Brandon Stephens aims for another summer league title this weekend.
ATHENS----- Summer League baseball action is wrapping up around the country and a few Bulldogs are competing for a title.
Rising senior catcher Brandon Stephens will play for the 2014 Petit Cup Championship in the Coastal Plain League as a member of the Peninsula Pilots located in Hampton, Va. Stephens and the Pilots begin a three-game playoff set on Friday at Florence (S.C.). The Pilots won the CPL title last year, and this summer, they cruised to the Eastern Division crown with a league-best 41-15 record. In 29 games, Stephens is batting .280 with two home runs and 18 RBI.
Rising junior catcher Zack Bowers was the Player of the Night this past Tuesday after notching a walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th to lift the Lakeshore (Wis.) Chinooks to the Northwoods League South Division title. Rising sophomore pitcher Connor Jones is a member of the Chinooks too. Currently, Bowers is batting .266 with six home runs and 31 RBI in 47 games. Jones is 4-0 with a 2.82 ERA and two saves in 16 appearances. In 28.2 innings, he has 35 strikeouts and 19 walks. The Chinooks have a league-best 50-21 record. They will face the Mankato MoonDogs in the three-game NWL Summer Collegiate World Series finals that begins Thursday.
Pitcher Mike Mancuso was a member of the New England Collegiate Baseball League champion Newport Gulls. They captured the Fay Vincent Cup this past Tuesday over Sanford. Mancuso finished the summer with a 2-1 record and 5.04 ERA in eight games including six starts as the Gulls went 31-19. He pitched 30.1 innings and had 22 strikeouts and nine walks. Rising junior David Sosebee wound up 1-4 with a 2.61 ERA for the Keene (N.H.) Swamp Bats who went 22-23 in the NECBL. In 41.1 innings, he registered 33 strikeouts and only five walks.
Rising senior Jared Cheek ended up 6-3 with a 3.49 ERA and two complete games in 10 starts for the Gastonia (N.C.) Grizzlies of the Coastal Plain League (CPL). He led the league with 69 strikeouts in 59.1 innings as they posted a 32-22 record. Also in the CPL, rising sophomore Mike Bell batted .248-5-19 with 10 stolen bases for the Columbia (S.C.) Blowfish who went 26-30. Bell appeared in 43 games with 36 starts.
Rising sophomore centerfielder Stephen Wrenn played for the Bourne Braves in the Cape Cod League. The Braves advanced to the semifinals of the West Division playoffs before being eliminated by Cotuit this past Saturday. They won the West Division title and a President’s Cup trophy after posting the league’s best record at 28-15-1. Wrenn played in 35 games and batted .198 with six RBI and five stolen bases.
In the Valley Baseball League, rising junior first baseman Daniel Nichols helped lead the Harrisonburg (Va.) Turks to the regular season title. However, they went 1-2 in the playoffs to finish the summer with a 30-15 record. Nichols batted .338 with two home runs and 12 RBI in 22 games.
Rising junior outfielder DJ Smith batted .301 in the Great Lakes League for the Lima (Ohio) Locos. The Locos posted the best record in the regular season at 27-13 but went 1-2 in the playoffs. Smith ranked among the RBI leaders in the league and finished the summer with 25 RBI and 10 stolen bases in 41 games.
Rising senior Taylor Hicks and rising junior Austin Wallace helped the Oneonta Outlaws advance to the New York Collegiate League finals with a 31-22 record. Hicks went 4-2 with a 2.21 ERA in nine appearances including eight starts. He pitched 40.2 innings and had 39 strikeouts and 24 walks. Wallace posted a 2-1 mark and 4.73 ERA in 11 games including nine starts. In 40 innings, he had 24 strikeouts and 38 walks.
In the California League, rising junior pitcher David Gonzalez helped guide the San Luis Obispo Blues to a 36-11 record and a spot in the inaugural CCL Tournament. For the summer, Gonzalez appeared in 11 games and went 2-0 with a 2.34 ERA. In 34.2 innings, he had 41 strikeouts and 20 walks.
In the Sunbelt Baseball League, rising sophomore pitcher Drew Moody went 0-1 with a 2.89 ERA in five appearances for the Windward Braves. In 18.2 innings, Moody had 20 strikeouts and four walks. The Braves went 10-18.
The fall semester at UGA begins on Monday, Aug. 18.