Harwich Stays Hot In Cape League

After three weeks, college summer league standings and statistics have begun to shake-out even though several players have yet to report to their respective teams around the country—most notably those still fighting for a College World Series title in Omaha.

In Cape Cod, the Harwich Mariners have gone on a tear, winning seven of their last eight and all four of their games last week to improve their record to 10-4 and take a commanding first-place lead over Orleans in the Eastern Division. The Mariners’ winning ways have been the result of a good bullpen and timely hitting, both of which were showcased in their first contest of week three—last Tuesday against Cotuit.

Tied at one heading into the bottom of the seventh, Harwich's Billy Burns, a Mercer junior outfielder, knocked a one-out double to spark a three-run rally. DH  Andrew Rash, a sophomore at Virginia Tech, capped the run with another double. Carter Capps, Seattle’s supplemental third-round selection out of D-II Mt. Olive (N.C.), and Grant Gordon, a sophomore righthander from Missouri State, threw 2 2/3 innings in relief to back a standout performance by starter Tanner Perkins, a big southpaw out of Western Kentucky.

Perkins threw six innings without allowing a run, setting up Capps to earn his first win of the summer. Darnell Sweeney, a sophomore middle infielder from Central Florida, led the Harwich bats with a 3-for-4, three-RBI night in the win.

On Friday against Wareham, it was more of the same as the Mariners used four pitchers in a 4-0 shutout. Kentucky lefthander Taylor Rogers struck out nine and walked just one in six innings to earn the win before handing the game over to righthanders Chris Overman (N.C. State), Capps and Blake Hauser (Virginia Commonwealth). Hauser struck out the side in the ninth, as the four arms combined to fan 15 Gatemen.

Following two days of impressive pitching performances, the Harwich offense gave the M’s some breathing room early on Saturday, putting up a seven-spot in the bottom of the first against Chatham. LSU's JaCoby Jones and Austin Nola started the barrage with singles and were followed by hits from Jabari Henry (Florida International), Austin Wilson (Stanford), Luke Voit (Misssouri), and John Wooten (East Carolina). Jones, a sophomore speedster, had two hits in the inning, and Wooten went 2-for-4 with two RBIs on the day.

On Sunday, Wooten was at it again, going 3-for-5 with an RBI in a 7-3 win over Cotuit, which has now dropped six in a row. Ronnie Richardson, a Cubs 31st-round draft-and-follow out of Central Florida, also had a three-hit afternoon. Overman, Capps, and Hauser dominated in relief again, throwing 5 2/3 innings without allowing a run and striking out eight.

Meanwhile, Hyannis remained on top of the Western Division despite dropping two over the weekend. At 9-4, the Harbor Hawks are the only team in the West above .500. Falmouth, however, is quickly trying to change that, having won four straight after a rough start, allowing no more than two runs in any affair this week.

Cape pitcher of the week Joe Bircher, a junior lefty from Bradley, owned the most dominating effort for the Commodores, throwing six innings of one-hit, one-earned run ball on Saturday night against first-place Hyannis. Bircher struck out nine without a walk and now leads the league in strikeouts with 25 over 16 innings.

Rice freshman John Simms and sophomore Tyler Duffey (who had eight wins and 30 appearances this year) also pitched well for Falmouth, with Simms saving three of the team’s four wins. Simms has yet to allow a run this summer, and has 13 strikeouts in six innings after posting a 3.32 ERA in 62 innings this spring.

Barrett Barnes, a sophomore outfielder from Texas Tech, leads the Commodores at the dish with three straight multi-hit games—including a 2-for-4, three-RBI night against Cotuit on Friday.

Across the country in the West Coast League, the Wenatchee AppleSox are off to a scorching start by way of a .294 team batting average and 2.11 team ERA, producing 16 wins in their first 18 games. Outfielder Breland Almadova (Hawaii), went 6-for-13 with four RBIs and two doubles this past week for the Sox. The sophomore, who hit .298 hitting ahead of Cardinals first-rounder Kolten Wong this spring, is currently leading the league with a .400 clip in 12 games. Catcher Aaron Deguire (Lewis-Clark State) has two home runs and 10 RBIs for Wenatchee and is second in the league behind Almadova in average at .371.

The Sox pitching rotation has been as solid as any in the country over the last few weeks, led by Gonzaga freshman Aaron Brooks. A six-foot-six righthander, Brooks is 3-0, 1.14 in 24 innings. Teammates Owen Jones (Portland) and Alex Phillips (Kentucky) have also made major contributions on the bump, with Jones sporting a 1.82 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 25 innings and Phillips striking out 25 in as many innings pitched.

The WCL’s hottest arm, though, is unquestionably Bellevue College’s Adrian Simpson who just missed a no-hitter earlier this summer. Simpson, a Bellingham Bell, threw 9 1/3 innings of one-hit ball in his first start of the summer against Cowlitz, the lone base knock coming with two outs in the ninth before Bellingham lost 1-0 in 13 innings. As an encore, Simpson then tossed six shutout innings vs. Klamath Falls last week and has a 0.29 ERA to his name through 15 innings.

The Prospect League saw its own pitching gem this past week, as LSU freshman righthander Nick Rumbelow struck out 14 and walked none on Wednesday for the Danville Dans against the Hannibal Cavemen. Rumbelow, who threw 13 innings out of the Tiger bullpen this spring, earned the hard-luck loss in the game, but has cruised through his competition in three starts, sitting down 15 in 20 innings alongside a 1.37 ERA.