Around The Horn July 25, 2014

Bourne Braves: Second baseman Billy Fleming earned a spot on the west divison all-star team, thanks to a superb summer thus far. Through Monday’s action, Fleming was second in the CCBL’s batting race, hitting at a .353 clip for the summer. Fleming won’t be able to attack the top spot, or appear in the all-star game, though. Fleming inked a professional contract on Monday with the New York Yankees. The West Virginia product, who had doubled seven times and driven in 18 runs, begins rookie ball this week under the flag of the Bronx Bombers.

Brewster Whitecaps: While the Caps have struggled mightily, and will likely miss the playoffs, right-hander Cody Ponce (Cal Poly-Pomona) is quietly having himself a great season on the bump. Ponce has started five games for the Whitecaps, posting a record of 3-1 with a 2.10 earned run average. Before Tuesday evening, his most previous start was July 8, against Wareham, a game in which he worked six innings with just four hits allowed. Since that date, he had made just one appearance, a two-inning relief sting on July 14. The six-foot, six-inch right-hander returned to the hill on Tuesday and was once again excellent. In a 3-3 draw against Orleans, Ponce went five innings, allowing six hits and one run with five strikeouts.

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Cotuit Kettleers: If Adam Whitt doesn’t have a nickname yet, he may want to go with the monicker “All The Time.” Whitt has worked more than any other pitcher in the Cape League this season and could win the earned run crown, as a reliever. The righty from the University of Nevada-Reno has appeared in roughly half of the Kettleers games so far, making 15 appearances. He’s posted a 1.18 earned run average and has a 4-0 record, accruing the second-most victories of any pitcher in the league so far. Whitt is also third overall in saves for the season, with four for the Kettleers. Over 30.1 innings of work, he’s accumulated 26 strikeouts, allowed just 19 hits and has issued 11 walks.

Chatham Anglers: It wasn’t until his seventh game of the season with the Chatham Anglers that AJ Murray (Georgia Tech) finally drove in his first RBI of the season. It took him a while to get going, but Murray has been on a tear ever since. Murray leads the CCBL in runs batted in, with 26, and also is atop the league leaders with five homers. Murray’s RBI have come in bunches. He’s had three RBI in a game three separate times this season, and has knocked in more than one run in a game on seven occasions.

Falmouth Commodores: Middle infielder Matt Eureste had himself one red hot week. Over a stretch of a week, Eureste batted .500 over four games, going eight for 16. He doubled three times and also walked twice for the Commodores, while finding home plate four times. The standout from San Jacinto College is having a banner year for Falmouth. He entered play this week with a .313 batting average, with a pair of homers and 12 runs batted in for the west division’s second-place team.

Harwich Mariners: The Harwich Mariners are contending to win the east division title, and a big reason has been the play of leading off hitter Kyle Barrett (Kentucky). The outfielder, who has a Christmas Eve birthday, is hitting at a .337 clip for the season and made it around the circuit to score a run on 18 occassions this season. He’s swiped nine bases and is averaging better than a hit per game. Last week he went through a stretch where he was the toughest out in the league, picking up nine hits in 20 at-bats. Over those four games, he had at least two hits in each of them.

Hyannis Harbor Hawks: Hyannis has been unable to find any traction since a good first few weeks of the season. The Hawks began the year by winning eight of their first 12 games, but since then they’ve struggled mightily. Over their next 20 games, the Harbor Hawks have gone just 5-15 overall and have fallen into fourth place in the west division standings, 8.5 games and 17 points behind first-place Bourne. The Hawks are allowing, on average, 1.5 more runs per game than they are scoring, with a run differential of minus-40 for the season. Only Wareham (-49) is worse in that area, and the Gatemen have closed the gap for the final playoff spot to 1.5 games, or three points, with 11 games left for Hyannis, and 10 for the Gatemen.

Orleans Firebirds: The Firebirds’ pitching staff has won more games (20) than any other in the league. The birds from the Lower Cape are allowing fewer runners (1.22 WHIP) than any other staff, and opponents are hitting just .225 against them, by far the best in the league. The birds also lead the league in earned run average, with a 2.87 team mark. Kolton Mahoney (BYU) and Nathan Bannister (Arizona) have led the way. The duo have combined to pitch 62 innings and have surrendered just 13 earned runs between them.

Wareham Gatemen: Why are the Gatemen struggling so much this year? It starts with the team’s performance at the plate. Wareham has the second-lowest team batting average (.256) in the CCBL, and the lowest on-base percentage of any of the team (.323). Additionally, no team has scored fewer runs (125, 3.67 per game), produced fewer runs batted in (104) or hit fewer home runs (10). Wareham also has the eighth highest team earned run average (4.14) and has allowed more home runs (23) than any other staff. Only Hyannis has given up more runs than Wareham. Hyannis has surrendered 176, the Gatemen have allowed 174.

Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox: Yarmouth-Dennis has three men not only fighting for the team lead in batting, but for the Cape League’s top spot. The duo of  Jordan Tarsovich (VMI) and Hunter Cole (Georgia) both entered play on Tuesday afternoon with identical .353 batting averages, which was tied for the third-best average in the league. First baseman Rob Fonseca (Northeastern) isn’t far behind, batting .340 overall, which is the sixth-best in the league. Tarsovich has collected 41 hits in 30 games. Cole is second in the league in runs batted in, with 25, and is second in the league in homers, with four. Fonseca is third in the league in homers, along with Tarsovich, with three. He also has scored 16 runs and has 32 hits in 30 games, with a team-best 17 bases on balls.

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