viramontes (Loyola Marymount) for two runs in the first and two more in the second innings. A Kevin Muno homerun cut the deficit to 4-1, but the Whitecaps put the game away with two more runs in the sixth. Kentucky's Andy Burns lead the way offensively for Brewster with 3 RBI on the strength of a 2-2 day. Both teams played errorless ball.
The second game of the day was at Veterans Field to see the Chatham Anglers take on the Harwich Mariners. The Mariners were coming off a 1-0 loss in 12 innings to Falmouth on Friday night. This game remained scoreless into the 11th inning as Harwich's Lex Rutledge (Samford) and Chatham's Derek Self (Louisville) hooked up in a pitchers duel. Rutledge worked 6 innings before handing the game over to the bullpen. Rutledge gave up 3 hits and 2 walks. He was followed to the hill by Will Locante and Braden Kapyten who shut Chatham down from the 7th through the 9th inning. For Chatham, Self went 8 innings and gave up just 5 hits while walking 2. This is the third time I have seen Self pitch this summer. I am impressed with the way he fields his position and the fact that, although he walked two on this night, he throws strikes. For the season, Self has pitched 21 innings and has only walked 3 batters.
Harwich finally broke through in the 11th with the help of Chatham's only error of the evening. Shortstop Stephen Perez couldn't handle a ground ball off the bat of Ronnie Richardson. A Brian Goodwin sacrifice and a ground out by Levi Michael moved Richardson to third. On a full-count, Pratt Maynard smacked a single into centerfield to drive in the only run of the game. The inning may have been helped by the Harwich Militia - more on that later. Matty Ott had come on in the 10th inning and he picked up the win. Ott got himself in trouble in the bottom of the 11th when he walked Riley Reynolds and Jason Martin singled. Ott reached back and struckout Brian Humphries and Perez to end the game. On the night, Chatham stranded 14 baserunners. Ott has not allowed a run in 9.1 innings of work.
Games on Independence Day brought me to Bourne and Orleans... One day after pummeling Falmouth, 17-3, the Bourne Braves found themselves on the wrong end of a 15-4 beating at the hands of the Wareham Gatemen. Wareham scored in every inning except the third and ninth. Every Gatemen starter had at least one hit in the 21 hit attack. Wareham thirdbaseman Tyler Bream inflicted the most damage by going 5 for 6 and driving in 6 runs. Bream entered the game batting .186. By the time the day was over, he had improved to .246.
On a hot and humid afternoon, Wareham starter Max Perlman (Harvard) lasted 7 innings in a gutsy performance to pick up his first win of the summer. Perlman allowed all 4 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks. He struckout 5. Bourne starter Devin Jones (Mississippi State) only lasted 1.2 innings. He gave up 7 hits, 2 walks and 4 runs. Relievers Brian Busch (2 runs), Will Roberts (5 runs, only one earned) and Kyle McMyne (4 runs) did not fare much better. Gatemen Max Muncy and Derek Dennis both had 2 hits and 2 RBI. Tony Caldwell, Zach Wilson and Nico Rosthenhausler all had 3 hits. This offensive barrage took place without two of Wareham's top performers in the lineup. Alex Dickerson (.500, 1 HR, 7 RBI) and George Springer (.288, 3 HR, 7 RBI) have left the team to participate in the Team USA trials. Wilson has played in 3 games since arriving in Wareham late last week. He has had three hits in two of those games and is 6 for 11 (.545).
My second game of the holiday was at Eldredge Park where Chatham got back in the win column, defeating host Orleans, 5-1. Mark Zecchino won his first decision of the year and lowered his ERA to 1.39 in the process. The righthander from Virginia Tech went 5 innings and allowed 5 hits and one walk, while striking out 6. Philip Pohl, playing in his first game since arriving from Clemson's run in the College World Series, had a 3-run double in his first at-bat to lead the offense. The Anglers jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a sacrifice fly by Rick Oropesa off of Firebirds starter Andrew Kittredge (Washington). A four run second inning keyed by Pohl's bases-clearing hit would be the end of Chatham's scoring, but it turned out to be more than enough. Zecchino was followed to the mound by Phil Schreiber. After issuing two walks and hitting two batters, Schreiber was in a jam with one run in and the bases loaded with just one out. Steve Selsky struckout for the second out. The next batter, pinchhitter Preston Tucker, lined a shot toward the left-centerfield gap. It appeared that the ball would land and roll to the fence but Anglers centerfielder Brian Humphries raced to his right, dove, and while fully-extended, made the catch. It was easily the defensive play of the game. Chatham relievers Aaron Gates, Zack Jones and Kevin Vance each pitched a perfect inning to nail down the win. Aaron Westlake had 3 hits for Chatham. Kolten Wong (two) was the only Firebird with more than one hit. Orleans got 5 innings of shutout pitching from their bullpen.
Despite an 0 for 3 day yesterday in a 5-2 loss to Harwich, Brewster's Drew Martinez continues to lead the league with a .386 avg. Kolten Wong is second at .364.
The players who have been invited to the Team USA trials have left the Cape to report to Cary, NC. Orleans GM Sue Horton was very pleased to report that Wong has declined his invitation to the national team and has decided to spend the summer with the Firebirds. In addition to his .364 avg, the 5'9" Wong is tied for the league lead in homeruns with 3.
Orleans leads the league with 8 homeruns. Harwich, Bourne and Chatham all have 6.
The big offensive day yesterday has moved Wareham to the top of the league in team batting with a .249 avg. Y-D is second at .242.
Lead by Martinez and Andy Burns with 13 each, Brewster is tops in stolen bases with 49. I've only seen Brewster play twice, but they really put pressure on the opposing pitcher. At the other end of the spectrum, Chatham is only 6 for 11 in stolen base attempts.
Y-D and Brewster remain tied for the East lead with 26 points. Chatham is in third with 23 pts. With Harwich winning both weekend games and Orleans on a 4 game losing streak, the Mariners (16 pts.) have jumped over the Firebirds (14 pts.) for fourth place in the East.
In the West, Bourne (10-9) is the only team over .500. Falmouth (18 pts.), Hyannis (18 pts.) and Cotuit (17 pts.) closely follow. Cotuit has won four in a row. Despite yesterday's win, Wareham continues to struggle with 10 pts.
Talking to some members of host families in Brewster, they were unanimous in their feeling that this year's Whitecaps team chemistry is better than that of recent teams. The players seem to genuinely like each other and get along well away from the field.
Got a kick out of the "We Messed With Texas" shirt - an obvious reference to LSU beating the Longhorns in the 2009 CWS - that Angelo Ranaudo (Anthony's dad) was wearing. Anthony was the winning pitcher in the deciding game.
In yesterday's Wareham-Bourne game, it took over an hour to play the first two innings as the teams combined for 7 runs on 11 hits, 4 walks and a hit batter.
Bourne activated Florida State's Brian Busch yesterday. He pitched 2 innings and allowed 2 runs in the afternoon and was released today.
Y-D released Boston College RHP John Leonard from their roster on Friday and they re-activated him today.
I just stopped by Red Wilson Field for a few minutes, but the new scoreboard is a very nice addition to the Red Sox home park.
Now, to try to explain that earlier mention of the "Harwich Militia"... Don't know if I can do this justice, but I'll try. As Saturday's game in Chatham progressed to the 11th inning, it seems that the members of the Mariners bullpen had enough of the scoring drought. At that point, Harwich had not scored a run in 24 innings going back to the 7th inning of their game against Chatham on Thursday. With the 12 scoreless innings in Falmouth on Friday and 10 more on Saturday, the Harwich bullpen crew decided to take matters into their own hands. In the top of the 11th inning, each member of the bullpen picked up a bat and marched from the bullpen to the dugout, soldier-like, with a bat resting on their shoulder. The bullpen remained empty as they stayed in the dugout and spurred their offense on. Something worked because it was at that point that Maynard's hit scored Richardson with the run. Before the home half of the 11th, the relievers "retreated" to the area of the bullpen where they laid down - again, soldier-style, on their stomachs - with their rifles, I mean bats, trained on the enemy. Although Chatham made it interesting with two baserunners, as each of the three outs was recorded, the bullpen gang shot down the enemy Chatham batters. Hey, desperate times call for desperate measures.