28 June 2006

Short-handed Mariners try to hang tough

With nine players still missing from their full-time roster due to the College World Series and Team USA tryouts, the Harwich Mariners are looking to make the most with what they have. 

"Things are up and down," said Harwich manager Steve Englert after watching his team lose 3-0 to Western Division leader Cotuit Monday night. "Our bullpen has been outstanding, and we’ve had some good starting pitching. The problem has been consistency. We’d really like to string a few victories in row together." 

After posting a 2-4 record to start the summer season, the Mariners scored back-to-back victories over Yarmouth-Dennis last Thursday and Friday to put them at .500 before the rains halted all games this weekend. 

"Our goal is to stay right around .500. We’re at 4-5 now, so we’re doing a pretty good job at that," Englert said. "(Tuesday’s) game against Chatham will be a big one." 

Harwich lost its lone matchup with the A’s 5-2 June 18. Chatham boasts a 5-2-1 record. 

As a team, the Mariners are ranked sixth in the league in batting, with a team average of .229. They’re also seventh in pitching, with a team earned-run average of 3.38. 

"It’s difficult, because most of these guys are just getting used to playing with a wooden bat," said Englert. 

Entering his fourth year as the Mariners’ skipper, Englert said in his experience, it usually takes about two weeks for the hitters to adjust to the wooden bats. 

Persistent rain forced the postponement of last weekend’s games against Bourne on Saturday and Hyannis on Sunday. Both games will be made up at later dates. 

Also looming for the Mariners’ coach will be important decisions about which of his temporary players will be signed to full-time contracts. Englert said some of those decisions should be made by Sunday. 

"It’s going to be difficult, because each one of these guys (temp players) has done a great job for us," he said. 

The Mariners will finish this week with a game at Hyannis tomorrow, then a pair of home games against Cotuit on Friday night and Brewster on Saturday, followed by a matchup at Orleans on Sunday. 

By Matt Rice/ mrice@cnc.com