Around the Horn Header

Week Six of the Cape Cod Baseball League will be capped by the annual All-Star Game showcase, hosted by the Orleans Firebirds at Eldredge Park on Sunday, July 21. The exhibition spectacle pits the best from the West Division against the best the East Division has to offer.

Last season, the West came out victorious against its East counterparts, scoring a 4-3 win at Whitehouse Field in Harwich.

As for the Week Five Coca-Cola Player/Pitcher of the Week awards, both divisions of the Cape League were represented. Falmouth’s Zach DeLoach (Texas A&M) accumulated 10 hits for a robust average of .435 for the Commodores. Five of those hits went for extra bases, including three home runs. He boasted a two-homer game on July 7 against Hyannis and two days later produced a four-hit game against Chatham, falling a triple short of the cycle.

Harwich’s Connor McCullough (Kansas State) put forth a throwback performance on the mound for the Mariners to pick up Pitcher of the Week honors. While many pitchers are held back due to innings and pitch limits, McCullough hurled eight shutout innings in a 2-0 win against Chatham last week. Facing just two over the minimum, he allowed three hits while sending down nine Anglers by way of the K.

Now, let’s go around the horn and take a statistical look at the rest of the league.

Bourne Braves: Pitcher Nick Dombkowski (Hartford) accomplished not only a rare feat for the franchise, but in baseball overall. On Wednesday, July 17, the lefty from West Springfield hurled just the second perfect game in the Braves history in a home game against Yarmouth-Dennis. The game may have only lasted five innings as it was cut short due to rain, but it still goes down as an official perfect game nevertheless. Dombkowski averaged a little more than 11 pitches per inning as he faced the minimum of 15 batters—sending down seven by way of the K. The only other Braves’ perfect game came in 2008 from Nick McCully in a game that was also shortened.

Brewster Whitecaps: Utility man Tyler Gentry (Alabama) had himself a strong stretch at the plate for the Whitecaps. In his last 10 games played, spanning from July 7 to July 17, Gentry went 14-for-40 (.350) and churned out six extra-base hits while driving in six runs and scoring five more. He lifted his average from .222 to .259 in that time. He had a seven-game hitting streak during that stretch and produced multi-hit games in five of them.

Chatham Anglers: There hasn’t been a better duo at striking out opposing batters than Chatham’s Mason Hazelwood (Kentucky) and Kolby Kubichek (Texas). The lefty-righty tandem has combined to punch out 58 batters, 29 each, and are tied for the fourth-most K’s on the Cape. To put that in perspective, the twosome has accounted for nearly 20 percent of the Anglers’ league-leading 307 team strikeouts. Hazelwood’s single-game high is six, reaching that number twice, while Kubichek’s game-high is eight, also achieving that number twice in his last two starts.

Cotuit Kettleers: No team has been better at producing extra-base hits than the Kettleers to this point of the season. With the second-most doubles (45), second-most triples (six) and the most round-trippers (29), Cotuit has a combined .393 slugging percentage, or better put, nearly 40 percent of its at-bats have resulted in extra-base hits. Nick Gonzales (New Mexico State) leads the team in all three extra-base hit categories with nine doubles, two triples and six home runs.

Falmouth Commodores: Trei Cruz (Rice) has been trè cool at the plate in the last week. The son of former Major Leaguer Josè Cruz Jr. is leading the Commodores in batting over the last six games, sporting a .478 average by going 11-for-23 at the dish. Although, 10 of those hits have gone for single bases. In that span, the Falmouth second baseman has more stolen bases, RBI and runs scored (three each) than strikeouts (two). While Cruz has hit for average during that stretch, Baron Radcliff (Georgia Tech) has provided the power. In just four games Radcliff has lifted three home runs and drove in 10 runs.

Harwich Mariners: Speaking of the long ball, Harwich’s Nike Kavadas (Notre Dame) has been the preeminent power hitter on the Cape this season. He leads the league with eight dingers and is second in the league with 25 runs batted in. With 99 at-bats in a Mariners’ uniform, the 6-foot-2, 230-pound slugger is averaging a home run ever 12.4 at-bats or one every four games. He belted a three-run shot in the Mariners’ 12-11 road win against Brewster on Wednesday, July 17 and, four days earlier, had a three-homer game on Saturday, July 13 at Wareham.

Hyannis Harbor Hawks: Are you wondering why the Hawks have a league-low six wins on the season—less than half of the next closest team on the Cape? Look no further than Hyannis’ woes fielding its positions. Aside from leading the CCBL in errors committed (41) and featuring the lowest team fielding percentage in the league (.960), the Hawks have three players committing the most errors at their respective positions. Brooks Carlson (Samford) leads all first baseman with four errors while catcher Adam Hackenberg (Clemson) and pitcher Alex Garbrick (Morehead State) lead their positions with six and two errors made, respectively.

Orleans Firebirds: Double plays are rally killers—just ask the Firebirds. Orleans has three players tied for second in double plays hit into (four). Together Josh Zamora (Nevada), Raymond Gil (Miami) and Max Troiani (Bentley) have combined to hit into 12 double plays. That is tied for the most double plays by three players from the same team with the Wareham trio of Adrian Del Castro (Miami), Kameron Guangorena (Cal State Fullerton) and Matt McLain (UCLA). Opposing pitchers rejoice when seeing them at the plate with runners on base.

Wareham Gatemen: While we’re on the subject of the Gatemen, Wareham outfield Mike Antico has been avoiding strikeouts like the plague recently. As of Wednesday, July 17, the St. John’s product has gone his last seven games without being punched out by an opposing pitcher. That streak has spanned his last 25 plate appearances. In fact, Antico has just one strikeout in his last 10 games. In 99 plate appearances the New Jersey native has 15 strikeouts on the season.

Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox: In modern-day baseball, stat nerds are obsessed with true outcomes—a walk, a home run, or a strikeout—in predicting offensive success. As it pertains to Y-D catcher Noah Cardenas (UCLA), the outcome of his plate appearances may not be as successful, but it’s certainly predictable. In the 39 times he’s stepped to the plate, there’s nearly a 40 percent chance Cardenas will either strikeout (five), walk (five) or be hit by a pitch (five). The rising junior is tied for the CCBL lead in hit-by-pitches with, you guessed it, five other players.

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