Cape Stars Make All-Star Game A Spectacle

Image credit: Brewster infielder Gage Workman (Photo by of William F. Pomeroy/Brewster Whitecaps)

ORLEANS, Mass. — The Cape Cod League all-star game on Sunday at Orleans’ Eldridge Park delivered plenty of spectacle from the league’s biggest stars and best prospects.

Harwich righthander Joe Boyle (Notre Dame) touched 100 mph. Cotuit second baseman Nick Gonzales (New Mexico State) and Falmouth outfielder Zach Deloach (Texas A&M), two of the league’s top hitters, combined to open the scoring. Wareham infielder Matt McLain (UCLA) homered, as did Cotuit catcher Cody Pasic (Maine), a Cape Cod native. Brewster infielder Gage Workman (Arizona State) hit an inside-the-park home run.

In the end, Workman and Brewster teammate Brett Auerbach (Alabama) combined to give the East a 6-5, walk-off win against the West.

Workman’s inside-the-park home run energized the East in the seventh, and Auerbach delivered a game-tying hit later that inning. Then, after the West pushed ahead in the eighth on a single from McLain, Workman led off the ninth with a double and scored the tying run. A couple batters later, Auerbach punched a single through the right side of the infield to score Brady Smith (Florida) and win the game for the East.

Workman entered the game in the sixth inning and said he was initially nervous at the plate for his first all-star game at-bat. But he quickly settled in and ripped a 2-2 pitch over the head of center fielder Jud Fabian (Florida). Workman, listed at 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, motored around the bases and was surprised to see the third base coach waving him in. The throw to the plate was errant and Workman scored easily.

“I didn’t think he was going to send me, but he sent me before I stopped my stride,” Workman said. “I just listened to him and kept going. I had no idea where the ball was.”

Workman is hitting .276/.341/.379 this summer, and Sunday’s inside-the-parker was his first home run of the summer. He is statistically having a better summer than he did a year ago, when he hit .163/.241/.306 after his freshman season at Arizona State.

Workman said he is focusing on his pitch selection and looking to barrel up balls, never an easy task with the level of opposition on the Cape.

“The at-bats are unreal, especially against the arms that are out here,” he said. “The pitchers are really, really good, so the reps are awesome for me.”

Sunday’s game began with some of those arms showing just how tough they can be. Brewster righthander Mason Black (Lehigh) started the game for the East and needed just five pitches for a perfect inning against Gonzales, Hayden Cantrelle (Louisiana-Lafayette) and Deloach. Ian Bedell (Missouri), Franco Aleman (St. John’s River JC, Fla.) and Logan Hoffman (Northwestern State) combined to strike out four batters and hold the East to one hit and one walk in three scoreless innings.

But, on the mound, Boyle stole the show. The 6-foot-7, 225-pound righthander is one of the hardest throwers in college baseball and is always capable of hitting triple digits. He didn’t disappoint Sunday, running his fastball up to 100 mph in a perfect inning that required just seven pitches.

Harwich righthander Joe Boyle (Photo by Alex Weiner/Harwich Mariners)

Boyle said he tries not to look at the radar gun reading on the scoreboard when he pitches and didn’t know he had touched 100 mph until he got back to the dugout.

While Boyle has hit 100 mph many times before, he said it doesn’t lose its luster.

“It’s cool, it’s always cool to be able to see it happen,” he said. “I try not to let it affect me or go to my head or anything. I just try to keep working hard with everything I do and get better every single day.”

Boyle has in the past struggled with his control, and that’s his primary focus this summer after walking 27 batters in 24 innings this spring for Notre Dame. He’s been better for Harwich, where he’s mostly worked out of the bullpen. Boyle is 1-2, 1.54, has struck out 23 batters, walked nine and held opponents to three hits in 11.2 innings.

Boyle knows his stuff is plenty good enough to get outs if he just throws enough strikes. With that in mind, he’s trying to take a more aggressive mindset on the mound.

“Just playing without the fear of failure,” he said. “Being able to go out there and have fun and pitch without consequences because I know if I’m in the zone I’ll be successful.”

That recipe worked Sunday against some of the best hitters the Cape has to offer. And it excited the dozens of scouts in attendance, as did the play of many of the other all-stars on a night when the Cape’s best shone brightly.

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