Around The Horn June 27, 2014

Bourne Braves: Getting the last outs of close games has been a big reason for the Bourne Braves’ great start to the season. Co-closers Joey Strain (Winthrop) and John Gorman (Boston College) have been slamming the door for manager Harvey Shapiro early on. Both have yet to allow an earned run this season. Gorman’s four saves led the CCBL entering Wednesday, June 25, while Strain was in the second place, with three. Strain has seven strikeouts, no walks, and just three hits given up over 6-1/3 innings. Gorman has allowed just two hits and three walks with five Ks in 7-1/3 innings of work.

Brewster Whitecaps: The Whitecaps lost a big bat this week when they released Jackson Glines. The reason for Glines’ departure was not disclosed, but he’ll be missed. The outfielder, best known for breaking a metal bat in half with a swing that resulted in a single this past season for the University of Michigan, batted .421 in the seven games that he participated in before leaving.

Chatham Anglers: P.J. Conlon’s season is off to a rough start. The lefty from the University of San Diego has been roughed up in each of his three outings. Over 9-2/3 innings of work, Conlon has allowed 18 hits. He has not walked any  and has 12 strikeouts, but over 40 percent of hitters are reaching base against him.

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Cotuit Kettleers: You’d be hard-pressed to find a pitcher who’s had more of an impact on his team than Adam Whitt (Nevada-Reno) has had on the Kettleers this early in the season. The right-hander, from Carson City, Nevada, has appeared in five games for the Kettleers so far and has already posted a 3-0 record, with a save. He also tops the league in earned run average, having worked 11-1/3 innings thus far without allowing an earned run. Only four batters have connected for a hit thus far, and he had walked eight and struck out seven. For the year opposing batters are hitting just .114 against Whitt and his WHIP is an impressive 0.71.

Falmouth Commodores: Cape League batting champion Kevin Newman (Arizona) has left town to try out for the Team USA collegiate national team. While it is unknown whether he will return to Falmouth, the Commodores could have another batting champion in the making on the roster. Matthew Eureste, of San Jacinto College, is off to a red-hot start. The infielder entered action on Tuesday, June 24, with a league-best .440 batting average, with 11 hits in 25 at-bats. Eureste also has walked six times already and struck out just twice.

Harwich Mariners: Lefty Johnathan Frebis (Middle Tennessee State) was the second consecutive Harwich Mariner to earn Pitcher of the Week honors in the Cape League. Last week, he kept all opponents off the board with his power arm. Last Tuesday, Frebis went three strong innings against Falmouth, preventing any hits with just four bases on balls issued. On Friday, June 20, against Bourne, Frebis put up a strong fight, striking out four Bourne hitters while allowing no earned runs, maintaining a clean 0.00 ERA for the season. The Tennessean will be entering his senior year at Middle Tennessee State. In 77 innings of work last season Frebis notched 49 strikeouts.

Hyannis Harbor Hawks: Thefts in the Hyannis area are on the rise as the Harbor Hawks have been stealing bases at a high rate. The Hawks lead the league with 34 stolen bases, 10 more than the second-place team, Cotuit. Fourteen different Harbor Hawks have stolen at least one base this season, led by Donnie Dewees (North Florida), who has six swipes, all in the last five games.

Orleans Firebirds: Individually, no one is delivering home runs at anything close to an alarming rate in the CCBL. The Orleans Firebirds are collectively hitting their fair share, though. The Birds had hit 10 in 12 games entering action on Wednesday, June 25, with the long balls coming from seven different players. Edwin Rios (Florida International), Timmy Robinson (USC) and Christian Stewart (Tennessee), who has left the team, all hit two for the Firebirds.

Wareham Gatemen: Leadoff hitter Willie Calhoun (Arizona) is tearing up the Cape League, two bases at a time. The second baseman for the over-the-bridge club leads the CCBL in doubles, with eight of his 18 hits entering action on Wednesday, June 25, going for two bases. Calhoun entered Wednesday’s games as the eighth-leading hitter so far this season, having posted a .353 average. His 11 runs scored were tied for the most in the league.

Yarmouth-Dennis: Time will tell whether it was a good decision for Phil Bickford (Cal State-Fullerton) to eschew big money after being drafted 10th overall in last year’s amateur draft by the Toronto Blue Jays. For now, though, fans at Red Wilson Field are seeing a big time arm in their rotation. Bickford, who was named the freshman pitcher of the year in the Big West Conference and to the freshman All-American team, has appeared in two games for the Sox, with one start. He’s worked five innings, allowing nine hits and three earned runs with seven strkeouts and only one walk. With the Titans this spring, he posted a 6-3 record with an ERA of 2.13. He fanned 74 batters and walked just 13.

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