Cape Cod League..Brewster's New Blood, Wong Is Orleans Monsoon, & The Pope Pitches in Falmouth
Criticize this purist if you like, but without the hard headed, unshakeable, down the middle minority, the changes we see in the world would never take place. When discussing baseball, the hard core knows where the breeding grounds are. Historically, the Cape Cod League can be considered the most famous of those birthing centers where major league baseball scouts study, soak their pages in ink, and pull stars. So far this summer, the Brewster Whitecaps have the best record in the league (11-3). With the best team pitching ERA (1.98) and the 3rd best team batting average (.237), they are ruling their Eastern Division and squeezing harder on the Western Division with a 4 game winnings streak. There are no returning players for the Brewster Whitecaps after a disappointing ’09 campaign, this new crop of players bring a new movement.
A sophomore outfielder named Drew Martinez is settling as one of the best hitters in the league from the outset. He’s leading the league with a .408 batting average and 12 stolen bases. Martinez is learning how to succeed as a leadoff hitter, and after a couple of good seasons at Memphis State, he’ producing well. In ’09 as a freshman, Martinez was a C-USA-All Freshman 1st Team member and was the first freshman to lead Memphis in hitting since 1981. This past spring, as a sophomore, Martinez hit .377, stole 19 bases, and was on base 43% of the time. Another Brewster Whitecap lifting the team to new levels of success this summer is pitcher Austin Lubinsky. The right hander has pitched 13 innings and has not given up an earned run. Opposing hitters are hitting .146 which is much more important than having tons of strikeouts. The fact that Lubinsky has only struck out 3 so far this summer is not surprising or disappointing. This past spring at the University of Minnesota, Lubinsky was known for being a consistent strike thrower even though he only struck out 20 in his 30.2 innings. His problem was giving up too many hits (42). Hitters were all over Lubinsky with a batting average of .336 and clobbered his ERA to 5.26. In the 2010 regional, Lubinsky pitched 4.2 innings in the final loss against Fullerton. He suffered the loss on 8 hits, 4 earned runs, 1 walk, and 2 strikeouts. But, the new scene of the Cape Cod League has Lubinsky tuned up and improving. Expect him to be stronger as a junior next year.
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Another leadoff hitter in the Cape Cod League that is resonating in the memories of college baseball fans is Kolten Wong. The sophomore out of Hawaii is playing outfield this summer for the Orleans Firebirds, and his .356 after 45 at bats. He’s tied for the league lead with a .556 slugging percentage and his 9 stolen bases are only second to Martinez’s 12. He went 2 for 2 in a game that saw the Firebirds bang out 20 hits in an 8-2 victory over the Falmouth Commodores. As a member of the Hawaii University baseball team this past spring, they reached the regional and beat San Diego only to lose to Arizona State. Wong had an amazing season with Hawaii and the Western Athletic Conference. He hit .357 and led the team in runs (57), hits (89), and a stat most tend to ignore, walk (36). Wong was also tied for 1st in the conference with 19 stolen bases. In the regional, he went 5 for 9 and scored 4 runs.
The Falmouth Commodores are showcasing an amazing right handed pitcher named Mark Pope. He’s pitched in 3 games and has collected 19 innings. He has a record of 1-0, 0.95 and 21 strikeouts. More impressive still is the fact he’s only walked 4. Pope is familiar with success both by proximity and personal experience. In 2008 as he graduated from High School, he was drafted in the 17th round but opted for Georgia Tech. In ’09 as a freshman in college, he was the schools top closer. Then this past spring as a sophomore, Pope was the second best starter on the team behind only Deck McGuire who was the 11th overall pick of the Toronto Blue Jays in the MLB draft this past June. Pope pumped out a record of 8-1, 3.78. He went for 78.2 innings in which he had a complete game shutout, a save, and 73 strikeouts. This summer he started his first game with 11 strikeouts in 7 shutout innings where he gave up only 2 hits. In his latest start he tripped over his own electric chord and gave up 11 hits in 7 innings. The need for summer ball is similar to the body needing blood and the veins for it to flow through. Things may change all around us, but baseball has its roots deeply grounded in the U.S.
By Adrian Nevarez
DFN Sports Staff Writer