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Summer School: Cape League's Eastern Division tightens up

Posted by Craig Forde  July 17, 2012 11:23 AM

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Thumbnail image for CCBL logo.jpgAfter all the teams in the Cape League got the opportunity to pepper the Green Monster late last week, it was back to business as usual on the diamond, and now that my house has settled down following the birth of my second child, it’s time for me to get back to business as usual as well in the latest installment of Summer School for the Cape Cod Baseball League.

The belly of the Eastern Division is on fire as Orleans and Yarmouth-Dennis won on Monday night, giving them 32 points each, pulling them into a tie for first place with Harwich, losers of four straight.

YD Sox logo.jpgThe Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox have rattled off five straight wins to put them in the heat of the battle. Part of their surge has to be thanks in part to having six of the top twelve league-leaders in batting average, including three in the top-five. Zac Blair (Mercyhurst) leads the league with his .402 average, Robert Pehl (Washington) is third in the league with a .392 average, and Tanner Mathis (Mississippi) is fifth at .375, leading to a league best .322 team average. Aaron Blair (Marshall) remains perfect from the hill, grabbing a win in each of his starts for a league-high five victories. Blair also leads the league in ERA (1.19), is third in strikeouts (35), has a 0.96 WHIP and has held opponents to a .189 batting average.

For the Orleans Firebirds the bullpen has been the backbone of their steady play, with Kyle Crockett (Virginia), Dylan Clark (Elon) and Pat Christensen (LaSalle) leading the charge. Crockett has notched three saves to go along with a 1.19 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 15 2/3 innings, Clark is 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA, 0.78 WHIP and 21 strikeouts over 23 1/3 innings, and Christensen is 2-0 with a 1.56 ERA and 22 Ks in 17 1/3 innings. The staff as a whole has compiled some flashy team totals that have them atop many of the league’s leader boards with room to spare. They lead in ERA with 3.54 (2nd – Chatham, 3.72), WHIP with 1.19 (2nd – Hyannis & Falmouth, 1.37) and walks with only 63 (2nd – Harwich & Falmouth, 88). Oddly they have given up 30 home runs, tied for most in the CCBL.

The Chatham Anglers are only two points behind the pack and have been riding the tide of streaks lately, going from a three-game losing streak to start July, followed by a Chatham logo.jpgthree-game win streak, another three-game losing streak and a four-game win streak. Chad Pinder (Virginia Tech) has had two 4-RBI games in his last seven, bringing him up to 25 runs batted in on the season, tie for third most in the Cape League. Outfielder Adam Engel (Louisville) has not been tearing the cover off of the ball, as evident by his .217 batting average, but is second in the league in both triples (3) and stolen bases (12). From the mound, thirteen different Angler hurlers have picked up wins with Michael Wagner (San Diego) and Thomas Lawrence (Maine) notching two each.

KettleersLogo.pngCotuit, winners of seven of their last ten games, have taken control of the Western Division with an assist to Falmouth’s recent struggles. The Kettleers’ Patrick Biondi (Michigan) is second in the league with a .400 batting average, but has had only four extra-base hits on the season. Tony Kemp (Vanderbilt) and Jacob May (Coastal Carolina) are going base-for-base in steals, with both players sitting at the top of the league leaderboard with 13 swipes apiece.

After finishing June with a flurry the Falmouth Commodores are 4-6 in July and losers of four of their last five games, but are still only two points behind Cotuit. The pitching has been steady for much of the season, but over their last five games they have allowed 33 runs. Craig Schlitter (Bryant) has picked up wins in each of last four appearances and maintains a 1.39 ERA after allowing only two earned runs over 20 innings during that span.

Despite a 12-15 record and a recent 3-8 slide over their last eleven games, the Wareham Gatemen are only four points behind Falmouth and six out of first place. The Gatemen will need to gain their footing immediately before the distance gets any wider between them and the top. Daniel Palka (Georgia Tech) is tied for the lead league with eight home runs and Tyler Horan (Virginia Tech) has seven, accounting for more than half of the team’s 29 home runs.

Pitchers of the Week
Week 5 – Dan Slania (Notre Dame), Cotuit Kettleers
Week 4 – Kevin Ziomek (Vanderbilt), Cotuit Kettleers
Week 3 – Nicholas Rumbelow (LSU), Wareham Gatemen
Week 2 – Aaron Blair (Marshall), Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox
Week 1 – Aaron Blair (Marshall), Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox

Players of the Week
Week 5 - Brandon Trinkwon (UC Santa Barbara), Hyannis Harbor Hawks
Week 4 – Patrick Biondi (Michigan), Cotuit Kettleers
Week 3 – Drew Dosch (Yoo startungstown State), Falmouth Commodores
Week 2 – Phil Ervin (Samford), Harwich Mariners
Week 1 – Mike Ahmed (Holy Cross), Bourne Braves

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About the author

Craig Forde covers baseball talent as it develops into the next big thing. He has covered high school and college sports for the Boston Globe, and the minor league teams More »

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