Duo are reunited in Cape league
Legion vets again teammates on Chatham Anglers
Matt Perry and Kevin Scanlan were teammates on Sudbury’s American Legion Post 191 team. But this is another level entirely, suiting up in perhaps the country’s premier summer wooden-bat circuit for collegiate players, and on the same team, no less, the Cape Cod League’s Chatham Anglers.
Perry, who earned Patriot League Player of the Year honors this spring at Holy Cross, was batting .255 through last weekend and playing strong defense at several positions, while Scanlan, a starting pitcher at the University of Maine, had a 1-0 record and 2.57 earned-run average in eight appearances as manager John Schiffner’s first lefty out of the bullpen.
“It’s pretty unique, two guys from the same town playing together in this league,’’ said Perry, prior to starting at third base last Sunday against Cotuit at Veterans Field, home of the Anglers since 1923.
“We can both relate to playing our college ball in cold weather, so it’s also nice to be down here learning the game at a high level in the summer.’’
His father, Ron Perry Jr., a baseball and basketball legend at Holy Cross and a member of the Cape Cod League Hall of Fame, usually watches his son while roaming along the left field line.
This summer, Matt Perry is staying at the home of team president Peter Troy, and he also bunks down on occasion at his family’s summer home in Osterville.
Perry, who attended St. Sebastian’s School in Needham, is also enjoying working at the Anglers’ baseball camp.
Scanlan, who pitched briefly with Chatham last season before helping the Lexington Blue Sox win the Intercity League title, was a member of two state championship teams (2005, 2007) at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional. He stays with his family at their summer place in nearby Harwich and helps out as a member of the Anglers field crew.
“I’ve learned more here than anywhere else in all my years of playing baseball. It’s been exciting to come here and see different aspects of the game from coaches from all over the country,’’ said the 6-foot-3, 185-pound Scanlan.
“Our pitching coach [Tyler Kincaid] is working with me on lengthening my stride and throwing harder. But most of all, I just want to get my curve back and throw it for strikes, so I’m trying different arm angles and grips.
“It’s definitely tough on the hitters who don’t play as many games in a row for their college teams or who haven’t used the wooden bat,’’ added Scanlan, who was named to the America East Rookie Team as a freshman and was 6-3 with a 3.93 ERA last spring as a Maine sophomore. “But they’re still good hitters and you have to be able to pitch well.’’
Schiffner, the winningest manager in the 114-year history of the Cape Cod League, is pleased with the progress of both players.
Perry hit .427 in the New York Collegiate League last summer while posting a league-record 27-game hitting streak.
It was the springboard to a Patriot League-leading .423 average last season when the junior set single season program records with 77 hits and 144 total bases.
His performance last summer prompted Ron Perry Jr. and Holy Cross head coach Greg DiCenzo to recommend him to Schiffner.
“We’re really happy he’s here,’’ said Schiffner. “Matt’s played a number of positions for us and he’s developed into the classic role player who has played very good defense and hit the ball well. And all you have to do is look at his profile and you know he’s Ron Perry’s son.’’
Maine head coach Steve Trimper also felt Scanlan was ready for the Cape Cod League, “and when Steve told me about Kevin, I definitely listened,’’ added Schiffner. “He’s thrown very well for us and while he may not be getting as many innings as he might like, those innings have been quality innings and I give him a lot of credit for accepting his role and doing it well.’’
Perry said he has always been fond of the Cape and that he already cherishes the friendships he’s made with teammates.
“Mixing in with these guys has been awesome,’’ he said, “and I’ve taken so much BP with the wooden bat and using it in games that I’m starting to turn the corner a little bit. The more you play down here the more you realize you belong. I hope I can keep it up throughout the summer.’’
His father, who played with Hyannis in the 1970s, told Matt to approach his new league with the same attitude as in the past - just do what you’ve always done best, stay quiet, work hard, and things will play out.
Perry doesn’t concern himself with the scouts who sit behind home plate taking notes for their reports to major league teams.
“I don’t look over my shoulder,’’ said the 6-2, 190-pound Perry, “but at the end of the day if one of them takes a liking to me, that’s great.’’
Marvin Pave can be reached at email@example.com.