5 July 2006

Mariners stuck in slide

Things have taken a turn for the worse for the Harwich Mariners, as a four-game slid left them on the bottom of the East Division. 

Harwich shortstop Sergio Miranda looks to bunt his way during the Mariners’ 4-2 win over Chatham June 27. (Merrily Lunsford photo)

"Right now, we’re just not getting the key hits when the time comes," said Mariners’ skipper Steve Englert. "We just need to stay positive. The breaks will start going our way; it’s just a matter of time." 

After a 4-2 win over division rival Chatham June 27, the dropped four in a row, including a close 2-1 loss in Orleans Sunday night. 

"Our bats have cooled a little, but these are talented kids and I think they’ll start to come around," added Englert. 

Despite the recent slide, the Mariners still boast the fourth-ranked offense in the league with a team batting average of .239. 

Antone DeJesus of the University of Kentucky leads the team with a .325 average. DeJesus also boasts the league’s second-best on-base percentage with a .491 average in 12 games. 

"We’ve been losing some close games, but this team has some talented players on it, so we’ll be fine. Our goal now is just to string some victories together," said Mariner’s catcher Devin Thomas of Brown. 

Thomas is in his second year as a Cape League player after playing for Cotuit last year. 

"The goal for this team is to keep fighting," he said. "We’ve had a bad time lately, but we know we’re not that far out of it." 

Thomas is batting .256 and is third on the team is on-base percentage, something he attributes to being in the league last year. 

"I had a much better idea of how good the pitching was going to be entering the season, so I’ve made a few adjustments in my approach," he said. 

The Mariners’ starting pitching has been better than expected, posting a not-so-good 5-9 record, but still ranked fifth in the league with a 3.07 ERA. 

Harwich starter Johnny Dorn (Nebraska) had an impressive start against Orleans Sunday night, giving up only three hits through eight innings, but a seventh-inning home run by Orleans’ Danny Valencia spoiled an otherwise solid performance. 

In a similar performance, Harwich starter Dan Merklinger of Seton Hall struck out 10 batters in the Mariners’ 2-0 loss to Cotuit Friday night. Merklinger seemed to be cruising along, allowing only four hits and no runs, but was pulled after the sixth. 

With his team high two wins and no losses, Tony Watson (Nebraska) is ranked eighth in the league with a 0.69 ERA in 13 innings pitched. 

Reinforcements are on their way with the Mariners still expecting four players from Team USA tryouts and another three from the College World Series. To make room for the additional players, some current temporary players could find themselves on the outside looking in. 

"As of right now, I don’t think there’ll be a spot for me here," said first baseman Adam Amar of the University of Memphis, who is currently batting .261 with a home run. "I know coach has been in contact with some other teams looking for a spot for me. It’s tough, though, because most of the teams have their rosters pretty mush set." 

Today marks the final day Cape League teams can make permanent changes in their rosters. 

By Matt Rice/ mrice@cnc.com