Summer Ball Update 7/20/17: Dunn heating up on Cape, Terps continue to shine in Ripken League

As the end of July draws near, many summer leagues around the country are heading into the homestretch. Let’s check in on how Terps are doing for their various summer teams.

After a slow start, second baseman Nick Dunn is heating up in his second season with the Cape Cod League’s Brewster Whitecaps. A Cape All-Star in 2016, Dunn didn’t receive the same honors this season, but the rising junior is in the midst of an eight-game hitting streak. Over that stretch, he has recorded four multi-hit efforts and six RBIs to raise his season average to .306, the second-best mark on the Whitecaps. His Maryland and Brewster teammate, Marty Costes, has not enjoyed the same summer success, as the outfielder’s average hovers around the Mendoza line, but he does have four homers, including a go-ahead three-run shot Sunday, and ranks second on the team in RBIs (15).

Elsewhere on the Cape, a pair of Terps hurlers have had up-and-down summers so far. Left-hander Tyler Blohm, coming off a Freshman All-American campaign, owns a 5.68 ERA in five outings (four starts) for the Falmouth Commodores. Right-hander Hunter Parsons hasn’t fared much better, with a 7.36 ERA in eight relief appearances, but he does have a respectable 1.23 WHIP and an 11.4 K/9 rate.

Locally in the Cal Ripken League, a pair of Terps continue to rake for the league-leading Bethesda Big Train. Outfielder Zach Jancarski ranks third in the league with a .363 average, and has 14 stolen bases, 21 runs scored and three homers in 24 games played. Catcher Justin Morris has been equally impressive at the plate, hitting .328 with three homers and 12 RBIs in 18 games. On the mound for Bethesda, John Murphy has a 3.68 ERA in six appearances (five starts), with 24 strikeouts in 22 innings of work, while left-hander Zach Guth has given up four earned runs in two innings this season.

The CRCBL North Division-leading Baltimore Redbirds have gotten a huge boost offensively from outfielder Randy Bednar. The incoming freshman ranks in the top ten in the league in average (.337), homers (5), RBIs (24) and OPS (.994), and has hits in five of his last six contests. His Redbird teammate, infielder AJ Lee, has awakened after an early-season slump, collecting five multi-hit games in his last seven contests to raise his batting average to .245. He continues to be a threat on the bases, currently sitting third on the team with 11 steals.

A pair of Terps pitchers on the Redbirds, Mike Vasturia and Jon Dignazio, have also taken steps in the right direction after rough starts to the season. Vasturia has posted back-to-back scoreless outings, lowering his ERA to 5.40, while posting more than one strikeout per inning. Dignazio’s ERA is still a lofty 6.96, and the left-hander has 17 walks in 10.1 innings, but he did record a scoreless inning with two strikeouts in his last appearance.

With the Ripken League’s Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts, incoming freshman Tommy Gardiner continues to hit, with a .306 average. Fellow incoming freshman Richie Schiekofer has not enjoyed the same success, as he is mired in a 3-for-20 slump, dipping his average to .216.

Up north in Ontario, Kevin Biondic has played in 31 games for the Northwoods League’s Thunder Bay Border Cats. A first baseman by trade, he is slashing .242/.384/.364 in 99 at-bats, but has also seen time on the mound, getting a start and tossing four shutout innings with three strikeouts July 11 against Rochester.

Summer Ball Update 7/11/17: Four Terps make Ripken League All-Star squad

As the calendar approaches the middle of July, many Terps are in the midst of fine summer campaigns, including four who earned Cal Ripken League All-Star honors this week. Here’s a rundown of how different Terps are doing around the country.

We’ll start in the Cape Cod League, where left-hander Tyler Blohm has made four appearances, including three starts, for the Falmouth Commodores, pitching to a 4.50 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 16 frames. Fellow Terp pitcher Hunter Parsons has struggled in limited appearances for the Cape’s Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox. The rising junior right-hander has made six appearances, all in relief, allowing four earned runs in 5.1 innings, but picking up six strikeouts along the way.

Outfielder Marty Costes and second baseman Nick Dunn have not yet found their rhythms at the plate with the Brewster Whitecaps. Dunn, a 2016 CCBL All-Star for the Whitecaps, is fourth on the team in at-bats (59), but owns a .237 batting average and just three extra-base hits. Costes is hovering around the Mendoza line, hitting just .200, but has still shown strong plate discipline (.373 OBP) and ranks third on the Whitecaps with three homers.

Locally, pitcher John Murphy, catcher Justin Morris, and outfielders Zach Jancarski and Randy Bednar represented Maryland in the Cal Ripken League All-Star Game Monday. Murphy (Bethesda Big Train) pitched a scoreless inning, and owns a 3.31 ERA over five appearances (19 innings) this summer. Morris, who is hitting .347 with three homers and 12 RBIs in 15 contests for the Big Train this summer, walked in his only All-Star Game plate appearance, and threw out two runners from behind the dish. Jancarski leads the Big Train with a .385 average and .512 on-base percentage, and ranks third on the team with 10 stolen bases. Bednar, an incoming freshman, paces the Baltimore Redbirds with three long balls, and his .329 average is the second-best mark on the squad.

Elsewhere in the Ripken League, AJ Lee has heated up after a slow start for the Redbirds. The Maryland third baseman is hitting just .200 on the season, but has three multi-hit contests over his last five games. His Redbird teammates, Mike Vasturia and Jon Dignazio, have not fared as well on the mound. Vasturia has a 7.36 ERA in 11 innings out of the bullpen, but that mark is inflated by a couple rough outings, as the right-hander has given up one run or less in four of his six outings. Dignazio, a southpaw, owns a similar 7.44 ERA in 9.2 innings, and while his 15 walks are worrisome, he has whiffed 12 batters.

A pair of incoming freshmen have impressed with the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts. Infielder Tommy Gardiner‘s .351 batting average is second on the team, and he has been especially hot of late, collecting multiple hits in three of his last four games. His teammate, outfielder Richie Schiekofer, is hitting .242 in 11 games, but has come up big this season, collecting a walk0ff hit against Rockville in late June. Senior outfielder Will Watson has made just one appearance for the T-Bolts, going 0-for-3.

Left-hander Zach Guth has made three appearances for the Big Train, allowing four runs (all earned) over two innings of work.

With the Amsterdam Mohawks of the Perfect Game League, catcher Danny Maynard maintains a .309 average with two homers and 11 RBIs in 18 contests. Right-hander Cameron Enck owns a 2.70 ERA in six contests for the New England Collegiate Baseball League’s Newport Gulls. Enck has struck out 16 and walked just five in 20 innings of work this summer.

North of the border, first baseman Kevin Biondic is hitting .247 in 27 games for the Northwoods League’s Thunder Bay Border Cats. The rising senior has launched three homers and driven in 15, and has more walks (14) than strikeouts (13) this summer.

Summer Ball Update 6/26/2017: Dunn, Jancarski among Terps enjoying summer success

2017 summer ball is underway all throughout the country and many Terps are off to hot starts. Let’s check in and see how the Terrapins are doing.

Four Terps are in the Cape Cod League: two on the Brewster Whitecaps, one on the Falmouth Commodores and one on the reigning league champion Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox. In Brewster, second baseman Nick Dunn is off to a hot start, hitting .296 with eight hits, the third most on the team. Dunn is looking to replicate his successful 2016 summer in which he was named to the Cape Cod League All-Star roster. His Whitecaps teammate, fellow Terp Marty Costes, is just 4-of-19 with six strikeouts, but his power stroke is still working. He picked up where he left off in Maryland, belting two early home runs on the Cape, including a walkoff homer Sunday against Bourne. Costes’ seven homers last summer led Maryland players in summer ball action.

Elsewhere in the Cape, sophomore left-handed pitcher Tyler Blohm has made a start and a relief appearance for Falmouth. In his summer debut, Blohm walked two and allowed a run in three innings of relief. In his lone start, the southpaw struck out seven in five innings, allowing two runs and earning the win. Hunter Parsons, the 2016 Cal Ripken League Pitcher of the Year, allowed four runs in his season debut for the Y-D Red Sox, a loss, but picked up the win in his second relief appearance after tossing a scoreless inning.

In the local Cal Ripken League, Zach Jancarski‘s bat remains hot with the Bethesda Big Train. The Terps leadoff hitter and center fielder is hitting .379 in eight games, including a leadoff home run in his first at-bat of the summer. Justin Morris‘ first hit of the summer was also a home run – the Terps catcher hit a grand slam on Father’s Day for Big Train, and is hitting .375 in eight contests.

Jancarski and Morris are joined in Bethesda by a pair of Terps arms: John Murphy and Zach Guth. Murphy, one of former head coach John Szefc’s favorite bullpen weapons, has a 3.00 ERA in three starts. With Brian Shaffer and Ryan Selmer departing for pro ball, Murphy is primed for an even larger role on the Maryland pitching staff next spring. Guth has allowed four earned runs in two innings of work.

Elsewhere in the Ripken League, the Baltimore Redbirds have benefited from incoming freshman Randy Bednar‘s bat and arm. The outfielder is hitting .290 with a team-high two home runs and pitched two scoreless innings in Baltimore’s 11-3 blowout over Rockville on June 18. However, it has not been an easy summer so far for AJ Lee, Maryland’s fourth-leading hitter in 2017. The Terps third baseman is hitting just .132 with 15 strikeouts in 12 games. On the mound, Mike Vasturia has allowed three earned runs in 3.1 innings while Jon Dignazio is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in three relief appearances.

While Bednar has powered the Redbirds, another incoming freshman is leading the local Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts. Infielder Tommy Gardiner is 8-for-23 (.348) in six games to open the season. Two other Terps have seen limited action thus far for the T-Bolts; Will Watson is 0-for-3 and Richie Schiekofer is 0-for-6, but they have each drawn a walk.

The only other Cal Ripken League teams with Maryland products are the Alexandria Aces and Gaithersburg Giants. Catcher Justin Vought has not appeared for the first place Aces while Nick Pantos has looked sharp out of the ‘pen for Gaithersburg. The right-hander has hurled nine innings over five appearances, allowing just one run with 11 strikeouts.

There are a few other Terps across the country over the summer. First baseman Kevin Biondic is hitting .200 with a homer and seven RBIs in 14 games with Canada’s Thunder Bay Border Cats of the Northwoods League. Danny Maynard, a member of Perfect Game League’s Amsterdam Mohawks, is hitting .172 in nine games. With the NECBL’s Newport Gulls, Cameron Enck has a 3.27 ERA in four appearances — all four earned runs he has allowed coming in his lone start.

Summer Ball Preview: Cape Cod, Ripken leagues full of Terps

Maryland’s 2017 campaign is officially over, and many current and future Terps are heading to different parts of the country to begin their summer ball seasons. Maryland is well-represented locally in the Cal Ripken League (17 players) as well as up in the Cape Cod League, where four Terps are under contract to spend the summer.  Here’s a look at the various summer ball assignments.

Second baseman Nick Dunn is back for a second year with the CCBL’s Brewster Whitecaps, after earning All-Star honors last summer. (Hannah Evans/Maryland Baseball Network)

Nick Dunn returns to the Cape Cod League’s Brewster Whitecaps for a second season. The Terps’ second baseman spent the 2016 summer there and hit .311 with eight doubles en route to CCBL All-Star honors. Dunn endured a sophomore slump average-wise for the Terps this year, hitting just .261, but found his power stroke, notching 13 doubles and five homers, including two in postseason play. He’ll be joined in Brewster this summer by outfielder Marty Costes, who is coming off a spectacular 2017 season in which he hit .322 with 13 homers and 46 RBIs and was named to the All-Big Ten First Team.

Across the Cape, Tyler Blohm will pitch for the Falmouth Commodores. The southpaw was a fixture in the Maryland starting rotation this season, and was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year after leading the conference with eight wins while posting a 3.48 ERA in 75 innings of work. Right-hander Hunter Parsons will follow in shortstop Kevin Smith’s footsteps as a member of the Cape’s defending champion Y-D Red Sox this summer. Parsons had a down year in 2017, pitching to a 12.05 ERA between the bullpen and rotation, but had a fine freshman season and was named Cal Ripken League Pitcher of the Year last summer. 

John Murphy, one of Maryland’s most reliable relievers this season, returns to the Bethesda Big Train of the Ripken League this summer. (Hannah Evans/Maryland Baseball Network)

Closer to home, the Cal Ripken League is full of Terps. Catcher Justin Morris and right-hander John Murphy return to the Bethesda Big Train after helping them bring home a league championship in 2016. Morris, who solidified himself as the Terps’ starting catcher this season, hit just .211, but finished the season hot, hitting three homers and driving in nine runs over his last 14 games. Murphy emerged as one of the Terps’ go-to relievers, posting a team-best 1.71 ERA over 31.2 innings, which included several Houdini-esque efforts to work out of jams in the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments.

Murphy and Morris will be joined in Bethesda by Zach Jancarski, Ryan Hill and Zach Guth. Jancarski emerged as one of Maryland’s better offensive weapons this year as the starting center fielder and leadoff hitter, batting .325 while leading the team with 17 doubles and 20 steals. Hill, like Murphy, became one of Coach John Szefc’s favorite relievers, leading Maryland pitchers with 29 total appearances, and posting a 10.7 K/9 despite a lofty 5.01 ERA. Guth, a left-handed pitcher, did not appear for the Terps this season.

Elsewhere in the Ripken League, the Baltimore Redbirds also have a plethora of Terps, highlighted by 2017 standouts AJ Lee and Jamal Wade. Lee solidified himself as the starting third baseman this season, hitting .307 with eight homers and 15 stolen bases en route to Third Team All-Big Ten honors. Wade, who transitioned from the outfield to the mound this season, enjoyed success as a right-handed flamethrower, striking out 33 in just 19.2 innings of work out of the bullpen. Left-hander Jon Dignazio and right-hander Mike Vasturia did not see much action as freshmen this season, but strong showings with the Redbirds this summer could prime them for bigger roles on the Maryland pitching staff next year. Randy Bednar, an incoming freshman from Bethesda’s Landon School, will play the outfield for Baltimore ahead of his first year at Maryland.

Louisiana native Will Watson is staying in the D.C. area this summer to play with the Silver Spring Thunderbolts. (Hannah Evans/Maryland Baseball Network)

Closer to College Park, Will Watson headlines four Terps that will take the field for the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts this summer. Watson hit .253 with five homers, 33 walks and 14 stolen bases in his first year with Maryland after transferring in from LSU Eunice. Catcher Ty Friedrich, who returns to Silver Spring for a second season, did not see the field for the Terps this year as a freshman, but hit .351 in 13 games for the T-Bolts a year ago. With Nick Cieri’s departure, Friedrich is primed for a bigger role in Maryland’s catching rotation next year. A pair of incoming freshmen – Richie Schiekofer and Tommy Gardiner – join Watson and Friedrich on the T-Bolts.

Catcher Justin Vought, an incoming freshman, will also play in the Ripken League with the Alexandria Aces, while right-handers Nick Pantos and Elliot Zoellner join the Gaithersburg Giants.

Cameron Enck, who set a Perfect Game League record with a 0.39 ERA last summer, has signed on with the Newport Gulls of the New England Collegiate Baseball League. The right-hander pitched just six innings this season for the Terps.

In the Perfect Game League, catcher Danny Maynard returns for a second season with the Amsterdam Mohawks. He struggled with the Mohawks a year ago, but has hit well in his two seasons with the Terps, including a .259/.353/.424 slash line in 85 at-bats this season.

First baseman Kevin Biondic will head to Canada to join the Northwoods League’s Thunder Bay Border Cats this summer. Biondic put together a strong sophomore campaign in 2016, but struggled in limited playing time this season, hitting just .161 while seeing most of his action as a late-inning defensive replacement.