BOSTON—James Ramsey had such a good time Friday night that he said he wanted to keep on playing with his new teammates—the all-stars of the Cape Cod League's East Division.
Ramsey, a rising senior outfielder at Florida State, jumped on an 88 mph first-pitch fastball from William & Mary righthander John Farrell in the fifth inning, depositing it into the right-field bullpen at Fenway Park for a solo home run. That blast earned the Yarmouth-Dennis star the MVP honors for the East, which beat the West 4-1 in the all-star game.
"You feel like you're off the ground, for sure," Ramsey said of the feeling of hitting the home run. "The best part wasn't really running the bases, it was getting back to the dugout, getting the high-fives—'I've only known you for a couple of hours, but I've seen you play for a couple of weeks now.' . . . I'm really blessed to be able to play alongside so many good players in this league."
Ramsey, like every Cape League all-star who has gotten a chance to play at Fenway Park over the last three years, got a major thrill out of playing in the major leagues' oldest stadium. Much of the lower seating bowl was filled despite a forecast that called for a chance of thunderstorms, and the official attendance was 7,007—creating a festive atmosphere. [...] Continue Reading »
All-Star week in Cape Cod signals the tail of the regular season and no team is roaring toward postseason play like the Orleans Firebirds, winners of six in a row, their longest streak of the summer. The Firebirds now stand at 19-16-3 and are tied for first place in the Eastern Division with Harwich.
Just a week ago Orleans’s playoffs hopes were fading. The Birds had dropped six of their last eight—five of which were by fewer than two runs—and seemed to be going in the wrong direction. The turnaround has been sudden, especially considering that Orleans still ranks last in the league in batting average and on-base percentage.
Anthony Gomez, the Firebirds’ shortstop and a rising junior at Vanderbilt, thinks the win streak can be attributed to improved team morale. [...] Continue Reading »
The Cape Cod League has announced the rosters for its 49th annual all-star game set to take place July 29th at Fenway Park. The event marks the third consecutive summer that Fenway will serve as a host.
In the Eastern Division, the Brewster Whitecaps will send a division-best six players to Boston, including a pair of Michigan State standouts in righthander Tony Bucciferro and second baseman Ryan Jones. Bucciferro currently sports one of the league’s top ERAs at 1.70 and a nifty 5-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, while Jones is hitting .308. Both were first-team all-Big Ten selections this spring. Whitecaps relievers Austin Voth (Washington) and J.T. Chargois (Rice), both of whom have ERAs beneath 1.00, and outfielders Jason Monda (Washington State) and Andrew Toles (Tennessee) will also make the trip. Monda is currently third in the league in hitting at .329 and Toles, an unsigned fourth-round draft pick in 2010, is hitting .299 with 12 stolen bases. [...] Continue Reading »
Two of the nation’s hottest college summer league teams continued their winning ways in convincing fashion Wednesday night, as the Coastal Plain League’s Edenton Steamers won their 11th in row and the Cape Cod League's Bourne Braves won their 10th in their last 12 games. Both teams have ridden shut-down pitching staffs all summer, but their emerging offenses have triggered their current streaks.
Edenton, which has already clinched a CPL playoff spot after finishing with a league best 19-8 record during the first half, rolled over the second-place Outer Banks Daredevils, 13-4, improving its second half record to 16-1. The Steamers put the game away for good with a four-run seventh, thanks to RBI singles from Miami (Ohio)’s Ryan Brenner and Dayton’s Brian Blasik. Brenner, West Chester (Pa.)'s Joe Wendle, and Texas-Pan American’s Vinnie Mejia each had three-hits in the game, part of Edenton’s 17-hit attack.
Early on, the Steamer bats had trouble with righthander Conner Sinclair, a rising senior from Lipscomb who worked at 87-88 mph with two different breaking balls in a scoreless inning during Monday night’s CPL all-star game. Through four innings, Sinclair struck out eight and allowed just one run on a Mejia solo shot in the fourth. [...] Continue Reading »
LONGVIEW, Wash.—The Cowlitz Black Bears are 19-18 on the season, trying to claw to the top of the West Coast League West standings. The team has already won more games than it did last year (18), thanks to contributions from a trio of potential Ducks.
The West Coast League has solidified itself over the past few years by allowing rising freshmen to play with teams, landing impressive talent along the way. The league's top prospect the past two years has been a rising freshman (Andrew Susac in 2009 and Stefan Sabol in 2010).
Cowlitz's lineup has been anchored by three rising freshman committed to Oregon: shortstop Mitch Walding and outfielders Billy Flamion and Spencer O'Neil.
"They've been awesome," Cowlitz head coach Bryson LeBlanc said. "Spencer O'Neil can flat-out hit. Just watching him hit, you could mistake him for Paul O'Neill's son. Billy Flamion, the ball jumps off of his bat, too—and off of Walding's. But Billy just plays the game hard. He's fun to watch play. He's robbed two home runs this year. Mitchell's bat is just starting to come on, but at shortstop he's pretty good. He's long, he's rangy, he has a good arm. All three of them are so special."
[...] Continue Reading »
If the 2011 draft class was stronger than usual, early indications are that 2012 could be a down year, at least on the college side. The talent level across college summer baseball is down, according to scouts.
"It's OK," a National League scouting director said of the talent in the Cape Cod League. "There's some arm strength, some big bodies. All the guys that have good arms have hickies, but there's a few. And a few good hitters."
The Northwoods League typically has the next-most talent, and scouts came away from Monday's NWL all-star game saying there was less high-end talent on display than there has been in recent years.
"It was fairly lackluster, compared to the last three years," an American League area scout said. "There wasn't anybody who really jumped out and it was like, 'Wow, I'd really love to have that guy.' There were some guys with some arm strength, but they're missing this or that. I think I saw 92 once all night on the gun; there was not anybody that was 91-94. There was a lot of 84-87s, and one or two guys who were maybe 88-89, 90, and one or two guys that may have been pitching at 90, touching 92. Offensively, there really wasn't anything that was too impressive."
The North Division beat the South, 6-3, in front of 2,408 fans in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. Brainerd Lakes Area third baseman Dan Olinger (Minnesota) was named the "Star of Stars" after going 3-for-4 with two runs and an RBI. Madison slugger Nate Theunissen (Central Michigan) starred for the South, going 2-for-4 with a homer. The physical Theunissen hit .384 with a team-high seven homers and 54 RBIs as a sophomore this spring, and he has built upon that success this summer, hitting .329 with six homers in 140 at-bats with wood. [...] Continue Reading »
Fordham officially announced Monday that it has hired Manhattan coach Kevin Leighton to be its new head coach, replacing Nick Restaino, who resigned after seven seasons in June.
Leighton, who won more than 30 games in each of his six years as head coach with the Jaspers, is coming off one of his most successful seasons, leading Manhattan to its second Metro Atlantic Athletic Association championship and second appearance in the NCAA tournament. The Jaspers finished the season with a 34-19 record with six players earning all-conference honors. Leighton was named MAAC coach of the year after guiding the Jaspers to the regular-season crown with a 20-2 conference record.
“We are excited to find a coach with the experience and accomplishments of Kevin Leighton,” Fordham executive director of athletics Frank McLaughlin said in a release. “We have a proud and successful baseball tradition at Fordham and look to Kevin, with the support of our alumni, to build on that success and the winning traditions.” [...] Continue Reading »
GLENDALE, Calif.—The California Collegiate League has featured a nice collection of talent in recent years, a blend of Southern California college players, highly regarded rising freshmen and big-name prospects from schools like Texas and Rice, among others. On Wednesday at Stengel Field in Glendale, the league's top talent assembled for its third annual all-star game, where a number of intriguing power arms were on display. But outfielder Aaron Brown, one of the league's youngest players, stole the show—even though his CCL Nationals were crushed by the Americans, 14-3.
Brown (right), who is hitting .351 with five homers, 19 RBIs and 11 stolen bases in 12 tries for the host Glendale Angelenos this summer, was a two-way star for Southern California powerhouse Chatsworth High this spring. He ranked No. 149 on Baseball America's Top 200 Prospects for the 2011 draft, but his commitment to Pepperdine caused him to slip to the Pirates in the 17th round.
Scouts were clamoring that the Pirates had better open their checkbook after watching Brown on Wednesday. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound outfielder first showed off his easy lefthanded power in batting practice, banging a home run off the right-field scoreboard. Then, in his first at-bat of the game in the second inning, he fouled off some mid-90s heat from righthander Stephen Johnson, then laced an RBI double down the right-field line on a 77 mph slider. [...] Continue Reading »
Baseball America has learned that catcher/outfielder Stefan Sabol will not return to Oregon for his sophomore year. A Top 200 Draft Prospect in high school, Sabol was drafted in the 17th round of the 2010 draft by the Braves, but elected to go to school. He hit .254/.371/.349 in 39 games for the Ducks this spring. He saw limited action due to a broken bone in his left hand.
It is currently unknown where Sabol will land this fall, but it is likely he will wind up at a junior college, making him eligible for the 2012 draft. With the Cotuit Kettleers of the Cape Cod League, he was hitting .300/.373/.383 in 60 at-bats.
Four summer leagues along the East Coast put their best on display last night, beginning when the Cal Ripken League all-stars knocked off the Valley League all-stars, 6-3, in the Mid-Atlantic Classic.
With the score tied at two in the sixth, the Ripken League knocked out five hits and three runs, highlighted by a two-run single from team MVP Andrew Parker, a junior catcher out of Towson.
Ripken’s all-stars got on the board early and were helped out by poor defense from the Valley League. Starting pitcher Andrew Armstrong (Ohio State), who cruised through his lone inning of work the night before in the Valley League all-star game, got Sean Godfrey (Ball State) to strike out. However, Godfrey advanced all the way to second on a passed ball, and later scored from third base on a botched pick-off attempt.
In the fifth, the Valley League evened the score after two walks to open the inning. George Washington’s Stephen Oswald doubled to plate one and Masters (Calif.) College’s Tanner Leighton lifted a sacrifice fly to tie the game.
Western Kentucky announced Monday that it has hired Matt Myers as its head coach, replacing Chris Finwood, who left for Old Dominion. Myers spent the last four seasons as an assistant at WKU, including the last two as associate head coach. The Hilltoppers went with Myers over fellow finalist Tom Holliday, North Carolina State's associate head coach.
"As our search unfolded, it became clear that Matt Myers was the ideal person to serve as our next head baseball coach," WKU director of athletics Ross Bjork said in a release. "He clearly demonstrated that he has both the right attitude and the blueprint for success that our program needs moving forward. He has high level experience and a proven record of success at multiple levels as a student-athlete, assistant coach and head coach. He also has the respect of his peers, our student-athletes and our community, and no one knows and understands all facets of the WKU baseball program like Matt does." [...] Continue Reading »
Kennesaw State sophomore Ronnie Freeman helped rally the Holyoke Blue Sox past the Danbury Westerners, 7-5, in a meeting of the top two teams in the New England Collegiate Baseball League's western division on Wednesday evening.
With his team trailing 5-4 in the top of the ninth, Freeman launched the first pitch he saw for a game-tying solo shot, part of a 3-for-5, two-RBI performance for the catcher. The Blue Sox then took the lead and added some insurance thanks to RBI base hits from sophomore DH Justin Ringo (Stanford) and shortstop Kris Richards (UNC-Greensboro).
On Tuesday night in the Cape Cod League, the league’s top two clubs faced off, as Eastern Division leading Harwich (13-8) knocked off Western Division leader Hyannis, 3-2, in a battle of midseason heavyweights.
Hyannis (14-7), which had reeled off five wins in its previous six games, sent Iowa sophomore southpaw Matt Dermody to the hill to face Harwich’s Tyler Jones, a sophomore from LSU. Both teams got on the board early, scoring one run apiece in the second. The Hawks crossed the plate first when right fielder Cal Towey, a sophomore out of Baylor, walked with the bases loaded. But the bats of third baseman Mike Garza (Georgetown) and left fielder Billy Burns (Mercer) evened the game up in a hurry for the M’s. With one out, Garza doubled after fouling off three two-strike pitches, and Burns singled him in moments later.
Each team then squeaked an unearned run across, setting up a 2-2 tie heading into the seventh. In the top half of the inning, Harwich’s Chris Overman, a sophomore from N.C. State, hit the first two batters, giving the Hawks life. Overman, however, struck out the next two before inducing a groundout to avoid further trouble.
The Mariners took that momentum and ran with it, as Garza drew a leadoff walk. With one out, Missouri State catcher Luke Voit then drilled a double, bringing Garza home from first base with the winning run. Lex Rutledge, a sophomore lefthander out of Samford, quieted the Hyannis sticks in the eighth and ninth, giving Harwich the win.
Rick Rembielak, a three-time Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year who has compiled more than 500 career wins at Wake Forest and Kent State, has been hired as the head baseball coach at Akron, director of athletics Tom Wistrcill announced Friday. Rembielak, who spent 2011 as a volunteer assistant at Georgia Tech, is a 1988 Akron graduate.
"Coach Rembielak is the perfect fit for our baseball program," Wistrcill said in a release. "He has extensive experience as a Division I head coach, is a proven winner in the MAC and has local ties to Northeast Ohio. We are pleased to hire someone of his caliber and welcome him and his family back to The University of Akron."
Rembielak, a Cleveland native, won four MAC regular-season championships and three league tournament titles at KSU, where he remains the all-time winningest coach of any sport with a career record of 373-251-1 (.597). [...] Continue Reading »
College of Charleston’s Daniel Aldrich beat Georgia Southern’s Victor Roache in front of 20,578 people at the 2011 TD Ameritrade College Home Run Derby on Saturday at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha. CBS televised the event nationwide on Sunday afternoon.
Aldrich and Roache tallied 10 and four home runs, respectively, in the first two rounds to advance. In the final round, all home runs were taken off the board and both players received eight outs per at-bat. Aldrich, a third-team All-American as a redshirt freshman this spring, opened the final round by hitting four out of the park during his appearance. With seven outs and no home runs, Roache hit back-to-back homers before recording his final out of the event.
The TD Ameritrade College Home Run Derby ended with the 27th annual Omaha World-Herald fireworks display.
Santa Clara replaced one O'Brien with another. Mark O'Brien stepped down as the Broncos' head coach after completing his 10th season at the helm, and Thursday the school hired UC San Diego coach Dan O'Brien to fill its head coaching vacancy.
Dan O'Brien turned UCSD into a Division II powerhouse during 14 years as head coach. He led the Tritons their first D-II College World Series in 2009 and steered them to the national championship game in 2010, when they went 54-8. UCSD won its fourth California Collegiate Athletic Association title under O'Brien in 2011, though it was upset before reaching the CWS. In June, righthanders Tim Shibuya and Guido Knudson became UCSD's first two drafted players since 2003.
"We are so pleased to be bringing Dan O'Brien aboard to usher in a new era in Bronco baseball," Santa Clara athletic director Dan Coonan said in a statement. "He is a phenomenal baseball coach, as baseball people will attest to, but an even better person. He embodies the type of values Santa Clara holds so dear, and that manifests itself in his coaching style and philosophy. He is quite accustomed to running a successful baseball program at a top academic institution. He is a perfect fit for Santa Clara and is ready to bring the program to new heights. We can't wait." [...] Continue Reading »
The 2011 College World Series is in the books, meaning all eight teams have packed up and returned to their respective schools. Many of these teams’ players, however, won’t be there for long. Instead they will now latch on with their respective summer league teams, which are now closing in on their fourth full week of action.
All eight teams in the Cape Cod League, as well as the Collegiate National Team—which will be featured in this weekend’s Prospect Classic and a five-game set in early July with Japan—will receive an in-flux of CWS veterans.
Ten players who appeared at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha over the last two weeks will help represent the United States this summer. Texas will send three vital pieces from the Longhorns’ 49-win squad this season, including two freshmen in closer Cory Knebel and third baseman Erich Weiss—both BA Freshman All-America team selections. Sophomore Hoby Milner, who held opponents to a .201 batting average in 32 appearances as Augie Garrido’s go-to lefthander out of the bullpen, will join his younger teammates with Team USA as well.
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