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Chatham infielders provide versatility, flexibility

by Jesse Dougherty, 06-10-2014

Chatham infielders provide versatility, flexibility

While the Anglers’ infield has yet to fully form in Chatham, the infielders who have arrived are proving to be as shiftable as they are willing to be shifted. 

“The ability to be a utility-type player is very valuable for the Cape Cod League,” Chatham manager John Schiffner said Monday. “You have to keep guys that can play multiple positions and I think it’s the strength of any Cape team to have guys like that.”

Matt Peters (California-Pennsylvania), Blake Butera (Boston College) and Kevin Fagan (Stetson) each displayed a high level of versatility in an array of infield drills during Monday’s practice at Veterans Field. With the Anglers’ Wednesday opener at Orleans drawing closer the team’s infield, along with other facets of the roster, still has time to take its initial shape. 

But even while any semblance of a definitive infield has been brushed aside by the adaptability of its working parts, Schiffner and his staff will have options around the horn. 

“You have to be able to play a lot of spots,” said Butera, who’s returning for a second summer with the Anglers. “We’ll continue to work everywhere and be ready to be plugged in.”

Schiffner mentioned Kal Simmons (Kennesaw State) and Garrett Hampson (Long Beach State) as two infield pieces that have yet to join the team. Until they do, Peters, Butera and Fagan — along with probable first basemen A.J. Murray (Georgia Tech) and Jake Rogers (Johns Hopkins — have been sucking up the infield reps. 

Peters has started at shortstop for California-Pennsylvania for three years now, and was an ABCA Gold Glove Second-Team All-Region selection as a freshman in 2012. He hasn’t finished a collegiate season with a fielding percentage under .950, and made just seven errors this past season. 

He’s a natural shortstop, but said that’s made him comfortable playing in other spots. 

“I think if you play (shortstop) you’re able to move to other spots,” Peters said. “I’ve played second and third too. I’m on a temporary contract right now so I have to be able to do anything.”

Butera has played both second and shortstop for Boston College in three collegiate seasons, and pegged the middle infield as his favorite part of the diamond. He played second and shortstop for the Anglers at the start of last season, and said he’s ready to assume a similar role this season. 

Like Butera, Fagan hasn’t been tied to one position at Stetson. He saw time at second and in the outfield for the Hatters this past season, while even moonlighting on the mound in 28.2 innings of relief work. He hasn’t ran out to shortstop since playing at North Broward Prep School in Boca Raton, Fla., but said he can play there if need be.

Schiffner also said that Fagan could even see the mound for the Anglers once the roster finds a more conclusive form, but he remains an infield option with Peters and Butera as the team readies itself for the Firebirds. 

There’re still pieces to add to the team in the season’s formative days, but the current infield crop is outweighing the three roster spots it fills. 

“It’s important to be confident wherever you’re put on the field,” Fagan said. “I think all the infield guys are.”

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