Cape Cod League All-Stars Show Off Tools
HARWICH, Mass.—The stars at the Cape Cod League All-Star Game came out early Sunday for the West Division at Whitehouse Field. Led by Bourne first baseman Spencer Brickhouse (East Carolina), Falmouth righthander Matt Canterino (Rice) and Falmouth outfielder Kyle Stowers (Stanford), the West jumped out to a 4-0 lead and went on to win the game, 4-3.
Brickhouse and Stowers both drove in a run in the first inning and then hit back-to-back home runs in the fourth to account for all the scoring. Canterino started the game and struck out two batters in his inning of work.
Canterino showed off his full four-pitch arsenal to the large crowd of scouts at the game. His fastball sat 91-93 mph and he mixed in a big curveball as well as a slider and changeup.
“I just wanted to use all my stuff,” Canterino said. “You’re trying to showcase your ability and you’re also trying to get people out. For me, that’s using everything I have to get people out.”
Canterino has being do that all summer for Falmouth. He is 2-0, 1.52 with 20 strikeouts and seven walks in 17.2 innings. His success this summer has followed a solid sophomore season, when he went 7-5, 3.06 with 116 strikeouts and 22 walks in 94 innings.
Canterino said he didn’t so much carry momentum from the spring to the Cape, but instead has continued to make steady progression. He’s working on attacking hitters with his fastball and then working in any of his offspeed pitches in any count.
“I just want to keep those hitters off balance,” he said. “I want to get better at the little things and I think everything is starting to come together.”
Everything came together at the plate Sunday for Brickhouse and Stowers. After a 90-minute rain delay at the outset of the game, they wasted no time in getting the West offense going. Brickhouse opened the scoring with a two-out, RBI double and then scored a few pitches later on Stowers’ single.
Brickhouse is listed at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds and the lefthanded hitter has big raw power, especially to his pull side, as he demonstrated before the game in the home run derby. But in the all-star game, he showed he can work the opposite field as well.
Brickhouse said coach Cliff Godwin, who was in attendance Sunday, has worked with him throughout his college career to develop a better approach at the plate, work which is now paying dividends.
“Coach Godwin always tells me to focus on hitting the ball hard,” said Brickhouse, who was named West Division MVP of the all-star game. “He’s taught me how to have an approach. You’ve got to become a hitter instead of a batter.”
Brickhouse hit .298/.382/.502 with 10 home runs, 33 walks and 34 strikeouts this spring. He is this summer hitting .258/.333/.395 with four home runs. His strikeout rate has spiked however, as he’s whiffed 38 times and walked only 12.
This summer is an opportunity for Brickhouse to continue improving. He said the East Carolina coaches gave him some things to focus on while he is in Bourne and he’s doing his best to work through his to-do list.
“I’m able to focus on fine-tuning some things,” he said. “I’m working on my fielding, trying to get better with that, working on speed, working on my base running, just trying to get better in the different aspects of the game.”
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While Brickhouse delivered a home run in the all-star game, he did not triumph in the home run derby. He was beaten in the first round by Chatham outfielder Spencer Torkelson (Arizona State), who this spring led the nation in home runs. But Torkelson was upset in the finals by Orleans second baseman Carter Aldrete, his Sun Devils’ teammate.
Aldrete hit just three home runs this spring at Arizona State—22 fewer than Torkelson—but he hit 11 in the finals to edge Torkelson, who hit 10. Aldrete said even if next spring’s numbers look about the same, he won’t let Torkelson, a Freshman All-American, forget that he beat him in a home run derby.
“He’s never going to live that down,” Aldrete said. “Next year, if he has 30 pops, I don’t care, I still have more juice than him according to the Cape Cod home run derby.”
Aldrete is hitting .257/.312/.475 with five home runs this summer. He’s shown more power after hitting just 15 extra-base hits as a sophomore for the Sun Devils, but he’s mostly just focused on trying to find a good rhythm at the plate.
“I’ve been saying it since I got to college, being on time and giving myself a chance to see the ball,” he said. “I think I make better decisions that way. It’s not going the way I want it to up here, but I do realize I’m playing a little bit above average, but I’m never satisfied.”
With the passing of the all-star game, the Cape season is reaching its stretch run. The players only have a couple more weeks to hone their games before the playoffs begin. But on Sunday night at Hariwch, the all-stars in the premier summer league came together to put on a show and showcase their hard work this summer.