Mariners Navigate Rough Seas in Early Cape League Action
A hot start for the Harwich Mariners hasn’t landed them high atop the standings of the Cape Cod Baseball League.
Despite a 3-2 record, secured by a three-run ninth inning rally Monday night, the Mariners are down in the East Division pack. Even though Brewster opened with 12 temporary players on their roster they’re in first with a 4-1 record while Yarmouth-Dennis and Chatham are also 3-2
. Due to the later-starting College World Series and Team-USA tryouts, Cape teams are awash in temporary players and rosters will not be solidified for another week. That may be the reason for the somewhat shaky play around the league so far.
Harwich beat Hyannis 6-5 Monday night scoring three runs in the bottom of the ninth - without a hit. There was an error, a passed ball and four wild pitches by reliever Drew Fiorenza. The previous day it was Harwich that unraveled, handing Y-D 10 runs in the sixth inning at Y-D thanks to five walks, two errors and seven hits, including home runs by Matt Laporta and Wes Hodges.
During Monday’s win the two final Harwich runs both came in on wild pitches. Five batters reached base on third strikes on the night and one reached second when he was hit in the back by the catcher’s throw.
But a victory is a victory and the Mariners did good things to win. Drew Davidson had three hits with two doubles and two RBI. Davidson was a temporary player with Harwich last year, going 3 for 18 with one RBI and one run. He’s back as a temp again but has already exceeded last year’s totals with five hits in 14 at bats this year and two doubles and four RBI.
Reliever Craig Hanson was the winning pitcher Monday with a perfect ninth inning of work. He’s thrown two scoreless inning so fat this season.
Sunday’s 11-2 was less scintillating. Kevin Mulvey pitched well for the first five innings, and had his team ahead 2-1 but was charged with four runs in the 10-run sixth, three of them earned. Brent Lillibridge doubled in a run while Tim Grogan had a pair of hits.
The Mariners have had three stellar pitching performances so far. One was Saturday night in Orleans when Dan Brauer held the Cards to one run and two hits over five innings while striking out seven to pick up an easy 8-2 win. The Mariners struggled for a while against U-Mass hurler Matt Torra, but he ran out of steam in the fourth and Harwich scored six runs. Charles Lyons had an RBI double and John Sloan and Grogan singled runs.
Devin Monds of Northeastern, who’s not on the full season roster, pitched four hitless innings in relief of Brauer, fanning four. Monds hails from Ottawa, Ontario. Davidson knocked in two runs in this game was well.
Harwich also got good mound work from Anthony Varvaro Friday when they beat Brewster 8-0 at home. Varvaro, a 6-foot, 1-inch right-hander, struck out 10 in six innings while limiting the Whitecaps to just two hits. Tim Grogan had three hits for Harwich. He is the second leading hitter for the Mariners so far, with a .364 batting average. Davidson’s .429 leads the team. Shortstop Eric Eymann is hitting .286.
The Mariners lost their opener in Chatham on Thursday, 8-3 due to another disastrous inning. It was the fourth this time, when Chatham sent 13 men to bat and scored all eight runs. Brent Lillibridge belted two solo home runs for Harwich. He has two thirds of Harwich’s home runs so far. Mike Pankratz has the other and he also hit it in the opener.
The Mariners lineup has mostly consisted of Jon Aughey at second, Josh Bell designated hitter, Ben Copeland in center, Drew Davidson in right, Eymann at short, Grogan at third, James Holder at first, Lillibridge in left and Charles Lyons and John Sloane at catcher. Pankratz has also played outfield.
The Mariners baseball clinic for players age 5-17 began this week and will run weekly until Aug. 6. Clinics are at Whitehouse Field with sessions for 5-9 years from 9-10:30 a.m., for 10-14 year olds from 10:30 - noon, and two sessions for 15-17 years olds from 9-10:30 and 10:30 till noon. Registration is $55 per session for 5-14 years olds and $125 per session for 15-17 year olds and takes place each Monday morning.
By Rich Eldred