9 August 2004

Championship Week

Cape League Interns TJ Lasita and Brian MacPherson

East Division Preview

     An uninvited guest nearly crashed the party, but Brewster held on to earn the East Division’s second playoff spot and the right to face division champion Yarmouth-Dennis in the first round of the postseason.

     The Whitecaps survived a late bump in the road thanks to a group of hitters who hit for a league-best .246 average. Ryan Patterson (Louisiana State) led the league in hitting and slugged five home runs to lead the team, and he was named one of Brewster’s most valuable players this season.

     The team’s other most valuable player took a slightly different route to stardom on the Cape. Will Rhymes (William and Mary) arrived as a temporary player, but he played his way into the All-Star Game. He kept his batting average above .300 throughout the season, and he led his team in stolen bases while playing superb defense at second base.

     Rhymes wasn’t the only Whitecap to represent Brewster at Eldredge Park in July, though. Four teammates – Patterson, Michael Campbell (South Carolina), Matt Goyen (Georgia College) and Ryan Falcon (UNC-Greensboro) – also received invitations to the midsummer classic.

     Goyen quickly became the star of a pitching staff that received contributions up and down the line. Josh Cribb (Clemson) tossed a one-hitter in June, and Matt Avery (Virginia), Jason Determann (Louisiana State) and Phil Davidson (N.C. State) have contributed as starters this season for Brewster.

     The Whitecaps are making their second straight playoff appearance and eighth overall. They are 6-15 overall and 0-2 against Y-D, having met in the 1989 playoffs.

     Yarmouth-Dennis punched its ticket to the playoffs several games before the season ended. The early clincher was a fitting reward for a campaign in which the Red Sox rolled to an early 6-2 record and sustained their success with a potent offense and a deep pitching staff.

     Catcher Frank Curreri (UMass-Amhert) led the league in hitting for much of the season, and he was rewarded with the Best New England Pro Prospect Award. He also won the East Division’s Most Valuable Player award in the All-Star Game, and his versatility has allowed the team to benefit from the powerful bat of catcher Ben Crabtree (Ohio), who slugged two home runs against Falmouth on Sunday.

     Playoff success sometimes just comes down to who’s swinging the hot bat, though, and Nick Moresi (Fresno State) couldn’t be hotter right now. Entering Sunday’s game at Falmouth, Moresi had hit .500 in his last five games with two home runs and three runs batted in.

     But Yarmouth-Dennis isn’t just an offensive juggernaut. Justin Keadle (Wake Forest) headlines perhaps the league’s deepest starting rotation. Six active pitchers have made at least three starts for the Red Sox, and four of those pitchers sport earned run averages below 3.00.

     These two teams met six times this season, with Yarmouth-Dennis winning four of those games. Daniel McCutchen (Oklahoma) dominated the last contest – he threw a complete-game shutout to lead the Red Sox to victory.

     Yarmouth-Dennis is making its 10th playoff appearance and first since 2002. The Red Sox won league titles in 1989 and 1990. This is the third postseason trip for manager Scott Pickler, who won his 150th game 2 August. The Red Sox are 21-18-1 in the playoffs.

     The series will begin at Y-D’s Red Wilson Field at 3 p.m. on Tuesday and continue at Brewster’s home field at Cape Cod Tech at 3 p.m. on Wednesday. If necessary, the series will wrap up with a winner-take-all third game back at Yarmouth-Dennis. - By Brian MacPherson, CCBL Intern, bmacpherson@capecodbaseball.org


West Division Preview

     After the first week of the Cape Cod Baseball League season, Falmouth and Hyannis seemed to be the teams least likely to make a run at the playoffs.

     Luckily for the Commodores and Mets, the Cape League season lasts two months, not one week.

     Both teams picked up the pieces after less-than-stellar starts and earned the right to meet in the first round of the single elimination playoffs. 

     Falmouth clinched first place in the West Division on Friday with a 2-1 win over the Brewster Whitecaps. The Commodores will play host in games one and three of he division series.

     Hyannis’ seat in the playoffs came in a more dramatic fashion. Tied for second place with Cotuit on the last day of the season, the Mets needed ten innings to finish off the Kettleers, as Joe Holland singled home Mike Costanzo with two outs to polish off the victory.

     After starting off the season 0-5, Falmouth became one of the league’s most feared offensive teams. Anchoring the middle portion of Manager of the Year Jeff Trundy’s potent lineup is shortstop Cliff Pennington and right fielder Daniel Carte.

     Pennington, winner of the league’s Manny Robello 10th Player Award, is one of the league’s best all-around players. With a smooth glove in the middle infield, a bat that can hit for power and average and the league lead in stolen bases, Pennington is a key reason for Falmouth’s success in 2004.

     Behind Pennington in the lineup is Carte, the Cape League’s Most Valuable Player. After beginning the season 0-for-19 at the plate, Carte exploded onto the scene. He finished the regular season ranked first in two of the three triple crown categories, falling just short in batting average.

     The Falmouth pitching staff is paced by Jensen Lewis and Dallas Buck. The duo has combined for eight wins and 118 punchouts this season.

     Falmouth returns to the playoffs for the first time since 1996 when it lost in the finals to Chatham. This is the 12th playoff appearance for the Commodores who are 34-22 for a .607 winning percentage, best in the league. 

     Hyannis is making its second straight visit to the postseason and third since 2000. The Mets are 22-23 in 11 playoff trips. This is the first meeting between these teams in the postseason.

     The Mets dropped six of their first eight games this season, but eventually got on a winning track and played a good portion of the season in the top half of the West Division standings. With a batting average above the .300 mark an on-base percentage over .400, Hyannis’ Pat Reilly makes a living getting on base and scoring runs. 

     Reilly was one of six Mets to be selected to the Cape League All-Star team. He was joined by catcher Chris Robinson, outfielder Shane Robinson and pitchers Mark Sauls, Joe Martinez and Mike Wlodarczyk. Wlodarczyk was a perfect 4-0 in the regular season, featuring a 2.08 ERA. Martinez struck out a team-high 56 batters in 57 innings of work this season.

     Falmouth and Hyannis met six times this season, with the Commodores on top of the series 4-2. The most recent meeting came Saturday, as Falmouth knocked off Hyannis, 4-1.

     The best of three West Division series begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Falmouth. Game two will be played in Hyannis at 3 p.m. Wednesday. If necessary, the Commodores will play host in game three. 

     The winner of the series will advance to take on the winner of the East Division series in the Cape League Championship Series. -By T.J. Lasita, CCBL Intern, TJLasita@capecodbaseball.org

John Garner, Jr.
CCBL Director of
Public Relations & Broadcasting
(508) 790-0394 johnwgarner@earthlink.net 
Bruce hack, League Historian