Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox & Santa Barbara Foresters: Leading the Summer Charts
Two teams from different coasts are riding the top of the PG Cross Checker charts so far this summer. Out of the 30 teams ranked, the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox of the Cape Cod League sits at #1, and the Santa Barbara Foresters are at #2.
Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox
The Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox have won 5 of their last 6 games, and since their league rivals the Brewster White Caps have lost 5 of their last 6, the Red Sox have been able to climb in the charts. The key to the Red Sox success has been an offense that is the 2nd best in the league. As a team they are batting .256, but they lead the league in runs scored (165), doubles (55), homeruns (17), RBI’s, (135), on base percentage (.329), and slugging (.344). Their record of 21-12 is deceiving, but it shows exactly how tough the Cape Cod League is. Six of the 10 teams in the league have a team ERA of less than 3 points, and not one team has averaged more than 3.9 runs per game. At centerfield and leading off for the Red Sox is Caleb Ramsey. Leading the team in hitting (.317), runs scored (22), hits (40), and stolen bases (16), Ramsey is the explosive spark that is crucial at the top of the lineup. He’s hit .400 (14 for 35) in his last 10 games, he’s only made 1 error, and has thrown out 5 runners from the outfield. At 6’3/200, Ramsey proved that he’s a real offensive threat. As a junior at the University of Houston, Ramsey hit .341 and led the team with 14 doubles, hitting 3 homeruns, 40 RBI’s, and stole 10 bases. Last spring at the Conference USA Championships, hitting in the 3 rd slot against Southern Mississippi, Ramsey went 2 for 4 with two runs scored and another one driven in.
The Red Sox also have a big run producer on the squad. First baseman Jordan Ribera is leading the charge with some big slugging. He leads the team with 6 homeruns, 18 RBI’s, and a slugging percentage of .463. As the Red Sox cleanup hitter, Ribera is only hitting .240, but in his last ten games he’s hitting .360 (12 for 33), hitting 4 of his 6 homeruns and driving in 6 runs. This past spring he was a junior at Fresno State where he hit .343 and led his team with 27 homeruns, 69 RBI’s, and a.761 slugging percentage. Despite Fresno State falling to Hawaii in the WAC Championships, Ribera was a major force hitting .430 (9 for 21), scoring 6 runs, and driving in 5. Together, Ramsey and Ribera are the pistons of the Red Sox offense in a league that will not be easy to dominate as we enter the final 9 games of the summer.
Santa Barbara Foresters
The Santa Barbara Foresters went on a 15 game winning streak before losing 2 games to a talented San Luis Obispo Blues club. They followed up by winning their next 3 games and now sit at the helm of the league with a record of 24-7. The Foresters dominate the league in both hitting and pitching without any team coming close to their supremacy. Nick Melino leads the team with a .366 batting average, 35 runs, and 52 hits. Both his on base percentage (.459) and slugging (.563) make him the most intriguing figure on the offensive side of the club. He has 5 homeruns, and 25 RBI’s, but has enough speed to steal 10 bases and be the team’s leadoff hitter whether he’s playing right field, the DH, or alternating as a catcher. Melino hit .310 (12 for 39) in his last ten games where he scored 5 runs, hit 2 homeruns, and drove in 7. This past spring at the University of Nevada, Melino was a sophomore that led his school with a batting average of .388, and an overwhelmingly decisive .503 on base percentage in 152 at bats. Just like he’s showing this summer as a Forester, Melino showed he can reach the fences as well. He hit 7 homeruns at Nevada with a slugging percentage of .625 making him a need to watch player this summer and next spring as well.
Jeff McVaney is playing mostly leftfield for the Foresters this summer, and he’s also filling in the meatiest part of the lineup. Alternating from the cleanup spot and at times the 5th spot, McVaney is hitting .331 and leads the team with 12 doubles, 6 triples, and 29 RBI’s. Without a single homerun to claim this summer, McVaney remains strong and relevant in the teams scoring abilities. He has 46 hits, scored 28 runs, and has surprise people with 10 stolen bases. At 6’2/210, McVaney has slowed down in his last 10 games and has hit only .430 (9 for 21), but in his ten games before that, McVaney was the terror of the California League. He hit .370 (16 for 43) with 8 runs scored and 13 RBI’s in that stretch. This past spring, McVaney was a sophomore at Texas State where he helped his school towards one game from winning the Southland Conference Tournament. In that season, McVaney hit .350 with 10 homeruns and 44 RBI’s. His slugging was the highest on the team (.633), and in the tournament McVaney was the turbine that hauled more power and steam than a charcoal driven power plant. He hit .730 (16for22) scored 5 runs and drove in 10. With his team facing early elimination, McVaney was unstoppable and even had a 2 for 5 game against UT Arlington where he hit crushed 2 homeruns.
On the pitching side of the Foresters equation, Chris Joyce has been the biggest amazement of the summer. Joyce has been simply tyrannical on league hitters, and his 5-0 record does not tell the entire story. He’s pitched 46 innings in 8 starts and his ERA of 1.57 has not touched a point higher all summer. Joyce has struck out 61 batters and in total; hitters are only hitting .163 against him. In his last start against the Blues, Joyce totaled 6.1 innings of work and as he scattered 6 almost harmless hits, only 1 run crossed the plate and 9 batters went down on strikes. The only hitches in that game were the 5 uncharacteristic walks he relinquished. This past spring Joyce enjoyed a successful campaign at Central Arizona CC. That team was the NJCAA Western District runner up, and Joyce’s 12-3 record and 2.35 ERA after 91.2 innings in18 games were one of the main reasons that there was so much winning going on over there. He struck out 95 batters and only allowed 73 hits that season, and as a Forester in the 2010 summer, Joyce is continuing to show progress and triumph.
By Adrian Nevarez
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