The Beach Times

A Look at the 2021 Cape Cod Baseball League Season
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Tuesday, July 27, 2021

After missing the 2020 season because of the CoViD-19 pandemic, the Cape Cod Baseball League is back in full swing in 2021.

The league sees some of college baseball's finest players head to the Cape for the summer, where they compete for ten local teams. Cape Cod residents and visitors love this league because it provides high-quality baseball action and gives an early glimpse at some of the next stars to hit the Major Leagues.

All Cape Cod League games are free to attend and take place in Brewster, Harwich, Yarmouth, Orleans, Chatham, Bourne, Falmouth, Cotuit, and Hyannis. There's also an off-Cape team in Wareham.

Here's a look at what has been happening during the 2021 season and what you can expect if you can check out a game on your Cape Cod vacation.

The Standings

Thus far, three teams are dominating the Cape Cod Baseball League: the Brewster Whitecaps, Harwich Mariners, and Bourne Braves. No other squads are above .500, so it looks like the battle for the league championship will come down to those teams.

The Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox, Orleans Firebirds, Falmouth Commodores, and Cotuit Kettleers are competitive, too, while the Chatham Anglers, Wareham Gatemen, and Hyannis Harbor Hawks have struggled.

The playoffs get underway on August 6 and should provide a highly entertaining conclusion to the season.

Stand-Out Players

A few players are lighting it up for their respective Cape Cod League teams in 2021, starting with Tyler Locklear of the Orleans Firebirds.

Locklear is a 20-year-old infielder from Abingdon, Maryland, who's going into his junior season at Virginia Commonwealth University. Although he's hitting just .233 on the season, he leads the league in home runs, with nine, and RBIs, with 26, in only 103 at-bats. Scouts have surely taken notice of Locklear's power numbers this season, and he's a name worth watching in the future.

Brock Wilken just turned 19 in June, but he's having a fantastic season for the Harwich Mariners of the Cape Cod Baseball League. Wilken, who plays both third base and catcher, will begin his sophomore season at Wake Forest in the fall, and he'll be getting significant attention from scouts thanks mainly to his hitting ability. On the season, Wilken is hitting .321 with six home runs and 24 RBIs. These numbers put him in the top four of every major offensive category and give him a realistic shot at a triple crown if he gets hot over the last few games of the season.

On the other side of the ball, two names worth watching are Bryce Hubbart and Trey Dombroski, two southpaws that have been nearly unhittable this season.

Hubbart, a junior at Florida State University, is sporting a 3-1 record with a league-leading 45 strikeouts. He also has a 0.87 ERA on the season. He has surrendered only 14 hits in his 31 innings pitched, as well.

Dombroski, a junior from Monmouth University, has started and come out of the bullpen in relief this season for the Harwich Mariners. He has a 2-0 record with an impressive 38 strikeouts in just 24.2 innings and has shown excellent control by only walking a single batter.

Adam Mazur and his sparkling 0.38 ERA are also worth keeping an eye on as he competes for the Wareham Gatemen. Mazur is a sophomore with South Dakota State University and is 2-0 on the season.

There are stand-out players every season on Cape Cod who end up improving their draft positions through their performances, making themselves a lot of money in the process.

What's Next?

Even if you don't get out to a Cape Cod Baseball League game this season, you can expect similar performances by next year's crop of college players, too. This league attracts some of the best young baseball players in the country each summer, giving locals and visitors alike the opportunity to experience something special whenever they attend a game.

Past Cape Cod Baseball League players include Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Frank Thomas, and Carlton Fisk, all of whom are honored in Cooperstown. Nomar Garciaparra, Jason Varitek, Aaron Judge, and Thurman Munson offer a small sample of the league's other notable alumni.

In addition, roughly one in seven MLB players goes through the Cape Cod Baseball League, and some seasons see Cape Cod League alumni account for about a third of all first-round picks in the MLB draft.

This league is something special, and it's truly worth checking out a game or two on your Cape Cod vacation because you never know who you'll get to see in action.

Cape Cod Baseball

From Centerville to the Major Leagues: The History of Barnstable Bat Company
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, December 23, 2019

Barnstable Bat company

Do you want to take a small piece of Cape Cod home with you from your vacation?

One option is picking up a souvenir from Barnstable Bat Company, which makes both novelty bats and game-quality items that you can use in your baseball league at home.

In fact, many players in the Cape Cod Baseball League currently use these bats, and they have even made appearances in the Major Leagues over the years, making them one of the Cape's most famous exports.

Here's what you should know about the history of Barnstable Bat Company and the products available at its reclusive Centerville location.

The Beginnings

Barnstable Bat Company opened its doors back in 1992 when Tom Bednark decided to combine his love of baseball with his woodworking skills. A custom woodworker by trade, Bednark was taking in a Cape Cod Baseball League game one day when he declared that he would begin making and selling bats of his own.

When first getting started, Bednark exclusively made novelty bats and faced a bit of a learning curve. Over time, he improved his novelty bat creations, leading to players in the Cape Cod League asking if he'd consider making real bats for them. At that time, Bednark shifted his focus and hasn't looked back since.

Bednark believes that he can get higher quality wood than some of the larger manufacturers in the United States because he needs less material for his relatively small operation.

Within a few years, Bednark's bats had exploded in popularity, partially due to John Petkey winning the Cape League's batting title in 1994 while using one.

The evolution of Barnstable Bat Company didn't stop there, however, as it would rapidly reach heights that Bednark would never have expected.

Bats in the Major Leagues

Word of Barnstable Bat Company got around quickly, to the point where Major Leaguers started using them in 1995. Supplying bats for Major League Baseball is an exclusive club, as only 13 companies have ever received approval. Bednark was able to gain permission, however, leading to even more notoriety for his creations.

At its peak, Barnstable Bat Company was supplying bats to about 250 Major League players in any given year. In fact, well-known players like Manny Ramirez, Mo Vaughn, and Jose Canseco used Barnstable Bats at one point or another, and Geronimo Berroa hit 36 home runs using Bednark's products in 1996.

By 2002, however, it was no longer financially viable for Barnstable Bat Company to continue selling bats at the Major League level because the insurance costs became prohibitive. Bednark reports that liability insurance alone is $100,000 per year, and since Bednark makes every bat himself, it would be challenging to sell enough bats to keep up.

Bats Currently Available

Today, Bednark manufactures about 10,000 bats per year with his computerized lathe. All he has to do is load up a piece of wood, and the machinery takes care of the rest, ensuring that he makes every item to the exact specifications. The machine can make about 40 bats per hour, so he's able to turn out a lot of products on any given day.

Bednark makes most of his inventory for the Cape Cod League and little leagues around the country that use wooden bats, with many of the company's sales coming from places like Texas, Florida, and California. These items are also popular with softball and other recreational adult leagues.

Wood types used by Barnstable Bat Company include ash, maple, and birch, with fungo bats, youth bats, pony bats, softball bats, and tee-ball bats also being available.

If you have a special event that you'd like to commemorate, Barnstable Bat Company will engrave a custom bat for you, too. Customers commonly use these custom bats for birth announcements, but you can have them customized in a variety of different ways.

You'll likely have to order your custom bat before leaving on your Cape Cod vacation to ensure that Bednark can complete it on time.

Visiting Barnstable Bat Company

If you want to visit Barnstable Bat Company during your time on Cape Cod, you'll first have to find the place. You see, despite the business' success, the Bednarks run the company out of the walk-out basement of their house in Centerville.

The house is just north of Wequaquet Lake on Pleasant Pines Avenue. You can get there by exiting the Mid-Cape Highway onto Iyannough Road and then taking a right on Huckins Neck Road. You'll then take another right onto Pleasant Pines and find the home on the right-hand side.

When you get there, follow the long driveway around the back of the building and park near the blue shop. There's a sign marking the entrance of Barnstable Bat Company.

On most days, the company will have about 300 bats in stock, so you'll have a significant amount of inventory from which to choose. You can also pre-order bats on their website and pick them up during your time on the Cape.

Call Barnstable Bat Company ahead of time to make sure they're open before your arrival. If you're a baseball lover, you won't want anything to prevent you from visiting this Cape Cod institution.

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