Mariners Slugger Anderson Among Cape League’s Best

by Brad Joyal

FALMOUTH – One of the Cape Cod Baseball League’s biggest bats resides in Harwich.

University of Rhode Island first baseman Michael Anderson has been one of the best hitters in the nation’s top collegiate summer baseball league this summer while hitting cleanup for the Harwich Mariners.

“He can hit,” longtime Harwich manager Steve Englert said. “He has a great approach, he takes what’s given to him and he goes with it. He doesn’t try to do too much, and good things are happening for him. He has a plan and he’s executing it.”

Despite nearly a month off between the end of his URI season and the start of the Cape League, the 6-foot-3, 230-pound Anderson arrived in Harwich in a groove at the plate. After hitting .252 with 13 home runs and 41 RBIs for the Rams, Anderson has looked right at home while using a wooden bat against some of the country’s top collegiate pitching prospects.

He ranks at or near the top of most of the league’s hitting categories, including hits (13, first), batting average (.464, first), home runs (3, tied for first), RBIs (11, second), slugging percentage (.893, first), and OPS (1.409, first).

“It’s awesome,” said Anderson, a native of Havertown, Pa. “I’m just going up there with a plan and sticking to it. Whatever happens from there, happens.”

Englert said Anderson came to the Mariners with high praise after hitting .244 last summer for the Newport Gulls in the New England Collegiate Baseball League.

“I heard great things about his character from his summer coach last year, and a lot of people that I know know of him,” the skipper said. “He hit the ground running. He’s a hard-working kid and he works on his craft and takes pride in his craft. It’s paying off for him.”

Affectionately referred to as “Big Mike” by his Mariners teammates, Anderson has been a driving force behind Harwich’s 6-3 start.

He’s helped put games away and has delivered in the clutch, including Sunday night when he hit a solo home run to the opposite field that gave the Mariner’s a 7-5 lead in the seventh inning en route to a 10-8 win at Falmouth.

Anderson said he arrived on the Cape polished after a month training at Ascent Athlete near his home in Pennsylvania, and he added that he feeds off the success of his teammates.

“When my teammates are doing good, it’s really fun and everything becomes a lot easier,” he said. “Hard work and preparation is also a huge thing that I did during the offseason, going to Ascent Athlete every day to train with some of my best friends and college athletes and sometimes even pro or high school guys that have the same goal in mind to work hard every day.”

As much success as Anderson has had in the batter’s box, he’s also doing his best to enjoy his Cape experience away from the ballpark.

“We actually went to the beach with all of the guys,” he said about a recent off day. “You can’t really go in the water that deep compared to where I go at the Jersey Shore, but it’s a good time.”

Still, despite his individual success and accolades — Anderson was named one of the Cape League’s Players of the Week for June 15-21 — the hard-hitting first baseman’s top priority is helping the Mariners return to the East Division playoffs.

“It’s been awesome,” he said. “Winning baseball games is obviously the goal.”