They came. They got vaccinated. They played.
This summer the Cape Cod Baseball League faced a challenge it hadn’t seen since World War II: It had to come back and play a season following a summer without baseball.
The Cape’s year-round residents and summer tourists packed the ballparks and the CCBL set new attendance records all summer long, beginning in June when the league’s five opening day crowds drew 10,808 spectators — more than double the 4,828 that attended the 2019 opening day.
As is always the case with the nation’s premier collegiate baseball league, this year’s action was packed with talented prospects that will likely advance to play professional baseball, and some of the brightest stars played in the Lower Cape for the Chatham Anglers, Harwich Mariners and Orleans Firebirds.
Although the league did not play an All-Star Game, it did select All-Star teams, with the Lower Cape’s three teams contributing a combined 14 players. Harwich led the way with nine players selected: catcher Tatem Levins, infielder Brock Wilken, outfielders Pres Cavenaugh and Chris Newell, designated hitter Carter Putz and pitchers Trey Dombroski, Andrew Mosiello, Eric Reyzelman and Owen Coady.
Orleans’ All-Stars included outfielder Chase DeLauter, infielder Peyton Chatagnier and pitchers Hayden Thomas and Nick Wallerstedt. Chatham’s lone All-Star was shortstop Josh Rivera.
Wilken, a third baseman from Wake Forest, ultimately was named the league’s Most Valuable Player, while Dombroski, a left-handed ace for the Mariners’ pitching staff, took home the Most Outstanding Pitcher Award.
DeLauter, from James Madison, received the league’s Robert A. McNeese Outstanding Pro Prospect Award after tying Firebirds teammate Tyler Locklear with a league-best nine home runs.
While none of the Lower Cape’s teams advanced to the championship — Harwich fell to eventual champ Brewster in the East Division championship series — the league’s return to play proved once again how much baseball means to the region.
After a summer of social distancing, we were all grateful to hear “Play Ball!”
Email Brad Joyal at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @BradJoyal