Wednesday night brought me to Harwich for an opening day makeup/2008 championship rematch between Harwich and Cotuit. While very few players remained from last year, Cotuit exacted some revenge for last year's sweep with a 7-0 victory.
There was only one major league scout in attendance even though there was only one other game last night, but there were a couple notable Major League ties to the game.
Cotuit manager Mike Roberts, father of Baltimore second baseman Brian Roberts, showed his propensity for being aggressive on the bases. Cotuit stole six bases, was caught three other times, and successfully pulled off a safety squeeze.
More interestingly, Cotuit leftfielder Cory Vaughn, son of former Major Leaguer Greg Vaughn, was the offensive hero for the Kettleers. The San Diego State Aztec was 1-for-13 coming into the game but went 3-for-4 and crushed a grand slam into the woods well beyond the left field fence. Vaughn is big (6'3" 225) and athletic, and was probably the most talented player on the field Wednesday. He's a bit of a free swinger, and has struck out 7 times in his first 17 at-bats, but he swings hard and has some tools.
Cotuit's right-handed starter Brandon Cumpton from Georgia Tech shares Player of the Game honors with Vaughn. Cumpton is just average height and has a thin frame at 6'1 190, but he has smooth mechanics and good arm action and he was able to run his fastball up to 93 mph. Cumpton's heater sat in the 91-93 range, and he was still throwing it by hitters late in his eight-inning no-run, three-hit performance. Cumpton also showed a good 74 mph curveball and a decent 80-83 mph changeup that he tended to float up in the zone but he could also throw for strikes.
Cotuit's Rico Noel also had a huge game. The diminuitive (5'9 165) second baseman from Coastal Carolina did a little bit of everything. He went 3-for-4, turned on a fastball for a deep home run to left-center, stole three bases including one steal of third and made a very athletic turn on a double play with a runner bearing down on him. If scouts are not turned off by his size, they'll see pretty clearly that he can play.
Cotuit also had three other players who showed some pop during batting practice. Riley Cooper, who was just selected in the 25th round of the 2009 MLB draft by Texas, and who played wide receiver for the University of Florida's football team, drove the ball with a power hitter's slight uppercut swing. He struggled against live hitting though and went 0-for-3 with a walk out of the No. 9 hole in the game.
Kevin Patterson from Auburn, an All-Star for Cotuit last summer who was just getting the day off, and Devin Harris from East Carolina, an 8th round pick by Baltimore, both showed home run power during BP but didn't play in the game.
Right-handed reliever Brian Dupra from Notre Dame was the main standout for Harwich. Dupra was a Cape League All-Star last summer. He had good command of a 92-93 mph fastball, and threw a very good 78-80 mph curveball with tight downward break and late life. He also showed an occasional 84 mph changeup. Dupra has good size at 6'3" 205, but he has some effort in his delivery as he speeds up his body late in his motion and tends to throw across his body. He also falls off the mound toward first base. With some tightening of his mechanics, Dupra could be very good.
Harwich second baseman Chris Wade from the University of Kentucky, an 11th round pick of the Florida Marlins, also played well, smoking a triple over the centerfielder's head with his smooth righthanded swing, and also made two tremendous diving stops on hard hit ground balls up the middle.
AROUND THE LEAGUE
Chatham 5 Wareham 4 10 innings: Pinch runner Brian Harris from Vanderbilt scored the winning run for Chatham on a passed ball as the Anglers improved to 4-1 on the year. Second baseman Tom Belza from Oklahoma State went 2-for-4 and designated hitter Nick Schwaner, a 42nd round pick of San Francisco, from New Orleans went 2-for-5 for Chatham. Designated hitter Chris Hannick from Cal St. Northridge went 2-for-4 with 3 RBIs for Wareham.