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Season to Remember for Cape League Teams, Players & Fans
Thanks to record fan support, a well-produced documentary seen nationwide and perhaps the most exciting championship game in history, the 2004 Cape League season will go down as one to cherish with fond memories.
For the second straight season, all 220 regular season games, along with the all-star and playoff games, were broadcast live on FREE TEAMLINE. Also, PIXY 103 broadcast a Monday night Radio Game of the Week package and media outlets across the country promoted the league as never before.
During the month of July alone, the Cape League web-site, www.capecodbaseball,org, recorded an amazing 4.5 million hits with each visitor averaging seven minutes on the web-site.
In one of the closest pennant races in recent memory, nine of the 10 Cape League teams were “still alive” the day before the regular season finale.
Finally, the eventual champion Yarmouth Dennis Red Sox and the star-studded Falmouth Commodores treated fans to a thrilling league title game won by Y-D in extra innings.
What can the 2005 season possibly do for an encore?
By John Garner, Jr., CCBL Director of Public Relations & Broadcasting
Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox Capture Cape League Title
The Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox ended their season exactly the way they’d hoped – celebrating on the pitcher’s mound with the league championship trophy.
Frank Curreri (UMass-Amherst) tied the game with a two-run single in the top of the ninth, and Joe Anthonsen (Campbell) scored the winning run on a wild pitch in the top of the 11th to give Yarmouth-Dennis its first championship since Scott Pickler took over as manager.
Shortstop Ryan Rohlinger (Oklahoma), who hit a game-winning home run in the championship series and executed a squeeze bunt in the top of the 11th inning of the second game, and relief pitcher Josh Faiola (Dartmouth), who earned two wins and a save in the postseason, were named co-winners of the playoff MVP award.
After a loss to Falmouth on August 1, the Red Sox never lost again, sweeping Brewster in the East Division series and sweeping a powerful Falmouth squad in the league championship series.
The Red Sox succeeded with a lineup balanced from top to bottom, but several players had outstanding individual seasons. Designated hitter Matt LaPorta (Florida) hit nine home runs before the league all-star game, and Curreri earned the New England Pro Prospect Award with a .293 average and 15 RBI.
On the mound, Daniel McCutchen (Oklahoma) went 5-1 with a 1.58 ERA, and Justin Blaine (San Diego) contributed both as a starter and a reliever with a 2.53 ERA and a team-leading 56 strikeouts. Faiola carried the load at the back end of the bullpen all season long, compiling nine saves with a 1.14 ERA.
By Brian McPherson (U. North Carolina), CCBL Intern
Pitching-Rich Brewster Whitecaps Make Second Straight Playoff Appearance
Starting off the season with close to a dozen temporary players did not stop the Brewster Whitecaps from having a very successful season.
While the Whitecaps did drop to second place in the Eastern Division, they were able to keep second in a battle against Orleans, gaining a spot in the playoffs. The fight to keep Brewster in a solid second place not only focused on batting, but also on the excellent aces the Caps had on the mound during the 2004 season.
Ryan Patterson sparked the team by leading the league with a .327 batting average. Patterson also collected five HR’s, and led the league with 25 RBI’s. Patterson was one of the five Whitecaps chosen to play in the All-Star team and was named the winner of the Thurman Munson Award for being the leagues batting champion.
Will Rhymes was one of two temporary players kept by the Whitecaps and finished with a .308 batting average, along with 49 hits, one homerun, and five RBI’s.
The Whitecaps tied the Hyannis Mets for the league’s top batting percentage of .245. Teammates Michael Campbell and Steven Tolleson of South Carolina also improved the Caps’ batting average. Campbell finished with a .277 batting average, and Tolleson ended with at .280 and 28 RBI for the Whitecaps.
Matt Goyen won the Whitehouse award for top hurler, throwing 58 innings and leading the league with 80 strikeouts. Giving up only 42 hits in those 58 innings led to an impressive 1.25 ERA for Goyen, making him the ace on the mound for the Whitecaps.
After a fast start injury struck hard-throwing hurler Josh Cribb’s right elbow. Matt Avery (Virginia) struck out 22 batters in 31.2 innings and improved his ERA to a 1.99, while going 4-1.
Arriving late to the Caps off of the College World Series, Jason Determan jumped right in and pitched 32.2 inning, finishing with 38 strikeouts and an ERA of 2.20.
Ryan Falcon represented the Whitecaps at the 2004 All-Star game. Closing out the season with a 2.27 ERA, Falcon threw in 39.2 innings and finished with 57 strikeouts.
Finishing their regular season with 23 wins and 21 losses, the Whitecaps ended their season play second in the Eastern Division. Unfortunately for the Whitecaps their chance at the Championship title came to a halt on August 10th after a two game series sweep by the Yarmouth Dennis Red Sox.
By Erica Gregory (U. North Carolina), CCBL Intern
Bourne Braves Fail to Repeat Postseason Success
Even though Bourne couldn’t quite defend its West Division title, the Braves had a lot of which to be proud this season.
It all started on the mound, where Mike Madsen (Ohio State) earned the right to start the league all-star game. Madsen finished the season with five wins and a 1.31 ERA, placing his name among the league leaders in both categories.
Madsen wasn’t the only outstanding arm in Bourne this season, though. Despite a misleading 3-3 record, John Lewis (Stony Brook) pitched well all season – he compiled 38 strikeouts and an ERA of 1.81.
Six different Braves pitchers recorded saves, but Dan Donaldson (Texas A&M) was Bourne’s best reliever. Donaldson led the team with 12 appearances, but it was his 1.96 ERA and two saves that proved the most valuable.
The Braves suffered a huge loss when Micah Owings (Georgia Tech) went home with an injury after just 16 games. Even in that short time span, Owings hit .345 with two home runs and 10 RBI, but Bourne never was able to recover.
First baseman Greg Creek (Maine) did his best to fill the void. He hit .242 with a team-best 15 RBI, and outfielder Tim Mascia (Florida Atlantic) chipped in with 16 runs scored.
The Braves’ organization will be planning their 3rd annual Winter FanFest to be held on December 3rd & 4th at the Sea Crest Resort and Conference Center in Falmouth. Prior guest speakers and guests have included Peter Gammons, Joe Morgan, Lou Merloni, Brandon Inge, Jerry Hairston and Ron Villone, to name a few.
The proposed new playing field at Upper Cape Tech in
Bourne is currently moving forward and ground work should begin in early fall. The projected goal is to be at the new field in 2006.
By Brian MacPherson, CCBL Intern (U. North Carolina)
Gatemen Earn Share of Commissioner’s Cup, But Miss Postseason
Despite winning four of their first five games, the Wareham Gatemen spent a good deal of the Cape League season at the bottom of the West Division standings. Still, as the final days of the season approached, the Gatemen threatened for a spot in the postseason.
Wareham finished the 2004 campaign with 20 wins in the ultra-competitive West Division, one win shy of a playoff birth.
Manager Cooper Farris’ club had the ability to score runs in bunches all season. At the forefront of Wareham’s potent offense was its impressive middle infield of Warner Jones (Vanderbilt) and Chris Gutierrez (Oklahoma State). Second baseman Jones, in his second season on the Cape, emerged as one of the best hitters in the league. Jones finished with a .303 batting average, strong enough for a top ten finish. Jones was the only Cape League hitter to reach the 50 hit plateau (57), while also pacing the league with 16 doubles and 17 extra-base hits.
Jones’ partner in crime, Gutierrez, complemented his flashy glove and strong throwing arm with an effective presence at the plate. Gutierrez hit .267 and drove in 13 runs. He also led the team with three home runs on the summer.
Wareham’s pitching staff was nothing to scoff at either, though. Two Gatemen hurlers—starter Mark McCormick (Baylor) and closer Kevin Whelan (Texas A&M)—emerged as top prospects in 2004. McCormick finished 2-1 on the season, with a 0.93 ERA, which was good for second in the league. He punched out 47 hitters in six starts and 38.2 innings of work.
Whelan burst onto the scene with an explosive fastball and a knack for collecting saves. Whelan led the Cape League with eleven saves to go along with a 0.42 ERA. In his 18 appearances, Whelan allowed just one earned run on nine hits.
Robert Ray (Texas A&M) joined Jones, Gutierrez, McCormick and Whelan on the West Division All-Star team. Ray went 2-1 with a 1.93 ERA on the summer. He was among the league leaders with 57 strikeouts, working primarily out of the bullpen.
At the conclusion of the season, the Wareham organization was awarded a share of the league’s first Commissioner’s Cup—an award given to the team that displays the most class on and off the field.
By T.J. Lasita (Ohio U.), CCBL Intern
Orleans Cardinals Fall Short In Late-Season Playoff Run
As July turned to August on the Cape League calendar, it didn’t look like much of a playoff race was brewing in the East Division. But it didn’t take long for Orleans to make things extremely interesting.
And while the Cardinals ultimately fell one point short of their third consecutive playoff berth under Coach Carmen Carcone, their valiant effort in the season’s final two weeks opened eyes across the league.
With its playoff hopes hanging by a thread on July 29, Orleans began a nine-game unbeaten streak that would last until August 7. First baseman Jordan Brown (Arizona) hit .310 with two home runs and 11 RBI in that span and left fielder Steven Blackwood (Georgia Tech) compiled a .341 average to lead the team during the streak. On the mound, Matt Torra (UMass-Amherst) contributed with two wins, including a heroic four-inning effort in a 14-inning win against Wareham on August 6.
The dream came to an end, though, two days later when Chatham’s Robert Woodard (North Carolina) threw five innings of shutout relief to end Orleans’ season.
The Cardinals’ pitchers kept them in the race all season long. Chris Nicoll (Cal-Irvine), who earned a place on the East Division all-star team, finished the season at 4-1 with a 1.70 ERA, and Erik Averill led the team with 62 strikeouts to go along with his 5-3 record and 1.70 ERA.
For his effort throughout the season, shortstop Tyler Greene (Georgia Tech) earned the league’s Pro Prospect Award. He hit .296 with 13 stolen bases and 23 runs for the Cardinals, and he solidified the team defense with his range and strong throwing arm all season long.
By Brian MacPherson (U. North Carolina), CCBL Intern
Go-Go Hyannis Mets Enjoy Second Straight Playoff Berth
Earning their second straight postseason berth and third in five years, the Hyannis Mets under first-year head coach Greg King brought a brand of exciting baseball to fans at McKeon Park.
The Mets notched all but six of their regular season wins in a 15-7 midseason run. The team shook off a slow start with a win over Y-D in the third annual Nantucket Island Pennant Game, starting the stretch which put them into first place in the Western Division heading into the All-Star Game.
When the Mets fell from first place late in the season, they were kept afloat largely by the heroics of Mike Costanzo (Coastal Carolina), Hyannis's representative in the Home Run Hitting Contest, who slugged four of his team-best six homers after the All-Star Game. With a chance to send the Mets to the playoffs in the season’s final game against Cotuit, Costanzo delivered a go-ahead homer in the eighth inning and the game-winning run on a Joe Holland (Tulane) single in the 10th.
Game 2 of the playoffs saw Costanzo wield his dramatic bat once again, as the second of his two homers in the game gave the Mets a 6-5 victory in 11 innings. But the Commodores took both games at Arnie Allen Diamond, denying the Mets a chance at their first CCBL Championship since 1991.
At .245, the Mets had the league’s best batting average for the first time since 1995. Arizona junior Pat Reilly’s .327 average made him the Cape's No. 2 hitter in the second closest batting race in league history. He made the West All-Star team along with Chris Robinson (Illinois), who batted .292 and threw out nearly 59% of all potential base stealers and center fielder Shane Robinson (Florida St.), who was the top freshman for the Mets, batting .252 with a homer and seven steals.
Three of the Mets’ five starters -- Florida State sophomore Mark Sauls and Boston College juniors Mike Wlodarczyk and Joe Martinez -- were named to the West All-Star team. Sauls headlined the trio, going 3-1 in seven starts with a 1.90 ERA. Trailing just behind him in the ERA race was Wlodarczyk, who posted a 2.08 mark along with a perfect 4-0 record in seven starts. Martinez notched a team-best 56 strikeouts in 57 innings along with a 2.74 ERA and a .203 opponents' average.
By Will Bussiere (Providence), CCBL Asst. Editor of Publications
Harwich Mariners Boast Several Top Prospects
The pinnacle of the business aspect of the Cape Cod Baseball League is turning out Major League draft prospects, and for the Harwich Mariners, business is booming. In the past four years, the Mariners have turned out four first-rounders.
The prestige of the Cape League and individual success of the teams correlate with the number of high-round draftees, and although Harwich didn’t bring home a title this year, June of 2005 will certainly be an exciting time for Mariner supporters.
One promising member of the 2004 Harwich team was The Citadel’s John Aughey. Aughey was selected for the 2004 All-Star team and finished the season batting .267 with three homers and 10 RBI. Aughey walked 13 times, and boasted a slugging percentage of .429 and an on-base percentage of .368.
Other All-Star selections for Harwich included Ben Copeland (Pittsburgh), John Slone (Miami-Ohio), Craig Hansen (St. John’s), and Dan Brauer (Northwestern). Copeland led the Mariners in batting average at the season’s end hitting .271 with 11 RBI and 12 walks. Copeland was also an All-League Team selection. Brent Lillibridge (Washington) provided wheels for the Mariners, ending the season second in the league in stolen bases with 16, five behind Falmouth’s Cliff Pennington (Texas A&M). Lillibridge also led the team in homers with four.
Standout hurlers Brauer and Hansen were also named to the All-League Team. Brauer put up a 6-2 record on the year, tied with Cotuit’s Ryan Calahan (Florida Southern) for the league lead in wins. Brauer finished the season with a 1.90 ERA and tied for second in the league in strikeouts with 65, allowing only 20 walks.
After Brauer started on the hill, Hansen came in to finish it off. Hansen was second in the league in saves with 10, one behind Wareham’s Kevin Whelan (Texas A&M). Hansen was 1-1 with a 0.00 ERA in 22.1 innings of work. He gave up no homeruns and only two walks.
The 2004 Harwich Mariners ended the season with a 20-24 record.
By Britt Berry (U. North Carolina), 2004 CCBL Intern
Chatham A’s Post Disappointing Season
The Chatham A’s are known as a perennial Cape League playoff contender. Even though the improbable happened and the A’s didn’t make the playoffs in 2004, that doesn’t mean that this year’s team didn’t give the Chatham fans something to cheer about.
The 2004 A’s had four All-Star selections: Chris Getz (Michigan), Kyle Bono (Central Florida), Andrew Miller (UNC-Chapel Hill), and Ryan Mullins (Vanderbilt). Getz and Miller both earned the honor of starting for the East Division.
Getz’s place on the All-Star roster was certainly without contest. Getz led the A’s in hitting at .293, as well as walks with 21. Getz also had a .406 on-base percentage, high enough for fourth among league leaders.
Steven Head (Mississippi) also provided considerable offense for Chatham, hitting .271 with 15 RBI and a slugging percentage of .407, and leading the team in homeruns with three.
Pitching was the story all season long for the A’s as they ended the season third in the league with a combined 2.62 ERA. Mullins was 5-1 with a 1.82 ERA, and only seven walks. Mullins tied for third in the league in strikeouts with 64, tied for first in the league in complete game with two, and tied for first in the league in shutouts with two.
Tied for the league lead in complete games with Mullins was teammate David Huff (UC-Irvine). Huff was 3-3 on the year with a 1.09 ERA, fourth in the league.
Veteran Glen Swanson (UC-Irvine) was successful again for the A’s. Swanson was 4-3 with a 2.81 ERA, giving up only six walks and three homeruns in 51.1 innings.
The A’s were 21-23 at season’s end.
By Britt Berry (U. North Carolina), CCBL Intern
Falmouth Picks Up The Pieces, Wins West Division Crown
After a summer like this, it’s official: the Falmouth Commodores have seen it all.
They’ve seen what it’s like at the bottom, at the cellar of the West Division. After week one in the Cape League schedule, Falmouth was still anxiously searching for its first win. The Commodores stumbled out of the gate, losing their first five games and claiming the worst record in the league.
But with one swing of the bat, the perspective seemed to become a bit brighter. Still waiting to earn that first victory, Falmouth was mired in a dogfight with Cotuit—tied at four entering the bottom half of the ninth inning. Leading off for the Commodores was Daniel Carte, who had experienced his own bit of disappointment early on. Carte (Winthrop) was 0-for-19 on the season, still looking for that elusive first Cape League hit. After the first pitch of the inning, Falmouth and Carte got what they were looking for.
Carte had his first hit—a walk-off home run—and the Commodores were finally in the win column. As ice cold as both Carte and Falmouth were in the beginning, neither could be cooled down for the rest of the season. Falmouth’s dramatic victory was just the first of many to come, as they walked away with a West Division crown and a second place finish in the Cape League Championship Series.
As for Carte, he quickly made people forget about that 0-for-19 skid. His next two hits were home runs, an indication of what was to come. The stocky right fielder finished the summer as the Cape League’s most dangerous offensive threat, earning league MVP honors. Carte took two-thirds of the Triple Crown, leading home runs (11) and runs batted in (38), but falling just 19 points shy of a batting title. The accolades continued to roll in for Carte, who was named Summer Player of the Year by Baseball America.
Carte also earned a spot on the West Division All-Star team, joining six of his Falmouth teammates. Three other Commodores joined Carte in the starting lineup, a testament to the explosive Falmouth offense. Third baseman Matt Antonelli (Wake Forest) and shortstop Cliff Pennington (Texas A&M) highlighted arguably the best left-side of an infield on the entire Cape, while Danny Perales (Southern California) manned centerfield.
The Commodores were not all offense, though. Dallas Buck (Oregon State) and Jensen Lewis (Vanderbilt) emerged as one of the best one-two punches of any pitching staff in the league. Buck finished with a 4-1 mark, leading the league with a microscopic 0.77 ERA to complement 65 strikeouts. Lewis was a perfect 4-0, allowing just ten runs in 52 innings of work.
After finishing off Hyannis in a decisive game three of the West Division Championship Series, the Commodores were swept in the Cape League Championship Series by the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox. Cape League Manger of the Year Jeff Trundy’s squad was awarded a share of the first ever Commissioner’s Cup—an award given to the team displaying class on and off the field.
To begin the season, Commodore general manager Chuck Sturtevant dedicated the 2004 season to the late Arnie Allen, who was a Falmouth volunteer for 46 years before dying of esophageal cancer in October, 2003. The Commodores celebrated Allen’s life with their first playoff appearance since 1996, and one of the biggest turn-around stories of 2004.
By T.J. Lasita (Ohio U.), CCBL Intern
Cotuit Kettleers Narrowly Miss Post season
One run in the last inning of the last day of the regular season separated the Cotuit Kettleers from a West Division play-off birth. The Hyannis Mets—not Cotuit—scored that decisive run, leaving the Kettleers one win shy of the postseason.
Still, Cotuit had its own share of success in the 2004 Cape League season. The Kettleers spent a portion of the season atop the West Division standings, featuring one of the league’s stingiest defenses.
Cotuit enjoyed a run of 33 consecutive shutout innings in the third week of Cape League play, the second longest string in league history. Much of the credit is placed upon the Kettleer bullpen, one of the strongest on the Cape.
Atop the list of shutdown relievers for Cotuit was submariner Ryan Cahalan (Florida Southern). Cahalan led the league with six wins in 29 appearances. His underarm delivery baffled hitters all summer, as he allowed just 15 earned runs in nearly 50 innings of work. He allowed just one home run all summer, while striking out 31 hitters.
Offensively, Cotuit featured one of the league’s most potent hitters in the middle of its lineup. Bryan Harris (LSU) was a big, strong presence at the plate, hitting .308 for the summer. Harris’ 48 base hits put him in third place of all Cape League hitters.
The Kettleers were a threat on the base paths, as well. Dennis Diaz (Florida International) registered 14 stolen bases, good for third in the league. Overall, the Kettleers’ aggressive base running style netted 75 stolen bags, tops in the league.
Three Cotuit players were invited to the Cape League All-Star Game, to represent the West Division. Harris started the game at first base and was joined by teammate and designated hitter Geoff Strickland (Florida Southern) in the starting lineup. Coming off the bench was Nathan Emrick (Southern Illinois), one of the league’s most versatile players. Emrick saw time behind the plate and in the infield, while also having the ability to play the outfield.
Cotuit, behind manager Mike Roberts, reached the 20-win plateau for the fourth straight year.
By T.J. Lasita (Ohio University), CCBL Intern
John Garner, Jr.
CCBL Director of Public Relations &
(508) 790-0394 firstname.lastname@example.org