The 2010 Cape League season was a long, wet and tumultuous campaign for John Schiffner's Chatham Anglers. A dismal month of July, in which the Boys in Blue at one time went 3-14 over 17 games, including an eight-game losing streak, was enough to keep the Anglers out of the postseason with a final record of 20-22-2.
But a new season means a fresh chance at a Championship, and some elite talent from across the nation has been recruited -- with several former draftees on the roster who elected to play college ball instead of going pro -- to help Schiffner and his staff garner the club's first division title since 2001.
Familiar to Anglers fans are four names from the 2010 team, with UCLA's Beau Amaral, UNC's Chris Munnelly, Miami's Stephen Perez, and San Jose State's Zack Jones returning to provide a veteran presence to the 2011 arsenal.
New to the friendly confines of Veteran's Field are some hard throwers, heavy hitters and slick defenders, whose performances this past NCAA season should give fans much to be excited about.
Munnelly will be the lone member of the starting rotation with Cape League experience, but newcomers like Florida's Hudson Randall, Wake Forest's Tim Cooney, and Georgia Tech's Buck Farmer will each have opposing hitters questioning their abilities all summer long. The three hurlers combined for a 25-7 record over the course of the 2011 NCAA regular season, with 273.2 total innings, 222 strikeouts, four complete games and a 2.64 ERA.
Complementing those arms will be some talented bats with both high averages and a good amount of power, as well as some speed on the basepaths.
Speed and average are the strong suits of Amaral, Jones and newcomer Tony Renda (California), with a combined average of .322 (175-544), and 21 stolen bases in 29 attempts.
Average and power are the specialties of San Diego's Kris Bryant, Clemson's Richie Shaffer, and Wake Forest's Matt Conway. The three sluggers combined for 25 home runs with 129 runs batted in and a .316 average (182-576).
And waiting in the wings every night, working out of the bullpen, are a few talented arms that will be charged with continuing the momentum of the rotation.
Jones, prolific at the plate, also possesses a solid right arm that picked up ten saves and struck out 53 batters in 43 innings for the Spartans this past season, holding opposing batters to a .200 average. Joining him in the pen will be Louisville's Dace Kime. The 2010 8th round selection of the Pittsburgh Pirates struck out 25 batters in 25 innings of middle relief for the Cardinals, holding opposing batters to a .242 average.
The Boys in Blue will kick off the 2011 campaign on the road, traveling to Cotuit on Friday June 10th to square off against the defending champion Kettleers at Elizabeth Lowell Park in a 5pm start. The first home game of the season will be the following night, as the Anglers host the Wareham Gatemen at Veteran's Field in a 7pm start.
The following afternoon will feature the first of two league-wide scheduled doubleheaders, with Chatham traveling to Falmouth to play a pair with the Commodores in a 4pm start. The following Sunday will feature the second scheduled doubleheader, with the Anglers hosting the Hyannis Mets in a 4pm start.
The annual July 4th home and home series with Orleans will mark the first meetings between the Anglers and Firebirds of the 2011 campaign, with the Independence Day game being held this season at Veteran's Field in a 7pm start. It's the first of three home and home series this season, with Chatham and Harwich playing back to back contests on July 10th and 11th, and another home and home with the Firebirds to end the regular season on August 2nd and 3rd.
We're counting down the days to the start of the 2011 season! Stick with us at www.chathamanglers.com to stay abreast of all the news and updates yet to come in the final days of the offseason!