2 August 2007

East claims 3-2 victory during CCBL All Star game

Photo by Dave Morrison
#11-charlie cutler from brewter makes the sliding catch

By Staff reports
GateHouse News Service

Harwich - More than 5,500 fans and scores of big league scouts filled the stands at Clem Spillane Field in Wareham Saturday night to see the Cape Cod Baseball League’s finest compete in the premier event of the summer, the 45th Under Armour Cape League All-Star Game, presented by the Leading Banks of Cape Cod.

     Reprising last year’s win, the East walked away with a 3-2 victory before 5,591 fans in a very competitive contest, highlighted by great pitching, spectacular defense and even a couple of long balls.

     Boston sportscaster Bob Neumeier and former New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays hurler and more recently Baltimore Orioles Executive VP Jim Beattie (Harwich ’74) provided the commentary on NESN.

     Under Armour made an impressive showing as the game’s new title-sponsor, providing several tents featuring merchandise and entertainment for spectators young and old. Commissioner Paul Gallop pronounced the day a “rousing success.”

     In the top of the first inning, starting pitcher Aaron Crow (Missouri) dazzled fans and scouts alike as he struck out all three batters he faced – Harwich’s Cole Figueroa (Florida) and Yarmouth-Dennis’s Collin Cowgill (Kentucky) swinging, and Brewster’s Yonder Alonso (Miami) looking. The Falmouth right-hander’s overpowering performance left a lasting impression on the 100-plus Major League scouts present, who voted him the Under Armour Undeniable Player of the Game for the West.

     Cotuit’s Reese Havens (South Carolina) got the first hit in the bottom half of the first, a line drive to the wall in right field. But thereafter, the bats remained silent until the fourth when the East scored its three runs on three hits.

     Y-D’s Gordon Beckham (Georgia) doubled Alonso home from first, took third on the throw to the plate and scored on a wild pitch for a 2-0 lead.

     Dennis Raben (Miami) of the Orleans Cardinals produced what would prove to be the winning run when he homered to right field in front of the scoreboard. The same sweet swing that earned Raben third place in the Home Run Hitting Contest that preceded the game ultimately determined the game’s outcome.

     “In this league, pitching is going to beat hitting most of the time,” said Raben. “We knew the pitchers were going to try to light up the radar guns, and we wanted to make something happen in the field.”

     The West responded quickly in the home half of the fourth when Falmouth’s Matt Hague (Washington) reached on a fielder’s choice and raced home on a single to left by Bourne’s Ben Guez (William & Mary). In the sixth, James Darnell (South Carolina), a Hyannis Met, blasted a solo home run to right for the West’s other run.

     The pitchers from both divisions had things pretty much their way the rest of the game, with Wareham right-hander Chris Hicks (Georgia Tech) striking out two in the eighth. Luke Burnett (Louisiana Tech) escaped a scare in the top of the ninth while trying to keep the game within reach for the West. With the bases loaded and one out, the big right-hander from Falmouth got the center-fielder from Brewster, Blake Tekotte (Miami) to hit a pop-fly to second base. After a dropped ball, a throw to second, and a good deal of confusion, the umpires recognized the infield fly rule and gave the West the two outs needed to get out of the inning.

Ryan Perry (Arizona), an Orleans Cardinal right-hander, earned the save as he sealed the deal for the East by retiring the three batters he faced in the ninth, striking out two.

ALL-STAR NOTES: The Under Armour Cape League All-Star Game is the signature event of the CCBL season, said Commissioner Galop. “This year exceeded all expectations,” said Galop. “The volunteers were tremendous.” … After the game, Galop announced the two Under Armour Undeniable Players of the Game: Crow from the West and Raben from the East. Raben had just one hit, but it was the game-winning homer. He also walked and stole a base ... Attendance was announced at 5,591, with a 50-50 raffle winner’s pot of more than $2,000 … A crew from the New England Sports Network taped the contest. and, with the Red Sox enjoying a night off, NESN was scheduled to broadcast it on Monday, July 30, starting at 7 p.m. … Wareham first baseman Luke Murton (Georgia Tech) won the Home Run Hitting contest with an 8-7 finale win over defending champion Mitch Moreland, following in the footsteps of his older brother, outfielder Matt Murton(Georgia Tech), now with the Chicago Cubs. Matt, who played at Wareham in 2001 and 2002, won the 2002 contest at Whitehouse Field in Harwich. Luke thrilled the home fans by hitting 22 homers, including eight in the final round to edge defending champion Mitch Moreland (Mississippi State) of Bourne ... With more than 100 MLB scouts watching, the pressure was on for the All-Stars to perform at their best, but Raben, like many of the players, was unfazed. “Honestly, I feel more pressure playing in front of my family than the scouts,” he said.