The Cape Cod Baseball League has hit the stretch run of the regular season, and it’s certainly being stretched out. Since Saturday, July 27, the CCBL has played a combined 35 games, including four doubleheaders and three split-team, split-location doubleheaders.
But nevertheless, the regular season completed its 44-game schedule after an early swell of rainouts threatened the season.
The second-to-last week boasted two standouts, one of the mound and one at the plate, that took home the Coca-Cola Player/Pitcher of the Week. Bourne infielder Jake Mackenzie (Fordham) earned player of the week honors by hitting 8-for-16 (.500), then added four walks and capped the week with a three-hit, two-homer performance that helped the Braves snap Falmouth’s 11-game winning streak.
Jacob Palisch, a lefty starter from Stanford, added to his standout season for Harwich with a seven-inning no-hitter against Orleans on July 24. He struck out seven and needed just 82 pitches to go the distance in a 2-0 win. Palisch now has two complete game shutouts on the year, the most in the CCBL since 1989.
Now let’s go around the horn to see how the rest of the Cape League is faring ahead of the playoffs.
Bourne Braves: The Braves have been chopping at the plate in recent games. They’ve scored 32 runs in their last four games, producing 47 hits in that span. But as much as Bourne has shown the team can get on base, once on base their players aren’t as aggressive, as evidenced by its league-low 18 stolen bases. In comparison, Wareham’s Braiden Ward (Washington) and Falmouth’s Hayden Cantrelle (Louisiana Lafayette) single-handedly have stolen more bases than the Braves. Ward has 27 stolen bases while Cantrelle has swiped 19 bags.
Brewster Whitecaps: Catcher Brett Auerbach (Alabama) has been one of the bright spots in what is amounting to a last-place finish in the West Division for the Whitecaps this season. The CCBL all-star is hitting .293 with three homers, 11 RBIs, 25 runs scored, 15 walks and 11 stolen bases. Not only has he had a hit in six of his last seven games, four of which were multi-hit nights, but the Brewster backstop has reached base safely in seven straight games.
Chatham Anglers: They may be tied for the East Division lead with 50 points and have already secured a playoff spot, but the Anglers have been reeling of late. As losers in four of its last five games, Chatham just ended a four-game skid on Wednesday, July 31. During that streak, opponents outscored Chatham, 38-9, and held the hosts of Veterans Stadium to one run or fewer in three of those games. Three of those games have come at home.
Cotuit Kettleers: Versatility is key in athletics and manager Mike Roberts appears to grasp that thought. Cotuit has nine players who had logged statistics both at the plate and on the mound: Matthew Mervis (Duke), Casey Schmitt (San Diego State), Richard Brereton (Emory), Kyle Nicolas (Ball State), Coltyn Kessler (Kentucky), Cam Hill (Kentucky), Parker Chavers (Coastal Carolina), Cody Pasic (Maine) and Grant Holman (California). But Schmitt and Mervis have excelled the most. Schmitt has 2.45 ERA in 22 innings pitched and is batting .248 with six homers and 21 runs batted in. Mervis is hitting .325 with four homers and 24 RBI while boasting a 3.24 ERA in 16.2 innings pitched.
Falmouth Commodores: When Falmouth hits the ninth inning with the lead, a win is not far behind when closer Zachary Brzykcy (Virginia Tech) is on the mound. The big right-hander has a league-high seven saves in 10 innings pitched and features a tiny 1.80 ERA. He’s allowed just two earned runs on the Cape this season and at most has faced just one batter over the minimum in every appearance. He’s had four perfect outings and has struck out at least two batters in four appearances.
Harwich Mariners: The Mariners didn’t have to look far to bolster their pitching staff for the end of the regular season and the playoffs. Harwich already is tied for the most shutouts on the Cape (seven) and has the lowest team earned run average (3.35). But that didn’t stop them from adding John Teehan (Massachusetts Maritime Academy) this week. With the Bucs this spring, Teehan started nine games and logged 52.2 innings while striking out 60 and recording four complete games.
Hyannis Harbor Hawks: Any way you look at it, the Harbor Hawks have had a season to forget. Not only do they have 10 fewer wins than the next closest team in the CCBL, but they have the second-most strikeouts (387) and the lowest on-base percentage (.313). Hyannis has also allowed 85 more runs than the next closest team (291) and has the third-most errors committed in the field (48). But perhaps the most alarming statistic is their home record. The Hawks welcomed their newly remodeled McKeon Field with a home record of 5-16-1, much to the dismay of the home crowd.
Orleans Firebirds: Pitching wins championships. Orleans manager Kelly Nicholson is hoping the old cliche rings true this season with his Firebirds team. Tied for the East Division lead, Orleans leads the league in six key team pitching statistics. They’ve allowed the fewest earned runs (133), leading to the second-lowest team ERA of 3.37. Orleans has given up the second-fewest hits (305) and features the lowest opponent batting average (.225) and opponent slugging percentage (.318). Additionally Orleans is tied with Harwich for the most shutouts with seven.
Wareham Gatemen: First baseman/outfielder Jacob Teter (Florida Southern) has been a quality hitter patrolling the right side of the infield for the Gatemen. Teter is hitting .301 with eight extra-base hits, including two homers, and 27 RBI and 21 runs scored. But the burly left-hander doesn’t feature the dead-pull swing that lefty hitters typically possess. According to spray charts from Pointstreak, of Teter’s 46 hits only 14 have gone to the right of the second base bag. The rest have gone to the opposite field. A grand total of zero balls put in play have gone down the first base line.
Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox: Right-handed starter Ryan Hare (UNLV) has been a hard-luck loser for Y-D in his last two starts. Despite posting 1.17 ERA in his 7.2 innings pitched in the last week, Hare has gone 0-2. He allowed only one earned run, walked five and scattered six hits and struck out six. Against Hyannis on Tuesday, July 30 Hare took the loss, despite tossing four innings of four-hit baseball in a 1-0 game. On July 24, Hare took the loss in the 5-0 game against Chatham, even though he went 3.2 innings of two-hit baseball.