HARWICH ─ Cape Cod Baseball League isn't the only game in town. If you want to catch a game between younger stars on the rise, get yourself to a match featuring the Lower Cape Senior Babe Ruth team and you'll be in for some sweet baseball.
The team, coached by Steve Porter, Michael Porter, and Patrick Watson, is comprised mainly of players from Monomoy and Nauset high schools, with a handful of off-Cape team members rounding out the roster, competing as part of the Cape Cod Babe Ruth program.
“What makes it great is that they can all play together during the summer to extend the baseball season,” said Steve Porter, “on the great fields we have, against competition that's probably varsity all-star caliber.”
Indeed, many of the players are the starters for their respective high school teams, which in the case of Lower Cape includes Owen Cottle, Garrett Sherman, Eli Nickerson, and Christ Amezquita of Monomoy, and JP Dysart and Jesse Frazier of Nauset. Porter said the summer program gives players the chance to continue honing their skills.
“It's a great opportunity for kids to work on things during the summer in games that mean something,” he said. “But they're not as important as high school games so they can work on things they need to improve upon for next spring.”
The Senior Babe Ruth season is just getting started and runs through mid-July, at which point the teams participate in playoffs, hoping to win the championship, which Lower Cape won in 2014.
“We'd love to do so again this year,” said Porter.
Porter said what makes baseball such a popular sport is its simultaneous team and individual dynamic.
“It's one of those sports that's very team oriented, but there's a lot of individualism as well,” he said. “I think it really allows you to really develop yourself not only as an individual, but as a teammate with others.”
Further enhancing the experience, teams often play on the same fields as their Cape League counterparts, including Whitehouse Field in Harwich.
“It's tradition, playing on these Cape fields where guys played that have gone on to become professional baseball players, like Mo Vaughn and Nomar Garciaparra,” Porter said. “It's something that kids dream about and we get to live it here. That in itself is something very special.”
So far this season, Lower Cape has battled Team Cape Cod, which in the Babe Ruth program is made up of the best of the best players, making them very hard to beat. Though Lower Cape lost in both games of a recent double header, their performance in the opening game, led by starting pitcher Cottle, was solid, with the Lower Cape team holding a lead until late in the outing.
Last Friday (June 17) they split a double header with Barnstable, winning the first game 7-2, and falling in the second 12-1. At press time the team was slated to host Martha's Vineyard on Wednesday (6 p.m. at Whitehouse), with another double header set for Friday night against Sandwich, with the first game starting at 5:30 p.m. at Whitehouse Field.
“It's a great experience for the kids,” Porter said.
For a full schedule, rosters, and program information visit capecodbaberuth.com.