A Tribute to Mike Roberts

by Andrew in

 Cotuit Kettleer's Head Coach Mike Roberts won his 2nd Cape Cod Baseball League Championship this past summer. Roberts has now coached in the league 12 years (including two years with Wareham in 1984 and 2000). His teams have made the playoffs 75% of the time, which is a testament to Roberts' aggressive backyard baseball style. On July 4th, WVS Global posted a short-and-sweet interview with Roberts - with one of the fluffiest microphones I've ever seen. At 2:45 in the interview, Roberts tells a funny story about taking his team to an elementary school field to work on baserunning.

Today (August 31, 2013), WickedLocal posted a story about Roberts' busy life once the Cape League season ends. After the Kettleers won the championship, Coach Roberts drove down to Baltimore to watch his son Brian Roberts play a few games for the Orioles. Then, Coach Roberts continued the trip down to his home in North Carolina. During the Cape League off-season, Roberts: (1) runs a series of baserunning clinics across the country, (2 and 3) is a consultant at two companies, (4) is head of the sports management program at Asbury University (Lexington, KY), and (5) is an author about to publish his second book called "Baserunning" (Pre-order on Amazon). Make sure to go to WickedLocal to read the full story.

Kettleers Win 2013 Cape League Championship

by Andrew in

The Cotuit Kettleers defeated the Orleans Firebirds to win their 2nd championship in the last four years. The Kettleers' YouTube channel has been very active this season and they posted one final "Kettle Talk" with post-game interviews. 

Don't miss what happens to Head Coach Mike Roberts at 0:48 seconds in.

"Cape Hope" Documentary Series

by Andrew in

There's a new documentary series about the Cape League called "Cape Hope". Right Field Fog has an interview with the project's creator, Keith Chirgwin. The series follows four Cape Leaguers during the 2012 season: Mike Montville, Tyler Horan, Dace Kime and Kurt Schluter. Chirgwin hopes to find a network to air the first season, and also renew it follow-up seasons.

For the latest on "Cape Hope", follow @capehopeseries and like it on Facebook at facebook.com/capehopeseries.

Spotlight on Cotuit's Mike Ford (Princeton)

by Andrew in

Utility Infielder and Pitcher Mike Ford (Princeton) did everything he could to set himself up to be signed after the spring season. Unfortunately, his name was not called in the draft, despite the fact he won both Player and Pitcher of the Year awards in the Ivy League. So, Mike is back on the Cape again this summer with Cotuit with the goal of impressing scouts. The Cape Cod Times released a spotlight video to tell his story: 

Joe Jackson (Bourne, 2012) Debuts for Spokane Indians

by Andrew in

At this time last year, Joe Jackson's (Bourne, 2012; Citadel) name was causing some conversations at Doran Park in Bourne. Now the great-great-great nephew of "Shoeless" Joe Jackson is working his way up the Texas Rangers farm system. According to GreenvilleOnline.com, Jackson broke the thumb on his throwing hand on in his first day in a Spokane uniform. Fortunately, he is back in the lineup and batted 2 for 3 tonight (July 16). While Joe Jackson was in Bourne, WBUR in Boston put together a great five-minute piece on the family connection to "Shoeless". You can also watch a five minute interview with 2012 Bourne Lead Broadcaster Nolan Alexander:

Also, CapeLeagueBaseball on YouTube assembled some footage of Jackson playing for Bourne last year:

Harwich 7 - Orleans 2; Notes

by Dave B. in

A 5-run eighth inning powered Harwich to a 7-2 win over Orleans yesterday at Eldredge Park.  Ryan Lindemuth (William & Mary) homered and drove in 3 runs to pace the Mariners offense. Harwich starter Nick Howard (Virginia), making his first appearance on the hill this summer, pitched 5.2 innings, allowed 6 hits, and did not issue a walk. Howard struck out 8. Michael Costello (Radford) earned the win after relieving Howard in the sixth. Costello retired 10 straight batters after walking the first batter he faced. Harwich's Aaron Barbosa (Northeastern) went 3-for-5 in the game and now leads the league with a .424 avg. Mark Zagunis and Brendon Hayden, teammates at Virginia Tech, each went 2 for 4 and drove in a run for the Mariners.

Josh Sborz (Virginia) pitched well for Orleans, giving up just 2 runs on 5 hits and a walk in 5 innings of work. Orleans got 2 shutout innings of relief from Vanderbilt lefty Jared Miller and the game moved to the eighth, tied at 2. Jeremy Rhoades (Illinois State) did not fare well after taking over for Miller to start the eighth. Rhoades gave up 4 hits and a walk while recording just one out as Harwich scored 5 times to put the game out of reach.

Greg Allen (San Diego St.) had two hits and drove in a run, and Duke's Chris Marconcini had the other RBI for the Firebirds.

With their sixth win in 7 games, Harwich moves to 8-4 and sits in first place in the East, one point ahead of Chatham. The Mariners host the Anglers tonight. Orleans falls to 6-6 and travels to Yarmouth-Dennis this evening.

NOTES:  Harwich released Costello a few hours after his stellar relief outing.

After their 4-3 win over Bourne on Tuesday, West Division leader Hyannis is now 6-0 in one-run games.

Falmouth is the only team in the league that has not been shutout.

Florida State's Demetrius  Stewart hit a two-out, two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning for Y-D as the Red Sox tied Chatham, 5-5, on Tuesday. Yesterday, Stewart received an invitation to participate in the College Home Run Derby at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha on July 3. The event will be televised on ESPN on July 4 at 8 p.m. Clemson's Garrett Boulware and Virginia's Kenny Towns have also been announced as participants in this event. Over the next few days, there will be 5 more players picked to go to Omaha. Expect a couple of them to be players who are presently playing in the CCBL.

Here's a fun fact with a Cape League tie-in....  On May 19, 2008, Minnesota hosted Texas. With the score tied at 6-6 in the 10th inning, the Twins changed their lineup by moving DH Brendan Harris to the infield. That move cost the Twins the use of the DH spot for the rest of the game. Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire was forced to send pitcher Bobby Korecky up to bat in the 11th inning. Korecky got a hit, then went out a and pitched a scoreless 12th inning and got credit for the win when the Twins scored in the home half of that inning, winning the game, 7-6. Korecky became the first Twins pitcher to get a hit in an American League game in the 25 years since the implementation of the DH rule in 1973. Korecky pitched for Chatham in 2000 and Yarmouth-Dennis in 2001.


Weekend Leftovers

by Dave B. in

Baseball sure is a strange game. And that Earl Weaver quote "Momentum is the next day's starting pitcher" so often holds true - whether it be your team's pitcher or the other guy's. We have seen a few examples of that in the CCBL recently. Last Tuesday, Chatham beat Hyannis 10-0, to jump out to a 6-0 start to their season. The Anglers promptly followed that outburst up by scoring just one run over their next three games. Three Bourne pitchers combined for a no-hitter in an 8-0 rout of Cotuit on Saturday. The next day, Braves hurlers give up 14 hits to Falmouth as the Commodores pounded Bourne by that same 8-0 score. Cotuit, the team on the wrong end of that no-hitter, then puts up 7 runs and 14 hits of their own one day later in a 7-2 romp over Hyannis. Then there's Yarmouth-Dennis where the pitching has been just plain bad lately. How bad? How about giving up 40 runs over three games while losing by scores of 17-12, 14-8 and 9-0.

I have a feeling that the real Chatham team may more closely resemble the one that is on a 4 game losing streak rather than the one that ripped off 6 wins to start the season. The Anglers pitching should be fortified by the arrival of Maine's Tommy Lawrence who's 11-3 record and 2.32 ERA earned him America East's Pitcher of the Year honors this spring. Lawrence was 2-1 with a 3.55 ERA for Chatham last summer.

Maybe the arrival of Cole Sturgeon (Louisville) will help to jump-start Wareham's offense. Sturgeon batted .297 and had 5 homeruns for last year's championship Gatemen team. Through 10 games, Wareham has 3 extra-base hits - two doubles and a homerun.

If the cameras were rolling Friday night at Whitehouse Field, Cotuit second baseman Max Schrock would have been seen on SportsCenter later that night. In the bottom of the sixth, Schrock ranged far to his right to field a ball and with his momentum carrying him well to the shortstop side of the bag, he made a strong, accurate throw to first to nail Harwich's Tanner English. Schrock's play kept Chris Ellis' (Mississippi) no-hitter intact at the time. Ellis gave up a hit and a run in the next inning and the Mariners went on to beat the Kettleers, 3-2. I'm guessing that the best thing about Schrock's play from his perspective is that it gives him bragging rights over Tanner who is his teammate at South Carolina.

Y-D leads the league in team batting avg. with a .264 mark. The Red Sox are last in team ERA at 6.54. Those 40 runs in 3 games might have something to do with that. Harwich is next-to-last in team batting with a .212 avg. but the Mariners have earned their 6-3 record on the strength of a 1.82 team ERA which ranks them second in the league behind Bourne's 1.74 ERA.

The Cotuit and Bourne staffs each have a 1.07 WHIP. Teams are batting just .205 against Falmouth.

Bourne batters have walked only 18 times in 10 games. The Braves have only attempted 7 stolen bases. Maybe that's because they've been successful on just 4 of those attempts.

Y-D and Bourne have been shutout 3 times. Falmouth and Orleans have yet to be blanked.

There have been 15 games decided by one run. Hyannis has been involved in a third of those contests and the Harbor Hawks have won all 5.

Brewster and Wareham are 0-4 on the road.

Orleans is 5-0 against their Eastern rivals. The Firebirds are 0-4 vs. the West.

Week 1 Pitcher and Player of the Week

by Andrew in

Broadcast Intern John Mabery posted a video with interview with the Week 1 Coca-Cola pitcher and player of the week. The winners were Orleans' infielder Austin Davidson (Pepperdine) and Y-D's pitcher Erick Fedde (UNLV). I hope these videos continue for the entire season. 

Hyannis 4 - Wareham 3

by Dave B. in

Hyannis scored 4 times in the home half of the first inning and made those runs hold up for a 4-3 win over Wareham last night. The Gatemen scored once in the third, eighth and ninth innings but came up just short. Two hits, two walks and an error contributed to the Harbor Hawks big first inning. Starter Austin Pettibone (UC-Santa Barbara) went 5 innings, allowing 6 hits and one run to pick up the win in his CCBL debut. Sarkis Ohanian (Duke) worked a perfect sixth and seventh inning while recording two strikeouts. Andrew Istler (Duke) got into trouble in the eighth when 3 hits and an error allowed Wareham to narrow the deficit to 4-2. Eric Eck (Wofford) got Trevor Podratz to fly out to center, stranding two runners to end the inning. Bradley Roney (Southern Mississippi) singled in a run in the ninth to pull Wareham within a run but Eck got Adam Toth (Baylor) to pop to third to end the game.

Wareham starter Fred Shepard (Amherst) drops to 0-2. Eck earned his second save.

Wareham out-hit Hyannis, 10-6. Both teams made an error. The Harbor Hawks improve to 4-2 while the Gatemen drop to 1-6.

In 7 games, Wareham has just one extra-base hit, a homerun by Podratz in the second game of the season. Their team "slugging" average is .226.

Hyannis travels to Chatham this evening with Cy Sneed (Dallas Baptist) going against the Anglers' Lukas Schiraldi (Texas). Wareham will send Kentucky's Kyle Cody to the mound in an attempt to end a 4 game losing streak tonight when they host Falmouth. The Commodores are expected to pitch Craig Schlitter (Bryant) or Daniel Koger (Auburn).

Ugly "D" and Old Baseballs

by Dave B. in

There has been some ugly baseball played on Cape Cod's fields so far. In last night's games, nine teams combined for 21 errors. Orleans was the only team to play error-free and even that comes with a big asterisk as Firebirds catcher Riley Moore (Arizona) was charged with 3 passed balls. There were 7 miscues in the Yarmouth-Dennis - Falmouth game. Hyannis made 4 of the 5 errors in their game against Brewster. The Harbor Hawks have made 12 errors in their last 3 games. League-wide, there have been 102 errors made in 32 games played. Bourne leads the way with 17. At the other end of the spectrum, Chatham, Wareham and Falmouth have only made 6 errors. Interestingly, on the league website, pitchers errors are not counted as part of the total team errors. As an example, Brewster has made 8 errors, but their team stats page shows 5. Whitecaps pitchers have accounted for the other three errors. Someone must have dug into a storage shed at Eldredge Park last night and found some baseballs left over from last summer. Four homeruns were hit in the game between Orleans and Cotuit. Unfortunately for the Firebirds, the 3 homers they hit were all solo shots and the Kettleers went on to a 6-3 victory.

Heading for the Cape tomorrow. Looks like the chance to take in two games on Saturday will lead me to Brewster where the Whitecaps host Y-D at 5:00. Then, a decision to make. A quick ride over to Whitehouse Field where Harwich will take on Wareham, or head to Eldredge Park where Orleans is hosting Hyannis. Ah, the tough decisions I must ponder...

A Few Notes, 6/19

by Dave B. in

Yesterday, I tweeted that there was a semblance of parity in the league through the first few games of the season. More than a third of the games - 8 of 22 - had been one-run affairs. Last night we had a game decided by 5 runs, two with a six run margin, and Chatham's 10-0 drubbing of Hyannis. That was the largest margin of victory since  last June 23 when Orleans pounded Falmouth 14-0.  Pat Connaughton, we hardly knew ya! The Notre Dame RHP is scheduled to make his second and final start for Harwich tonight when the Mariners travel to Wareham. Connaughton will be returning to South Bend to take summer classes and get back to work with the Irish basketball team.

Wareham's last three losses have been by a total of four runs.

Ohio State RHP Jaron Long has returned to Bourne and will attempt to quiet Chatham's bats this evening. Long was 3-0 with a 3.46 ERA in 7 starts for the Braves last summer. He endured a tough spring for the Buckeyes, compiling a 6-7 record to go with a 4.02 ERA while the opposition hit .301 off him.

Hyannis is 3-1, despite sitting below the Mendoza Line with a team batting avg. of .191. The Harbor Hawks are doing a good job of putting the ball in play and getting on base though. They have struck out a league-low 28 times and have a .301 OBP.

Through 27 games across the league, there have been 8 homeruns hit. Chatham pitchers have allowed 3 of those HR's.

In 55.2 IP, Falmouth pitching has issued 21 walks, thrown 10 wild pitches, and have hit 6 batters. The Commodores staff has a league-best .191 OBA. Maybe no one wants to dig in against them?

Orleans pitchers have a 47 K / 10 BB ratio. The Firebirds (or Cardinals) staff lead the league in team ERA in 2007-2010 and again in 2012.


Super Regionals Schedule, TV Listings; Ben McDonald Note

by Dave B. in

After a night of overdosing on the MLB draft.... For those who may be interested in following former Cape Leaguer's, or to get an early preview of some of this year's incoming players, here is a link to SEBaseball.com, showing the dates, start times and television outlet for each of the eight Super Regional locations:    http://sebaseball.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=1512007 

It looks like some games could be affected by Mother Nature with the remnants of Andrea churning up the east coast.

Every time I see Ben McDonald working on ESPN's college baseball shows, I am reminded of his short stay on the Cape in 1989.  McDonald was the man coming out of LSU and had been taken with the number one overall pick in the amateur draft by the Baltimore Orioles.  McDonald decided to head north to pitch for the Orleans Cardinals (now Firebirds) while contract negotiations took place.  Interestingly, the Cardinals planned to only pitch McDonald in home games because of the revenue that would be generated every time McDonald pitched.  Things didn't quite go as planned, as recalled in this article from July 26, 1989 in The Gainesville Sun:    http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1320&dat=19890726&id=iEpWAAAAIBAJ&sjid=NeoDAAAAIBAJ&pg=3002,8397320

One Week Away!

by Dave B. in

The 2013 Cape League season begins a week from today and I've been away from CodBall for way too long.  That four-letter word - work - has gotten in the way too often recently but now it's time to get back in the swing of things.  I've received a few emails asking about them, but you won't find me doing any in-depth team previews this year.  CodBall has done them in the past and I have a lot of appreciation for those who attempt to do them.  Researching the incoming players involves a lot of time.  However, as is always the case this close to the start of the season, the rosters are simply in too much of a state of flux to try to guess who may be in uniform a week from now, let alone discussing which team might be crowned champion.  Having done the preview thing before, it hasn't always worked out well which, admittedly, may be more a commentary on my lack of prognosticating skills than anything else.  Having said that, I do think that Yarmouth-Dennis, Harwich and Cotuit look real good on paper.  Brewster looks to be at the opposite end of the spectrum.  So, there you go.... expect the Whitecaps to be playing for the championship in August. Even the previews on the league website were outdated to some extent with the mention of Nick Burdi (Chatham) and Kyle Schwarber (Wareham) as key players.  Each player could end up spending part of his summer on the Cape, but both had been invited to Team USA even before the league previews were online.

Wareham and Brewster haven't updated their rosters since they were first posted months ago.  You can be sure there have been a lot of changes to those teams since then.

Chatham seems to have taken the biggest hit so far with regard to the players who have been dropped from their original roster.  The Anglers have released the contracts of 12 players and that doesn't include Burdi.  The most painful losses are RHP's Thomas Eshelman (CS-Fullerton) and Benton Moss (North Carolina).  Eshelman is 12-2 with a 1.59 ERA and has fanned 78 while issuing a hard-to-believe 2 walks over 107.2 innings.  Moss is 8-1 with a 3.78 ERA and has struckout 89 in 85.2 IP.  Those two would look pretty good at the top of anyone's rotation.  Burdi pitched 32.2 innings over 26 relief appearances for Louisville.  He has posted a 0.83 ERA to go along with 59 K's and opponents have hit just .195 off him. UC-Irvine INF Taylor Sparks is another Angler who will be joining Team USA.  Sparks started all 55 games for the Anteaters and batted .360 with 10 HR, 50 RBI and a .969 OPS.

Two other teams may not have lost the numbers that Chatham has lost, but each has lost a couple very talented players.  Team USA has plucked Grayson Greiner (C, South Carolina) and Tyler Beede (RHP, Vanderbilt) away from Cotuit.  Skye Bolt (OF, North Carolina) and Alex Bregman (IF, Louisiana State) were expected to suit up for Harwich but will instead be spending at least part of their summer wearing the red, white and blue.

Jumping around a bit....  Will this be the year Falmouth breaks their 33-year championship drought?....  Most of Brewster's players haven't had great springs but the Florida State trio of RHP Luke Weaver, LHP Brandon Leibrandt and IF/OF Jose Brizuela could provide some excitement at Stony Brook Field.  Leibrandt tied for the team lead with 10 wins.  Weaver compiled a record of 7-2 with a 1.95 ERA to go with 114 K's and 17 BB.  Brizuela batted .325 and drove in 43 runs for the Seminoles who will be hosting Indiana in a Super Regional this weekend....  What's new at your favorite team's ballpark this year?  Cotuit's Lowell Park will have new restrooms and a new Kettleer Kitchen.  Brewster has built a new storage shed.  (Yeah, I know, real exciting.)....  Among the West Division teams that have lights at their field, Wareham is the only team that will start games at 7:00.  Starting time for games in Falmouth will be 6:30.  This year, Hyannis will make the move that Bourne had previously made, moving their start time to 6:00....  Milford HS played Nauset HS at Eldredge Park last night in the state baseball tournament.  The Milford Athletic Director is Rich Piergustavo who once coached Falmouth in the CCBL.  It was during Piergustavo's tenure that the Commodores fielded a team of all New England-area players in an attempt to showcase "local" talent....  Last night's Texas Rangers-Boston Red Sox game was devoid of any suspense but, for very different reasons, it was an interesting night for a couple of former Cape Leaguers.  Rangers starting pitcher Justin Grimm (Cotuit, '09) was knocked around for 7 hits, 3 walks and 8 earned runs in 1.2 innings as the Red Sox went on to win, 17-5.  David Murphy (Wareham, '01, '02) made his MLB pitching debut when he came in from left field in the eighth inning.  Murphy was the only Rangers pitcher to fare well as he gave up one hit and struck out Mike Carp in his scoreless inning....  The story is just developing, but multiple sources are reporting that the MLB hammer may be ready to drop on Milwaukee's Ryan Braun (Brewster, '04) and many others, as part of MLB's investigation into the use of PED's.  Stay tuned....        

I'll be posting a lot of notes to @capeleague on Twitter (not to be confused with @Official_CCBL which is the league's official Twitter account.)

Jump on board and share your thoughts about your favorite team and the upcoming season.

Kettleer Kitchen and New Restrooms Almost Ready

by Andrew in

Picture from barnstablepatriot.com Lowell Park (home of the Cotuit Kettleers) is one of the most beautiful ballparks in the country, and it will be even better in 2013. Construction work on the new Kettleer Kitchen and restrooms is slated to be complete by June 1, 2013--just in time for the 2013 season.

The renovations include a new Kettleer Kitchen, which will now serve burgers, salads, and wraps in addition to hot dogs, chili, chowder, and lobster rolls. The updated restroom facilities will feature a trophy and memorial case built into the outside wall.

For more on the renovations, check out The Barnstable Patriot's story and see CapeHomepage.com's photos on Flickr.

Bradley Headed to PawSox Soon?

by Andrew in

Since our last post, Jackie Bradley Jr. (Hyannis, 2009) has started six games so far for the Boston Red Sox, going 3 for 21 (.143). Due to his slump, it is expected that he will be sent down to the Pawtucket Red Sox once David Ortiz completes a rehab assignment.  As Over the Monster blogged, it is even more likely that Bradley will be sent down due to the success of Daniel Nava and Jonny Gomes. On the plus side, this gives Red Sox fans near International League (AAA) parks the chance to see Bradley before he inevitably returns to the show.