June 6, 2003

Several Notre Dame baseball players have begun play in some of the nation’s premier wooden-bat summer leagues, led by three in the Cape Cod League and three with the Hays Larks of the Jayhawk League (see all ND summer-team websites listed below).

Notre Dame’s summer players again will be checking in periodically on www.und.com for a Summer Diary series, after a popular debut of those diary entries during the summer of 2002 (see list below for tentative diary contributors).

The Irish again have plenty of representation in the prestigious Cape Cod League, with three rising juniors on CCL squads as righthanders Chris Niesel (Falmouth Commodores) and John Axford (Hyannis Mets) have returned to their respective summer-league teams while shortstop Matt Macri will be playing with the Brewster Whitecaps (he did not play during the summer of ’02 while undergoing rehabilitation from elbow surgery).

Notre Dame fans who subscribe to the DirectTV Sports-Pack also can keep tabs on the Irish players in the CCL, as College Sports Television (CSTV; DirectTV channel 610) has plans to telecast several Cape Cod League games every week week throughout the summer (seee www.cstv.com for more information and schedule).

Notre Dame’s tradition of having multiple players on the Hays (Kan.) Larks has continued in the summer of 2003, as sophomore-to-be outfielders Cody Rizzo and Craig Cooper are the latest ND players to join one of the perennial powers in the Jayhawk League, with the Larks reaching the championship game of the National Baseball Congress World Series in the summers of 2000 and ’01 (also top-seeded in ’02).

Three players who just completed their freshman season with the Irish – RHP Ryan Doherty, IF Greg Lopez and OF Brennan Grogan – will be playing in the Great Lakes League with the Delaware (Ohio) Cows, as did current catcher Javi Sanchez and former Irish centerfielder Steve Stanley in 2001 (LHP Scott Bickford also pitched for the Cows in ’02).

Three other Irish players are headed for the upper Midwest with the Madison (Wis.) Mallards of the Northwoods League. Those players include rising junior RHP Tyler Jones and two seniors-to-be, Sanchez and first baseman Joe Thaman.

Notre Dame’s RBI leader in 2003, rising junior corner infielder Matt Edwards, will be playing close to his hometown of Mechanicsville, Va., as a teammate of Bickford’s on the Waynesboro (Va.) Generals of the Shenandoah Valley League.

Sophomore-to-be LHP Tom Thornton (Newport Gulls) and rising junior RHP Martin Vergara (Sanford Mainers) will be competing in the New England League while sophomore-to-be OF Alex Nettey (Bluff City Bombers, Chicago League) and IF Matt Bransfield (Colorado Sox) are embarking on teams in their hometowns. Two others – senior-to-be 2B Steve Sollmann and rising sophomore DH/C Steve Andres – have yet to finalize their summer playing schedule.

Notre Dame’s tentative schedule of Summer Baseball Diary writers includes the following seven players (keep an eye on www.und.com throughout the summer for diary entries and other updates): Macri reporting from the Cape, Cooper checking in from Hays, Lopez on the Cows beat, Sanchez providing his unique insight from Madison, Edwards filing his homestate report from Waynesboro, Thornton spinning tales from Newport and Bransfield with the mile-high report from Colorado.

See p. 2 for additional information on ND’s summer baseball history and some roster notes on the ND players’ summer teammates.

Here are website links for the ND players’ summer-league teams:













Cape Cod League – Other recent ND players who have played in the Cape Cod League include the following: IF Mike Amrhein (’95), CF Scott Sollmann (’95), C Jeff Wagner (Harwich Mariners, ’97 all-star), IF Brant Ust (Harwich, ’97), RHP Alex Shilliday (Harwich, ’98), IF Alec Porzel (Brewster, ’99), CF Steve Stanley (Brewster, ’99-’00), C Paul O’Toole (Brewster ’00, Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox ’01), OF Brian Stavisky (Hyannis Mets ’00, ’01), OF Matt Bok (Bourne Braves, ’01), 3B/C Andrew Bushey (YDR, ’01) and 2B Steve Sollmann (YDR, ’01-’02).

Hays Larks – Notre Dame’s six-year streak of having players on the Hays Larks includes the following players: 1B Jeff Felker (’98-’99), IF/OF Ben Cooke (’98-’99), RHP Mike Carlin (’98), C Paul O’Toole (’99), RHP Drew Duff (’99-’00), RHP Matt Buchmeier (’00), 3B Andrew Bushey (’00), RHP J.P. Gagne (’01), 1B Joe Thaman (’01), RHPs Ryan Kalita and Tyler Jones (’02) and IF Javi Sanchez (’02) … former Irish LHP Pat Davis was both a player and later an assistant coach for Hays … several former Hays Larks players have gone on to play in the Major Leagues, including Lance Berkman, Jim Leyritz and Albert Pujols.

Macri’s Brewster teammates include one opposing player from the 2003 season (Eastern Michigan IF Brian Bixler) and 13 others whose teams also competed in the 2003 NCAAs: the LSU trio of IF/OF J.C. Holt, LHP Lane Mestepey and OF Ryan Patterson; Miami brothers Danny (OF) and Paco (IF) Figueroa; South Carolina RHPs Conor Lalor and Aaron Rawl; Alabama LHPs Brent Carter and Taylor Tankersley; Washington C Aaron Hathaway and IF Kyle Larsen; Tulane IF Tommy Manzella and Missouri RHP Justin James.

Niesel’s Falmouth squad includes two players from teams on ND’s 2003 schedule – Vanderbilt RHP Jensen Lewis and Central Michigan LHP Jason Ruhlman – plus 11 whose teams competed in the 2003 NCAAs: the Clemson trio of RHP Jeff Hahn, LHP Tyler Lumsden and C Collin Mahoney; Stanford SS Chris Lewis and RHP Kody Quick; Tulane RHPs Brandon Gomes and Billy Mohl; and Georgia Tech OF Jeremy Slayden, Rice SS Paul Janish, South Carolina LHP Zach Reeves, East Carolina IF/OF Darryl Lawhorn and Ohio State 2B Drew Anderson.

Axford’s Hyannis teammates include Wake Forest LHP Tim Morley, the Georgia Tech transfer who matched Axford in the ND-WFU matchup earlier this season at the DQ Metrodome Classic (won 2-1 by ND in 13 innings) … his other teammates include one fellow BIG EAST RHP (Seton Hall’s Tim Sabo) and an opposing catcher from the NCAA Fullerton Regional (Arizona’s Richard Mercado), plus 10 others from teams that competed in the 2003 NCAAs: the Stanford trio of RHP Mark Jecmen, C Donny Lucy and OF Danny Putnam; Florida State brother Mark (RHP) and Matt (OF) Sauls; Florida IFs Justin Tordi and Jonathan Tucker; and Alabama IF Adam Pavkovich, UC Riverside RHP A.J. Shappi and Baylor RHP Sean Walker.

Rizzo and Cooper are two of seven players on the Hays Larks roster whose teams competed in the 2003 NCAAs, with the others including Wichita State LHPs Noah Booth and Tom Hottovy, Baylor RHPs Ryan LaMotta and Andy Pape and OF Seth Fortenberry, and Missouri IF Cody Ehlers.

Sanchez, Thaman and Jones have three Madison teammates who were opposing players vs. the Irish in 2003 – Butler RHP Jon Olson, Minnesota IF David Hrncirik and St. John’s 2B Mike Rozema – plus four Mallards teammates whose teams competed in the 2003 NCAAs: Baylor RHP Tyler Bullock and OF Kevin Sevigny and the IF tandem of Peter White (UNLV) and James Boone (Missouri).

Edwards and Bickford’s Waynesboro squad includes Seton Hall RHP Jake Haggerty and nine players from 2003 NCAA teams: the Oral Roberts foursome of RHP Isaac Cantu, OF Keith Conlon, C Eric Keller and OF Kevin Lamb, the Western Carolina trio of RHP Derrick Hawk, SS Wayne Kilmer and 2B Todd Roper, Stetson LHP/OF John Destefano and Alabama 1B/OF Zac Welch.

Doherty, Grogan and Lopez have one Delaware Cows teammates from a 2003 ND opposing team (Michigan RHO Michael Penn), plus four from 2003 NCAA teams: Georgia tech IF/OF Jake Hall and C Andy Hawranick and Ohio State LHP Brett Hatcher.

Vergara’s Sanford teammates include Bowling Green OF David Barkholz and RHP Tyler Saneholtz, two others from teams on ND’s 2003 schedule – BIG EAST players Billy Quinn (Georgetown OF) and Jeff Barnyak (Pittsburgh RHP) – and four from 2003 NCAA teams: Southern Mississippi OF Clint King, Houston OF Sam Mitchell, Mississippi LHP Taylor Fowler and Tulane RHP Tyler Kimmons.

Thornton’s Newport squad includes two teammates from 2003 ND opponents – Seton Hall 1B Tim Pahuta and Toledo RHP J.R. Duffey – plus three whose teams played in the ’03 NCAAs: Washington IF Greg Isaacson and 3B John Otness and North Carolina C/1B Chris Ianetta.

Nettey’s Bluff City squad also includes eight players from 2003 NCAA squads: Missouri RHP Stephen Holst, C Brent Lacey and OF Josiah Holst, Wichita State C/3B Brandon Hall and 1B/RHP Danny Jackson, Coastal Carolina IF Kyle Beall, Southwest Missouri IF/RHP Brooks Colvin and Arizona OF/LHP Chris Frey … check back for info. on Bransfield and the Colorado Sox.