This week in Baseball
30 June 2001

Braves Continue Torrid Pace, Y-D Remains in First in East

 Brewster Whitecaps catcher Chris Hamblen (Cincinnati) tracks down a foul pop versus the Bourne Braves this week.
 Photo by S.Walsh /CCBL 2001

COADY FIELD -- By the end of business Friday (June 29), it became apparent that the Bourne Braves mean nothing but business this season as head coach Spencer Graham's (VMI) squad remained on the heels of a five-game win streak and a 9-2 run since June 17.

Leading the Cape League with a 12-3-1 record and atop the West Division standings by five points, the Braves' pitching staff had a league-leading 1.58 earned run average had allowed the second least amount of hits by any Cape League staff (one behind Falmouth's 97 hits allowed), had five shutouts and had maintained a rock solid 138-42 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Braves closer Ryan Speier (Radford) had nine saves in 11 appearances to lead the league by week's end, while Joe Blanton (2-0/Kentucky), Mike Dennison (2-0/Wichita State) and Casey Shumaker (3-1/Jacksonville) all continued to offer scouts something to think about while keeping the Braves in the hunt. Shumaker picked up his third win of the season in a 2-0 blanking of visiting Harwich Friday night, going six innings and scattering three hits. 

Leading the Cape League with a 12-3-1 record and atop the West Division standings by five points, the Braves' pitching staff had a league-leading 1.58 earned run average had allowed the second least amount of hits by any Cape League staff (one behind Falmouth's 97 hits allowed), had five shutouts and had maintained a rock solid 138-42 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

 Wareham shortstop Paul Henry (Ball State) turns the double play nicely as Chatham A's outfielder Adam Greenberg slides and turns to see the play develop.
 Photo by S.Walsh /CCBL 2001

Braves closer Ryan Speier (Radford) had nine saves in 11 appearances to lead the league by week's end, while Joe Blanton (2-0/Kentucky), Mike Dennison (2-0/Wichita State) and Casey Shumaker (3-1/Jacksonville) all continued to offer scouts something to think about while keeping the Braves in the hunt. Shumaker picked up his third win of the season in a 2-0 blanking of visiting Harwich Friday night, going six innings and scattering three hits.

At 10-6 on the still young summer season, Head Coach Scott Pickler's (Cypress JC) boys kept their heads above water and in so doing remained atop the East Division just ahead of the upstart Chatham A's (9-7). The Red Sox mixed solid team hitting (.235) with good pitching performances to keep their first place slot. Righty Clark Saylor (William & Mary) had a 2-0 record with a 0.50 ERA through the end of the week, joined by southpaw Steve Ponder who was 3-0 with a 0.89 ERA and 28 Ks in 20.1 innings pitched. Ponder has allowed only nine walks thus far this season. Going 8.0 strong innings on Friday night in a 6-0 shutout over the Falmouth Commodores was Michigan's Jim Brauer. Brauer struck out six, walked one and allowed just two hits in his stellar performance over the 8-7-1 Commdores.

Leading the Sox in hitting by week's end was designated hitter Ryan Klocksein (Kansas) at a .333 clip with five RBI, followed by the multi-talented John Baker (UC-Berkeley) who was hitting .278 with seven RBI and third baseman Hyung Cho (Houston) at .273 (through June 28).

 Boston Red Sox prospect Ben Crockett (Harvard) continued to mow down opposing hitters this week, raising his league-leading strikeout total to 38 and posting his first victory of 2001.
 Photo by S.Walsh /CCBL 2001

Make no mistake, though, the perennial contender Wareham Gatemen and increasingly strong Falmouth Commodores came breathing hard down Bourne's back this week in the West Division, with Wareham's Ben Crockett (Harvard) continuing to mow down opposing batters the two teams' exchanging players atop the league leaders in batting.

Wareham third baseman Aaron Hill (LSU) took over the league lead in batting with a .345 mark, followed closely by Falmouth third baseman sluggers Hunter Brown (Rice) who was at .342 by the end of the day Friday.

Creeping up behind Hill and Brown was Y-D's Klocksein (.333) and a steadily climbing Brian Stavisky (.321/Notre Dame). Below .300 at the beginning of the week, Stavisky climbed back into the CCBL batting title hunt with a 4-6, two-day performance at the end of the week, with one home run and four RBI. Perhaps inspired by the return this week of second-year Mets players Brendan Harris (William & Mary) and Ryan Barthelemy (Florida State), Stavisky's offensive display this week was mirrored by Barthelemey's continued hot streak (two home runs). 

Rounding off the Cape League top batsmen through June 29 were Russ Adams (Orleans/UNC Chapel Hill) at .317 (20 hits), Nick Italiano at .310 (Bourne/Penn), Mike McCoy at .294 (Chatham/San Diego), Hyannis Met L.J. Biernbaum (Florida Atlantic/.291), Orleans Cardinal Troy Caradonna (Duke/.288) and Brewster backstop Chris Hamblen (Cincinnati/.286).

 Chatham A's third baseman Mike Moon (USC) watched the catcher's throw veer off into left field as Wareham base stealer Eric Reed (Texas A&M) gets up to head home with the game-winning run.
 Photo by S.Walsh /CCBL 2001

Crockett, who came off an amazing all-star season last summer with the record-breaking Gatemen to close off the 2001 school year with a no-hitter versus Dartmouth, has continued to show his dominance and stability on the mound this summer. One of the Boston Red Sox top draft picks this spring (10th round/303rd pick overall), Crockett climbed to the top of CCBL strikeout leaders with a brilliant, 3-0 shutout over the East Division first-place Red Sox Thursday (June 28) evening at Clem Spillane Field. In his eight-inning stint, Crockett notched his first win (1-1), struck out 11, walked one and scattered five hits. All totaled, Crockett finished the week with 38 Ks in 24 innings pitched and had allowed just three walks. His ERA stood at 0.38.

Helping Crockett in his first CCBL victory of 2001, was third baseman Aaron Hill who went 3-3 with one run knocked in and a run scored, one steal and two doubles. 

Wareham's entire pitching staff may be the true key to the team's six-game win streak that began on Saturday, June 23, and an 8-3 posting in the team's last 11 games.

At 4-0 with a 0.00 earned run average through June 28, relief man Pat Neshek stood at the top of relief hurlers in the win-loss column in 11 innings pitched. Neshek had struck out 11 and walked just three batters. Fellow Wareham righty Mark Michael (Kentucky) had gone 18 innings through June 29, amassing a 1.00 ERA and striking out 17 to up his record to 3-0. Michael's six-inning, shutout performance versus the Whitecaps Friday night helped Wareham to a 10-5 record through June 29, good for second place in the West. South Alabama 6'5" righty Clark Girardeau was still second on the team in Ks with 18 in 18.1 innings pitched.

 Bourne Braves shortstop Danny Rueckel (Furman) turns one against the Whitecaps at Coady Field.
 Photo by S.Walsh /CCBL 2001

They say you never give a good team more than three outs and the Hyannis Mets Thursday night learned that the hard way as a costly error in the top of the seventh versus the Chatham A's opened the floodgates and pushed the A's over .500 to an 8-7 record. The A's took that winning momentum back to Veterans Field Friday (June 29) night, staging a 5-4 win over Orleans and breaking the tie between the two teams for second place in the East. Chatham finished up the week at 9-7 while Orleans fell to 8-8. Baylor righty Zane Carlson notched his sixth save of the season in the 5-4 win over Orleans.

Second-year Chatham star Drew Meyer (South Carolina) made the Mets pay dearly with a bases-clearing double to cape a six-run seventh that rang the death knell for the Mets. The 12-6 loss for Hyannis spoiled Ryan Barthelemy's (Florida State) second home run in as many days and another stellar display by fellow two-year Met Brian Stavisky (Notre Dame) who went 2-3 with a steal, RBI and two walks. Barthelemy also collected three RBI.

A's 2000 All-Star righty Dan Krines (Fairfield) came true to form this week, posting his first win of 2001 with a well-handled home outing versus the first-place Y-D Red Sox. Krines went seven innings, striking out five and walking none to give the A's a needed edge in the East Division standings. Krines went 7-1 last summer and was CCBL Co-Pitcher of the Year along with Wareham ace Ben Crockett (Harvard).

Around the Horn 

Home of the Braves -- Bourne Braves righty Joe Blanton (Kentucky), spun a two-hitter over seven innings in a scoreless tie against Cotuit on June 17, collecting 11 Ks. Blanton followed that performance with six scoreless innings (two hits, one walk, three Ks) in a 1-0 win at Falmouth on June 22. For his efforts, Blanton earned Coca-Cola Pitcher of the Week honors. He allowed just one run over his first three starts of the season but picked up just one win (19 IP, seven hits, four walks, 18 Ks). Braves closer Ryan Speier saved six straight games June 12-22 (six IP, two hits, no earned runs, two walks, 12 Ks). The early leader in that department with nine saves through June 29, Speier had just three saves all season while compiling a 4-7 mark and a 5.05 ERA for Radford University. Braves' pitchers held opponents to three runs or fewer in eight of the team's first 11 games, over which Bourne went 8-3-1. The team now stands at 12-3-1 and in first place in the West Division.

 Bourne braves left fielder Jimmy Burgess (Tulane) rips a single to left as Brewster's Chris Hamblen (Cincinnati) reacts.
 Photo by S.Walsh /CCBL 2001

Hot-handed Hamblen -- Brewster Whitecaps catcher opened some eyes this week as his hot bat placed him among the CCBL's top batters. More importantly, Hamblen showed immense toughness after taking a wicked foul tip versus Bourne on Tuesday, June 26. While the game was momentarily delayed as Hamblen recovered, the Cincinnati backstop mirrored the same type of all-star caliber play exemplified by fellow Cincinnati Cape Leaguer Kevin Youkilis (Bourne 2000) when he promptly returned to the ballgame. Whitecaps' righty Courtney Hall (UNLV) threw a three-hitter in a 3-1, complete-game, win at Lowell Park on June 18 (nine innings pitched, no walks, seven Ks) to win his third straight start (21.2 IP, 16 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 6 BB, 17 SO). Three nights after Hall's masterpiece, return Brewster southpaw ace Ryan Gloger (Stanford) fanned 11 batters (6 IP, 4 H, 0 R) in a no-decision against Bourne. The game capped a span of three games and 11 innings in which Gloger did not allow a run (6 H, 0 BB, 16 SO). Whitecaps' slugger Jay Garthwaite (Washington) led the league in home runs through June 28 with three, after he hit one bomb in three consecutive games from June 17-20 (3-12, 3 RBI). Garthwaite led the league with six extra-base hits and was fourth with three doubles and six RBI through June 24. By the end of this week, Orleans Cardinals' first baseman Larry Broadway took over the league lead in RBI with nine, followed by Brewster catcher Chris Hamblen (Cincinnati), Orleans' Steve Guthrie (Palomar CC), and Wareham's Mike Huggins (Baylor) and Aaron Hill (LSU) each with eight.

A's Pick up the Pace -- While A's lefty Corey Hamman was busy this week upping his record to 3-0 with a 0.54 ERA and hadn't allowed a run in three games from June 12-19, teammate Rich McGuire jumped onto the league-leader board with his improvement to 2-1 and a 0.78 ERA. Prior to his second win this week, McGuire tossed eight scoreless innings (three hits, no walks, six Ks) in a 1-0 win against Brewster on June 21. It was the second consecutive start in which the University of Delaware senior-to-be did not walk a batter. McGuire, who walked 33 batters in 102.1 innings this past college season, earned second-team All-America East honors and went 10-3 with a 4.05 ERA in helping the Blue Hens to a 45-15 record and a berth in the NCAA Regionals.

 Bourne Braves' shortstop Will Hudson (Oregon State) takes a hack against the Brewster Whitecaps.
 Photo by S.Walsh /CCBL 2001

The Century Mark -- Cotuit manager Mike Coutts recorded his 100th career win on Monday, June 25 when the Kettleers defeated Chatham, 2-1 at Veterans Field. Coutts is the 24th Cape League manager to reach the 100-win plateau. He is 100-81-6 for a .551 winning percentage, good for 11th place on the all-time list. He is alone in 24th on the career wins list, breaking a tie with current CCBL Commissioner and former Y-D Red Sox manager Bob Stead (99-140-16). This is Coutts' fifth season with the Kettleers and he is the fourth Cotuit manager to reach 100 wins, joining George Greer (213-143-21), Jack McCarthy (208-153-15) and Jim Hubbard (147-108-0). Coach Coutts has managed two CCBL Champion teams - in 1995 and 1999. Cotuit was named the CCBL Franchise of the Decade for the 1990s by Baseball America. Cotuit Kettleer backstop Alberto Concepcion (USC) was tied for first in the league in batting at .333 (8-for-24) over his first seven games and was at .306 through June 28, just four at-bats shy of the league minimum to be listed among the league leaders in that category. Concepcion, who earned NCAA First Team All-Tournament honors, turned down the San Diego Padres after being selected by that organization in the second round of the 1999 draft.

Tale of Two Steves -- Falmouth Commodores' righty Steve Jackson (Clemson) pitched 6.1 scoreless innings in a 2-1 win at Orleans on June 18. Two nights later, fellow Commodore righty Steve White (Baylor) allowed just one hit over eight scoreless innings (four walks, six Ks) in a 7-0 triumph over Chatham. White followed up his continued success with a stellar, seven-inning win over Cotuit at Lowell Park on June 26, striking out seven Ks and one walk, allowing just one run, a home run to Cotuit's John Oehler (Old Dominion) in the bottom of the second inning. While Cotuit lost 4-1, Oehler went 3-3 with one RBI (His solo shot). 

 Chatham A's southpaw Rich Hill (Michigan), a Milton, Mass. Native, spins a nasty deuce versus the host Wareham Gatemen.
 Photo by S.Walsh /CCBL 2001

Cool Hand Luke -- Harwich Mariners southpaw Matt Lynch (Florida State) struck out 11 batters in a 3-1 loss against Chatham on June 22. Lynch's outing came just three days after Mariner righty Matt Henrie (Clemson) fanned 10 batters in seven innings of work in a 2-1 loss at Chatham. Teammate and fellow right-hander Luke Robertson (Kansas State) found himself among the league leaders in pitching through June 28, as he finally posted a win (1-0/0.48 ERA) this week after not allowing a run in three games from June 13-21. Robertson took a tough no decision on June 26 at Whitehouse Field versus the Hyannis Mets, allowing one earned run in eight innings of work and striking out 10. Mariner outfielder Burney Hutchinson (Mississippi) stole three bases on June 20 in a 7-2 loss at Orleans. Among the league leaders in hits (17) through June 28, Hutchinson was tied with teammate Luke Appert (Minnesota) for third in the CCBL in doubles (4).

Back in the Saddle -- Hyannis Mets lefty Kevin Ool (Marist) did not allow a run in seven games June 13-28 (10.1 innings pitched, four hits, three walks, 11 Ks). Mets' hurlers with 1-1 records through June 28 included Justin Taylor (Baylor), Justin Lord (Florida State) and Jason Tourangeau (East Carolina). Tom Kandybowicz (Villanova) notched his second win of the season (2-1) over the Cotuit Kettleers at McKeon Field Friday night. Lord left the Mets this week after signing a contract with the Kansas City Royals. After all-star season with the Hyannis Mets last summer, Brendan Harris (William & Mary) and Ryan Barthelemy (Florida State) returned to the Mets' roster late this week, with Barthelemy putting on an immediate show with two home runs. The Chicago Cubs in the fifth round of this year's Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft picked Harris 138th overall. Harris, Barthelemy and fellow return Mets' star Stavisky were all league leaders in batting last summer.

 Falmouth Commodores' slugger Hunter Brown (Rice) awaits the throw at third as Hyannis Mets catcher Ryan Garko (Stanford) slides in safely.
 Photo by S.Walsh /CCBL 2001

Adams Storms the East Division -- Orleans Cardinals' right-hander Matt Incinelli (North Florida), a second-year CCBL player, spun seven scoreless innings (4 H, 3 BB, 4 SO) but did not get a decision at Yarmouth-Dennis on June 21. In four appearances for the Cardinals this summer, Incinelli has one save and 11 Ks in 15.1 innings. Topping the Ks list for the Redbirds thus far this year is 6'3" right-hander Scott Autrey (UNC-Chapel Hill), who was 1-1 with a 3.15 ERA through June 28. Brett Lewis (1-0/Georgia Southern) hurled eight scoreless frames against the Y-D Red Sox on June 22 but got a no-decision (four hits, no walks, nine Ks) in a 1-0 win. Second Baseman Russ Adams was leading the league in hits (20) through June 28 and was tied for third in the league in batting at .333. He also leads the league in runs scored (11) and is fourth in slugging percentage (.433).

Future Bosox Ace? - In his three appearances for the Gatemen this summer, Red Sox draft pick and Harvard University star Ben Crockett has fanned 13, 14 and 11 batters for a total of 38 Ks to lead the league. Crockett went 4-4 for the Crimson this spring. Crockett has but three walks in three starts thus far for the Gatemen. Butler righty Pat Neshek was atop the league leaders in wins at 4-0, but more promising for Wareham was the team's 1.90 combined earned run average. At 9-5 and in second place in the West Division, LSU's Aaron Hill with a .352 batting average and a league-high .245 clip led Wareham.

Baker's Got More than a Dozen -- UC-Berkeley's John Baker was the Coca-Cola Hitter of the Week after staging a 9-21 run at the plate with seven RBI through June 24, but ended this week at 15-54 overall and a .278 clip. Still, Baker led the first place Sox in hitting through June 28.

Quick Hands, Quick Feet -- Brian Stavisky (Notre Dame) of the Hyannis Mets overtook the league lead in RBI by week's end (10) while Orleans Cardinals first baseman Larry Broadway followed close behind with nine, tied with Mike Huggins of the Wareham Gatemen. On the basepaths, Chatham A's speed-demon Mike McCoy took the stolen bases lead (8) followed close behind by Harwich Mariners' Matt Davis and Nick Blue, each with seven and six thefts respectively. 

Falmouth's Erik Schindewolf (Texas A&M) drives one to right centerfield versus the Hyannis Mets. 
Sean Walsh/CCBL 2001 

Wareham Gatemen third baseman Aaron Hill (LSU) took over the league lead in batting this week, finishing off Friday (June 29) at .345.
Sean Walsh/CCBL 2001 

-- Special thanks to Missy Alaimo, Bruce Hack and Jeff Goldfine /Sportsticker

-- Sean Walsh