17 August, 2004

Some Mariners Made their Mark

     The Mariners finished their rocky season last week, limping home with a 20-24 record (last place East). For Harwich, this week mirrored many others this season, as they just couldn't string together victories.

     Going into the final week, manager Steve Englert knew it would take a near miracle to qualify for the playoffs, and the miracle never came. As has been the case all season, the problem was silence from the bats. In the final six games of the season, the Mariners only scored 13 runs or just over two a game. Opponents teed off on Harwich pitching for 35 runs (nearly six a game) during the same span.

     Despite the disappointing finish, the Mariners had many big contributors, none bigger than closer Craig Hansen (St. John's). He finished off the season the same way he has pitched throughout it: perfect. In the Mariners' 3-2 season-ending victory over Brewster, Hansen threw two perfect innings and struck out six to grab his 10th save. Hansen finished the year with an ERA of 0.00 in 22.1 innings. He struck out nearly twice as many batters as innings he pitched (41) and surrendered only three unearned runs on the season.

     Several other hurlers had huge years and none was bigger than Northwestern's Dan Brauer. He led the league in wins and finished 6-2 with a 1.90 ERA. He was the model of consistency and finished third in strikeouts with 65. His ability to keep the Mariners in all of his starts made him the Mariners' Pitcher of the Year award winner.

     This was a hotly contested category as Hansen, Zach Ward (Gardner Webb) and Ryan LaMotta (Baylor) all had big seasons. Ward was somewhat overlooked because of a deceiving 2-3 record but was often the victim of hard luck losses. He was third in the league among starters with a 1.05 ERA and struck out 57 in 42.2 innings pitched. LaMotta won the team's sportsmanship award but was in the running for Pitcher of the Year. He made the most appearances of anyone (14) other than Hansen and had a 3-0 record with a 1.47 ERA.

     Guiding the staff was team MVP John Slone (Miami Ohio) who was not only a stellar defensive catcher but proved to be a clutch hitter. He has very hot in July and among the league leaders in batting average, but tailed off at the end of the season to finish at .244. He was a leader both on and off the field and Englert considered him his MVP all along.

     John Aughey (Citadel) was a big offensive contributor, and won the team's 10th player award with a .267 batting average. Ben Copeland (Pittsburgh) led the team in batting average .271, hits 35, runs scored 21, and triples 3.

By Patrick O'Neill