After a little hiatus from CodBall, it's good to be back! I've been spending a lot of time watching games without making time to write about the games I've attended. I have been to 14 games and have seen some very good baseball, some not-so-good baseball and something that I've never witnessed in person at any level of baseball from Little League to the majors. There is no denying that Harwich is a powerful offensive force with their 32 homeruns. The surprising thing about that is that the Mariners are only fifth in the league in batting with a .263 avg. and fourth in runs scored with 89. The Harwich offense provided that "something I've never witnessed before" last Thursday in the fourth inning of their game against Orleans when four of five batters homered. Phil Ervin (Samford) started the fireworks. After Firebirds starter Austin Kubitza (Rice) recorded an out, Austin Wilson (Stanford), Brian Ragira (Stanford) and Austen Smith (Alabama) went back-to-back-to back. It was quite a display for the "pitching dominant" Cape League with all of the shots being no-doubters.
There have been a couple strange official scoring calls around the league. The strangest one was at a game in Brewster when a baserunner stole second and went to third when the catcher's throw bounced short of the bag and was kicked into left-center field. No error was charged. After the game, I had the opportunity to (nicely, of course) ask the official scorer about the non-error ruling. I was told that it was ruled a "fielder's choice" when the runner advanced to third and no error was charged. Hmmm.
Hyannis and Chatham are the only teams without a qualifying batter hitting .300. For the Harbor Hawks, Brad Zebedis (Presbyterian) is hitting. .283 and the Anglers Chad Pinder (Virginia Tech) is hitting .273. For Chatham, Aaron Brown (Pepperdine) is batting .281. Since Brown has been with Chatham since the start of the season, it kinda makes me wonder why the player who has impressed me as their best pure hitter hasn't been in the lineup enough to reach the required 2.7 at-bats per game.
We've all heard of the Sports Illustrated cover jinx. Could there be a Cape Cod Times jinx at work as well? After Bourne's Jaron Long (Ohio State) was featured in the Times two Friday's ago, Long lasted 4 innings and gave up 5 hits and 6 runs (4 earned) in his next outing. Last Friday, Harwich's Wilson was spotlighted. That night, Wilson struckout in all three official plate appearances and looked like he needed a GPS as he made a couple tumbling catches of lazy fly balls in right field. Memo to players... if you see a Cape Cod Times staff reporter coming toward you, run the other way. Fast!
There is a pitcher in the league with a 94.50 ERA. He will remain nameless to protect the guilty. Thought my son had a good line when he noted that 94.5 is a cool radio station, but it's not so cool to have that ERA next to your name.
More than a third of the way through the season, Yarmouth-Dennis has a .315 team batting average. The Red Sox have also scored 100 runs which is one behind league-leading Orleans. It probably won't surprise anyone that Mike Roberts' runnin' Kettleers lead the league with 35 stolen bases. Hyannis is second with 33. There's a lot of thievery taking place in Barnstable.
Maybe part of Hyannis' early season struggles is that they aren't too selective at the plate. The Harbor Hawks have struckout 161 times (third most) while walking just 42 times, a distant last in the league. After a 1-11 start, Hyannis has won three of their last four games which has moved them a game ahead of Bourne in the standings.
How many homeruns would Harwich have if they played in the comfy confines of Red Wilson Field?
Need further proof that offense is way up in the league this year? Only three teams - Harwich, Orleans and Falmouth - have team ERA's below 4.00. Brewster (5.41) and Bourne (5.45) have the highest team ERA's.
Looking for a reason for Orleans having the best record in the league? Look no further that the pitching stats. The Firebirds have the lowest ERA (2.82) and have 3 shutouts. Orleans pitchers are holding opponents to a .225 avg. and the staff WHIP is 1.00. Most impressively, they throw strikes. The Firebirds have only issued 23 walks which is less than half of the number of free passes that second-ranked Y-D has issued.
You wouldn't think a pitcher with a record of 0-2 and an ERA of 10.50 would be the only hurler with a complete game but that is the case for Falmouth's Ben Ballantine (Michigan). Ballantine went the distance in a 3-1 loss to Wareham back on June 16.
Speaking of the Gatemen, they have gone on a nice little 4 game winning streak to pull within a game of Falmouth in the West. The recent addition of the righthanded trio of Konner Wade (Arizona), Barrett Astin and Colby Suggs (both from Arkansas) should only strengthen the Wareham staff.
The CCBL certainly was well-represented in Omaha, NE. last night. Aaron Judge (Fresno State; Brewster) hit 16 homeruns over three rounds to beat out runners-up Tyler Horan (Virginia Tech; Wareham) and Mason Katz (LSU; Y-D) and win the TD Ameritrade College Homerun Derby.
Heading back to the Cape tomorrow. Will be at the Orleans at Harwich game tomorrow night, then the home and home series between Harwich and Chatham on Friday and Saturday. May try to squeeze in a few innings of a couple nearby 5:00 starts before those games.
Happy Fourth of July everyone! Thank-you to our troops and veterans who protect our country's freedom. Have a happy and safe holiday!