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Chatham, Mass. — The Friendly’s Cape League All-Star Game returns to Chatham this year for the first time since 2008, when the East defeated the West after rallying from a five-run deficit in the eighth inning. A contest that saw a momentous comeback, a three-run homerun by a Chatham A, and a trio of streakers sprint across the outfield, the 2008 All-Star Game was one to remember.
In 2016, three Anglers will do their best to make the experience an unforgettable one as Isaac Mattson, Gunnar Troutwine, and Patrick Mathis were all selected to participate in Saturday’s festivities. Mattson and Troutwine were both selected as All-Stars while Mathis was chosen to showcase his bat in the Home Run Hitting Contest.
“I’m just very thankful,” said Mattson, a reliever from the University of Pittsburgh. “To come here and play in a league like this with a bunch of talented guys [and] to be recognized as a top guy, it’s definitely a humbling moment.”
Mattson was selected as one of the league’s best relief pitchers because of his stingy 1.52 ERA – the lowest of any Chatham pitcher who has thrown over 10 innings. The right-hander has been the best pitcher for the Anglers this season in any capacity, striking out 20 batters while allowing four runs en route to a 2-1 record on the summer.
Selected as one of the league’s best catchers, Troutwine, who is currently fourth on Chatham in batting average at .258, is looking forward to all that his first All-Star Game experience brings.
“It’s kind of cool, I get to meet a couple different guys from some other teams and hangout with Pat [Mathis] in the Home Run Derby,” said Troutwine, grinning from ear to ear. “Hopefully I catch Isaac on the back of the game, or something like that. It’s going to be awesome.”
John Schiffner and the rest of the CCBL’s managers convened at Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School – home to Red Wilson Field and the Y-D Red Sox – in mid-July to select which players would represent their respective teams on arguably the league’s most public stage. When it came to Chatham’s two All-Stars, Schiffner spoke at length of Mattson’s and Troutwine’s accolades, depicting the almost obvious nature of their selections.
“Going into the voting, Isaac had a .093 ERA with a bunch of strikeouts and hardly any walks or base hits,” said Schiffner. “And Trout is obviously one of the better catchers in the league and he’s earned that spot.”
An hour before the 2016 All-Star Game gets underway, Patrick Mathis will try to please the home crowd by participating in the Home Run Hitting Contest.
A slugger from the University of Texas, Mathis has to be at the forefront of every conversation about power hitters on the Anglers. Four of Mathis’s 23 at-bats have gone for homeruns this summer, most recently in Chatham’s 2-1 win over Cotuit.
Playing at his home diamond on Cape Cod, Mathis has an advantage over his opponents. One of four lefties in the contest, Mathis strategy is to take advantage of Chatham’s short right field fence – one that stretches a mere 314 feet away from the plate.
“314 and try to yank every ball down that line,” laughed Mathis when asked about how he is going to approach the contest. “Take advantage of the home park and pull with a short porch.”
The Texas outfielder is currently tied for fourth in the league in long balls while an opponent of his, Colton Shaver of Wareham, leads the league with seven. Competing alongside Mathis and Shaver will be Drew Lugbauer (Orleans), Ryan Noda (Brewster), Danny Reyes (Bourne), and Kameron Esthay (Hyannis).
With the 2016 season quickly drawing to a close, the All-Star game allows players to reflect on their time spent in the CCBL and on their lives on the diamond.
“It’s baseball, whether I’m 12 years old and it’s my buddies from my home town or Cal Ripken League or up here in the Cape, it’s baseball,” said Mattson. “It’s what I love to do. It’s a little bit different [being a Cape League All-Star] but at the end of the day it’s just a lot of fun to be out here.”