Around The Horn July 18, 2014

Bourne Braves: What a difference a year has made for Richie Martin Jr. The University of Florida middle infielder played for the Falmouth Commodores a year ago and struggled to find his groove. He finished the season with a .193 batting average and split playing time the second half of the season. This year, for Bourne, he’s a legitimate MVP candidate. Martin entered action on Tuesday with a .350 batting average for the season (seventh in the league), tied for first in the league with 36 hits, in 28 games, including four doubles. He’s driven in 12 runs, scored 21 runs (second in the league) and stolen 13 bases so far, which is the third most in the CCBL.

Brewster Whitecaps: Triples are one of the great anomalies in baseball. They’re hard to come by, and need to find just the right spot, in just the right situation, to come to fruition. Gio Brusa has connected for the most in the league so far, legging out three three-baggers to lead the CCBL. Brusa, from Pacific University, has had a remarkable season besides the trifectas. He’s just shy of enough at-bats to qualify for the top of the batting average list, but his .372 average would be second if he’d been to the dish enough. He’s also smacked three homers and has 9 RBIs.

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Chatham Anglers: Having one catcher that hits well is a bonus, having two almost isn’t fair to everyone else. The Anglers have two receivers that are getting it done at the plate in Nick Collins (Georgetown) and Robert Baldwin (Yale). The pair have split much of the time between the dish, and have both hit very well. Collins is second on the team in hitting, with a .323 average, including a homer and 10 RBIs. Baldwin is hitting at a .308 clip.

Cotuit Kettleers: How much can a bad week hurt your batting average in a short season? Well, a week ago Jake Fincher (NC State) boasted a .453 batting average and couldn’t seem to make an out. He then went into a slump, going just 1-for-18 over his next five games. That rut dropped him nearly a full 100 points off his average. He entered action on Tuesday with a .359 average, which was still good for third overall in the league.

Falmouth Commodores: The Commodores have been mixing it up in the bullpen all season long, but they know that whenever Matt Eckelman (Saint Louis) comes into the game that it’s probably going to be an uneventful inning for the defense. Eckelman has appeared in nine games thus far, working 12.2 innings. During that time he’s allowed just nine base hits in total, and more than one in an inning just once. He has 13 strikeouts and no walks. He recorded his first save against first place Bourne on Monday night, securing four outs to get it. Opponents are hitting just .196 against the six-foot, four-inch, 250-pound righty.

Harwich Mariners: It’s difficult to make a name for yourself when someone already has done it with the same name. Harwich second baseman Cavan Biggio has had a lot to live up to after his dad, Craig Biggio, had such a remarkable career. Dad just missed out on making it into the hall of fame this year, coming two votes shy. The youngster from Notre Dame, who plays second base, like his dad, has struggled a bit so far. Through 13 games, he’s hit just .146. He’s shown signs of coming around, though, collecting hits in four of his last six contests.

Hyannis Harbor Hawks: There are few things as valuable as having a genuine swing-and-miss pitcher in the bullpen, and the Hawks have one in setup man Ryan Perez. In just 22.2 innings of work, Perez has recorded 33 strikeouts, with just 11 walks. The right-hander from Judson University boasts a 2.38 earned run average for the season.

Orleans Firebirds: No team has more of a feast or famine approach to the game than the Firebirds. The birds have smacked 20 homers this season, but have four batters in the top six strikeout victims in the league. Edwin Rios (Florida International) has fanned 31 times, in 24 games, which is the second most in the league. Right behind him are Bobby Dalbec (Arizona) and RJ Ybarra (Arizona State), both whom have fanned 27 times. Johnny Sewald (Arizona State) has K’d 26 times. The Firebirds have fanned 229 times as a team, the second most in the league. Harwich entered play on Tuesday with 253 strikeouts.

Wareham Gatemen: Willie Calhoun (Arizona) has been finding the gaps all over outfields in the Cape League this summer. The Wareham second baseman hasn’t hit one over the wall as of yet, but he’s reached the fences plenty. Calhoun’s leading the Cape Cod League with a dozen doubles, which is four more than anyone else in the league. With 28 hits on the season, close to half of the time that Calhoun has collected a knock, it’s been for two bases. The Wareham leadoff hitter hasn’t done it just on speed either. He has no stolen bases to his credit through the 25 games.

Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox: Ian Happ (Cincinnati) has had two stellar seasons for the Bearcats, and is showing why he was on the Golden Spikes Watch List this past year with a solid season for the Red Sox. The outfielder entered Tuesday night’s action with a .299 batting average for the season, after hitting .322 for the second year in a row in college. He’s knocked three balls over the wall for homers and is one of the league’s top run producers, having driven in 19 for the Sox already. The power hitter has produced eight doubles already as well, which is tied for the second-most in the Cape League.

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