Preseason Countdown No. 7: Top Summer Performers

As the cold days of winter give way to a new season of baseball for the Dirty Terps, we look back to warmer times and some standout performances from Terps in their respective summer leagues.

There was no better player in the Cape Cod Baseball League than Matt Shaw. The junior from Massachusetts was named the 2022 Cape Cod League MVP and helped lead the Bourne Braves to a 23-14 record, the best in the league, and their second championship in franchise history. 

Shaw was a statistical monster. He led the league in batting average and finished top five in hits, doubles, triples, home runs, RBI’s, and OBP. “He’s a special player,” said Braves head coach Scott Landers, “He comes to play everyday, and he wants to get better.” 

Shaw, ever the workhorse, stayed humble, “I think it’s just about sticking with an approach… Just sitting on the right pitches, and having a plan up at the plate every at-bat.” This plan helped Shaw become the first player in the CCBL since 2011 to hit for the cycle when he did so in an 8-1 win vs Hyannis.

What seems normal to Shaw is remarkable to others. “What’s really stood out to me about him is the routines he brings every single day,” said Braves coach Kevin Kelley, “A lot of kids his age don’t really have that routine when he comes to the ballpark, but he knows exactly how to prepare himself.”

All of Shaw’s hard work seemed to pan out as he went three for five with a home run and two RBI’s in the title-clinching game for the Braves.

Joining Shaw in Bourne was Nigel Belgrave, the right-handed pitcher from the Terps bullpen. In his first three outings of the season for the Braves, Belgrave allowed just one hit. Early on in a game against the Orleans Firebirds, he retired six batters in a row, four by way of strikeout, to end the game

Working mainly as a relief pitcher/closer, Belgrave appeared in 11 games, the most of any pitcher on the team. In those 11 games, he recorded 14.1 innings pitched with 10 Ks earning him a 3.14 ERA. His 3-0 record and three saves ranked first and second on the team, respectively.

Luke Shliger, Maryland’s slashing catcher, also played in the Cape for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox. Shliger was named a starter for the east division in the CCBL All-Star Game. His .273 batting average and .299 OBP were both top five on the Red Sox.

Locally, several Terps competed in the Cal Ripken Collegiate League including Andrew Johnson and Sean Lane. Johnson and Lane both played for the Bethesda Big Train who had a league best 26-10 record. 

In seven appearances, Johnson pitched 12.2 innings accumulating a 2-1 record, a 3.55 ERA and a team best 19.18 K/9 ratio. Lane saw the most action of the two appearing in 31 games where he logged 19 hits. His 22 RBIs and 24 BBs were both second best on the team.

Other league champions include Ian Petrutz and Ryan Van Buren who played for the Amsterdam Mohawks of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League.

In six appearances, Van Buren had a 2.70 ERA with 7 Ks. Petrutz had a solid regular season. Playing 31 games, he batted .277 with 13 RBIs, 20 BBs and nine stolen bases. The playoffs were where he really exploded, boosting his batting average to .571 with one home run and three RBIs, one of which came in a 5-3 win to send Amsterdam to the championship series.

The sole Terp playing in the Futures Baseball League, Zach Martin became an FBL champion after 25 games where he batted .256 with 19 RBIs.

Coming off great summer league performances, head coach Rob Vaughn is certainly hoping that his stars can carry over their fair weather success into the cold months of February when the Terps will once again be a top-25 team.