It's that time of year again, baseball fans. Yes, you guessed it, the Cape Cod Baseball League is back in action as of June 10. As players began arriving early last week, a buzz of excitement began swirling along the base paths at ball fields across the Cape. Here's a look at who will be joining the fray at Chatham, Harwich, and Orleans to get the 2019 season started.
After a stellar 2018 season under the tutelage of new manager Tom Holliday, the Chatham Anglers will once again fight for the opportunity to compete for their first Cape League title since 1998.
Returning to the Anglers lineup will be Spencer Torkelson, who was tied on the CCBL leader boards with seven homers. He'll be joined by Jorge Arenas and Ben Ramirez, as well as Jimmy Titus, a shortstop who was slated to play last season but was sidelined with a torn ACL. Healed and ready to play, he brings a .352 batting average, 10 homers, and 53 RBIs from his junior season with Bryant to the Chatham squad.
Joining the returnees will be Alejandro Toral and Miami teammate Freddy Zamora, both of whom bring solid hitting, with Zamora a strong infielder. On the mound for the Anglers will be DJ Dabovich of Arizona State, as well as Asa Lacy of Texas A&M.
Harwich fans will welcome longtime manager Steve Englert back to the Cape for his 23rd season with the Mariners, with the head coach overseeing an almost entirely new set of players. His lone returnee will be pitcher Austin Wood.
Notable newcomers include Garrett Crochet of Tennessee, rumored to be one to watch on the pitching mound this summer. Joining Crochet in the bullpen will be Logan Allen of Florida International University and Jared Wetherbee of Elon.
Chris Lanzilli of Wake Forest has been in the top five in home runs in the Atlantic Coast Conference, while Dylan Nuese of Texas Tech is one of his school's best hitters, which should provide a big boost for the Harwich team.
After missing out on the postseason by one point in 2018, the Orleans Firebirds will be aiming not only for a spot in the playoffs but a League championship. Returning as manager for his 15th season will be Kelly Nicholson.
Returning players include southpaw Andrew Abbott of Virginia, who boasted a 1.73 ERA, joined by Philip Clarke and Pat DeMarco, both of Vanderbilt, along with infielder Eddie McCabe who makes his return after one game with the Firebirds in 2018.
Newcomers to the team include Shane McGuire of San Diego, Tanner Murray of UC Davis, Josh Zamora of Nevada-Reno, and Garrett Mitchell of UCLA, as well as Kumar Rocker (Vanderbilt), JT Ginn of Mississippi State, and Nick Frasso of Loyola Marymount.
On opening day next Monday, Chatham will travel to Hyannis for a 6 p.m. start, while the Mariners head off to Falmouth, also at 6 p.m. The Firebirds are at home at 7 p.m.