17 September 2005

Team Season Reviews


East Division 

Orleans Cardinals Earn 2005 CCBL Championship
     For the second time in three seasons, the Orleans Cardinals are CCBL champions!
     The Cardinals enjoyed an incredible 2005 Cape League season. Not only did they manage to hold onto the top spot in the East Division and post the best overall record in the league, but they were also able to beat Chatham in the divisional playoffs and then top the Bourne Braves to win the championship.
     The Cardinals had a talented squad this season, from the coaches to the players. Led by first-time field manager and Mike Curran Manager of the Year Kelly Nicholson, the Cards were packed with phenomenal players. Emmanuel Burriss (Kent State) led the league in stolen bases with 37, setting a Cardinals team record. Outfielder Colin Curtis (Arizona State) earned East MVP honors in the All-Star Game. Relief pitcher Steven Wright (Hawaii) won the Russ Ford Top Relief Pitcher Award and was on the mound for the final out against Bourne in the title game. Burriss and teammate Brad Meyers (Loyola Marymount) shared the ESPN/SportsTicker Playoff MVP award.
     The Cardinals set a record for wins in July with a record of 19-7 and were tied for most road wins in the league with Cotuit at 17. The Cardinals pitching staff improved on its strong performance of seasons past, setting a team ERA record with a 2.22 mark.
     The Cardinals finished the regular season with a 30-14 record in the East Division. In the playoffs, they came back from a 1-0 deficit to beat Chatham in a day-night doubleheader, vaulting themselves into the championship round against Bourne. 
     The drama of the Chatham series carried over to Game 1 of the finals, when Burriss tagged up on a foul pop to score the game’s only run in the bottom of the ninth. The Cards cruised to an anti-climactic 13-1 win in the clinching game. A three-run homer from the bat of Chris Pettit (Loyola Marymount) was the loudest hit of the game, which quickly became a celebratory event at Eldredge Park.
     But though the Cardinals’ final game of the season wasn’t a nail-biter, the fans made every game feel like the World Series. The Cardinal faithful came out to show their support during the regular season, leading the league in overall attendance.
Stefanie Falco, CCBL Intern, Falco@capecodbaseball.org 

Chatham A’s
     Loaded with standouts, the Chatham A’s finished a close second behind the Orleans Cardinals in the East Division and came up just short in the deciding game of the first round of the playoffs. Led by legendary field manager John Schiffner, the A’s played solid baseball all summer long, receiving nine of the 16 Coca-Cola Pitcher/Player of the Week honors doled out by ESPN SportsTicker for statistical performance in 2005. 
     Chatham batters apparently did not get the memo that the Cape typically features dominating pitching performances. As a team, they led the league in hitting by almost 30 percentage points with a lofty .273 average. 
     Slugging infielder Evan Longoria (Long Beach State) enjoyed a monster season at the plate. He led all players in home runs (8), RBIs (35), and slugging percentage (.500). Longoria’s performance earned him the Pat Sorenti Award for the league’s Most Valuable Player. 
     Chris Coghlan (Mississippi) earned the Thurman Munson Award as the league’s batting champion with a .346 average. To do this, he had to beat out teammates Baron Frost (USC) and Alex Presley (Mississippi), who posted respective averages of .343 and .341.
     The A’s had outstanding pitchers to accompany their booming bats. At the July 30 All-Star Game, four representatives from Chatham took the hill at Hyannis - Jared Hughes (Long Beach State), Derrick Lutz (George Washington), Robert Woodard and Andrew Miller, both of North Carolina.
     Perhaps no pitcher stood out more than Miller, who, along with Woodard, was a key returnee from the 2004 squad. Miller enjoyed another spectacular summer by posting a 6-0 record, a 1.65 ERA, and 66 strikeouts. He received a share of the B.F.C. Whitehouse Award as the league’s outstanding pitcher. Miller also took home the Robert A. McNeece Pro Prospect Award. 
     Right-hander Hughes came close to perfection during a game on June 26 at Veterans Field against the Falmouth Commodores. He took a perfect game into the ninth before surrendering three hits and leaving to an emotional ovation. 
     Lutz was lights-out in the bullpen all season long, finishing with a perfect 0.00 ERA and 12 saves in 19 innings of work during the regular season. The flame-throwing right-hander tied for the league lead in saves and also struck out 39 batters.
Colin Reed, CCBL Intern, reed@capecodbaseball.org

Harwich Mariners
     It was an up-and-down summer for the 2005 Harwich Mariners, as they finished the season with a 21-23 record, good for third place in the East Division.
     The Mariners got off to a fast start, and were the last undefeated team on the Cape by winning their first four contests, eventually falling to Brewster on June 20. Their final record would have been well over .500 if not for an extended losing streak in the middle of the season, when the team suffered 12 losses in 13 games. Still, Steve Englert enjoyed his fourth season as the field manager on the Harwich bench. 
     The Mariners’ roster was overhauled before the season even began, when several players were lost to Team USA and various other commitments.
     A trio of CCBL All-Stars led the Mariners: reliever Tim Lincecum (Washington), third baseman Scott Sizemore (Virginia Commonwealth), and outfielder Chris Emanuele (Northeastern).
     Lincecum was particularly impressive, posting a 2-2 record with a near-invisible 0.69 ERA. The right-hander notched seven saves and struck out an amazing 68 batters in only 38⅓ innings of work. 
     Although the team struggled offensively during their losing streak, Sizemore remained consistent. He finished with a .303 average, one homer, and 13 RBIs. Batting primarily in the middle of the lineup, Sizemore finished the season with a .382 on-base percentage. 
     Emaunele joined the team late, but immediately became a table-setter at the top of the Harwich lineup. He finished the season in the Top 10 in both batting average and hits, despite missing significant time early in the season.
     Slugging second baseman Jim Negrych (Pittsburgh) led the Mariners in both home runs (6) and RBI (21), showing why he was named the Best Pure Hitter in the Big East by Baseball America during the spring season. 
     This summer marked the rookie season for general manager John Reid, a 2003 graduate of Boston College and longtime Cape resident.
Colin Reed, CCBL Intern, reed@capecodbaseball.org

Y-D Red Sox
     The Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox did not repeat as Champions in the 2005 season, but they still put up a tough fight.
     After being in playoff contention until the final week, the Red Sox finished the season with a record of 20-23-1 and a fourth-place finish – but this placement does not reflect the talent or the effort of the 2005 squad.
     Under the leadership of veteran field manager Scott Pickler, the Sox battled hard all season, and boasted six CCBL All-Stars, including Danny Lehmann (Rice), Jeff Kindel (Georgia Tech), Chris Errecart (Cal Berkeley), Jordan Abruzzo (San Diego), Tim Gustafson (Georgia Tech), and Brandon Morrow (Cal Berkeley).
     Kindel led the Sox in hitting with a .306 average, the eighth-leading mark in the league. Errecart slugged a team-high six homers with 22 RBIs, finishing just behind Kindel with a .303 average in an injury-shortened campaign.
     Morrow led Y-D with 16 appearances, notching three saves and posting a 1.84 ERA. Morrow and two other Sox pitchers – Eric Berger (Arizona) and Brad Rulon (Georgia Tech) – tied for the team lead in saves.
     Starter Blake Wood (Georgia Tech) pitched the only complete-game shutout of the 2005 Cape League season when he fanned 10 Wareham Gatemen on July 31.
     All season long, the Red Sox tried to keep pace with the Orleans Cardinals and Chatham A’s, but were unable to capitalize on opponents’ losses to help boost their standing. But this was no worry for Y-D fans, who faithfully attended games from start to finish in a show of their support.
     The Sox had some championship excitement come their way in the beginning of the season, when the Boston Red Sox 2004 World Series trophy made its way to a Yarmouth-Dennis game. Fans came out early to see the hallowed hardware, and the team was able to pose for a picture with baseball’s most coveted prize.
Stefanie Falco, CCBL Intern, Falco@capecodbaseball.org

Brewster Whitecaps
     After beginning the season 4-1 and boasting a league-leading team batting average of .298, the Brewster Whitecaps hoped to make the last CCBL season at Cape Cod Technical High School a memorable one.
     However, after dropping 11 of 15 games during a mid-season slump, Brewster finished 18-26, ranking the team fifth in the East Division.
     The Whitecaps went through nearly 40 roster players, as key starters came and went throughout the season. P.J. Walters (South Alabama) and Heath Rollins (Winthrop) became mainstays in Brewster’s rotation, and each finished with a 5-2 record.
     Walters was named the Whitecaps’ Most Valuable Pitcher after posting a final ERA of 2.05 with 64 strikeouts over 57 innings and nine starts. He joined NC State’s Aaron Bates (.333, 3 HR, 16 RBI) in representing the Whitecaps at the 2005 All-Star Game. Bates was crowned the champion of the Baseball Factory Home Run Hitting Contest during the pre-game festivities. 
     On the mound, Rollins acquired a 2.55 ERA, pitching 49⅓ innings and racking up 40 strikeouts. A two-way player, Rollins batted .218, stole five bases, and was awarded Brewster’s Ty Brown Award for his versatility and sportsmanship.
     The Whitecaps depended on closer Jonathan Hovis (UNC), who picked up eight saves in his late-inning appearances. His relief efforts were solid enough to garner the team’s annual Fireman Award. 
     The Whitecaps ranked fourth in the team batting at the end of the season with an average of .237, led by a few standout offensive players. Bates proved to be the biggest offensive threat, slugging at a .457 clip. 
     Despite missing the playoffs for the first time since 2002, the Whitecaps look forward to moving to the heart of Brewster, near Stony Brook School, in hopes of returning to their winning ways in 2006.
Jenna Kubesch, CCBL Intern, kubesch@capecodbaseball.org

John Garner, Jr.
CCBL Director of
Public Relations & Broadcasting
(508) 790-0394 johnwgarner@earthlink.net 
Contributing Editor: Will Bussiere

Interns:  Stephanie Falco, Jason S. Itzkowitz, Jenna Kubesch, Michael Kydd, Nicholas Mucci, Colin Reed