Aug. 18, 2012
THE FLATS – Less than four months after winning an Atlantic Coast Conference baseball championship, Georgia Tech teammates Daniel Palka and Mott Hyde played key roles in leading the Wareham Gatemen to the 2012 Cape Cod Baseball League title Friday night.
Palka and Hyde’s championship with Wareham capped a title-filled summer for Tech’s baseball program, which also saw four other Yellow Jackets win a championship in the Valley Baseball League, and a number of incoming freshmen play on the East Cobb Yankees’ Perfect Game national championship squad.
It also marked the second-consecutive season a Yellow Jacket claimed a Cape Cod Baseball League championship as former Jacket – and MVP of the 2012 ACC Championship – Jake Davies played on the Harwich Mariners’ 2011 CCBL title team.
Down 5-3 in the top of the ninth with one out in Friday’s decisive game of the three-game CCBL championship series, Palka singled and then Hyde hit a dramatic, game-tying two-run home run that silenced the crowd of 4,250 at Red Wilson Field in South Yarmouth, Mass.
“If you put the ball in play, especially in this little ballpark, some things are going to happen,” Hyde told the Cape Cod Times following the game. “Game-changers.”
Wareham won it with three more runs in the top of the 10th to beat the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox, 8-6, in the final game of the three-game series.
Hyde and Palka also delivered earlier in the postseason. In the West Division playoffs, Hyde hit another two-run homer in the top of the ninth inning (again with Palka on base) to lift the Gatemen to a two-game sweep and an 8-6 win over the Bourne Braves. Hyde was 3-for-4 with a two-run triple, also with Palka on base.
In the first game of the league championship series, after Wareham fell behind 4-1 early, Palka homered in the fourth to make it 4-2. In the seventh, Hyde walked, stole second and scored to make it 4-3, before Palka’s RBI tied it in the eighth, as Wareham rallied to beat Yarmouth-Dennis, 5-4.
Aided by Palka’s and Hyde’s late-game magic, seven of Wareham’s final 11 games played were come-from-behind wins.
For the season, Hyde hit .281 with 26 RBI in 44 games. Palka hit .272 with 11 home runs (tied for third in the league) and 35 RBI (tied for fifth).
GEORGIA TECH OFF-SEASON NOTEBOOK
Interview with new pitching coach Jason Howell
GEORGIA TECH, UCLA, STANFORD, VANDY RECOGNIZED BY BASEBALL AMERICA
With OF Brandon Thomas, RHP Buck Farmer and OF Kyle Wren turning down the MLB draft, Georgia Tech was listed along with UCLA, Stanford and Vanderbilt as “winners” at the draft deadline. With Farmer back, the Yellow Jackets return their Friday starting pitcher for the first time since Deck McGuire in 2010 (McGuire was the Friday starter as a sophomore in 2009).
FOUR INCOMING FRESHMEN WIN NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Incoming freshmen Sam Clay (LHP), Grant Wruble (C), Cole Miler (1B) and Jared Jillson (RHP), were members of the East Cobb Yankees team that claimed the 2012 Perfect Game 18U National Championship. That tournament was played in Marietta in late June and early July.
SMITH, CRUZ, SHEFFIELD, MURRAY WIN VALLEY LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP
Four players – rising junior RHP Alex Cruz, and rising sophomores Thomas Smith (2B), Charles Sheffield (OF/1B) and AJ Murray (C) – helped lead the Harrisonburg Turks to the 2012 Valley Baseball League Championship. Smith, who was an All-Star selection in the VBL, finished the season hitting .289 with four doubles, a homer and 18 RBI. Smith’s .429 on-base percentage was second-best on the club.
Both Palka and Hyde represented Wareham in the 2012 Cape Cod Baseball League All-Star Game, with Palka earning the start at first and Hyde at second. Palka was named the West Division MVP after collecting three hits and an RBI in the 1-1 tie with the East. Two other former Yellow Jackets have been named the CCBL All-Star Game MVP – Luke Murton (2001) and Mark Teixeira (1999).
SPINGOLA AN ALL-STAR IN NECBL
Rising sophomore OF Daniel Spingola was named to the all-star team in the New England Collegiate Baseball League for Danbury. Spingola hit .321 with 11 doubles, six homers, 30 runs and 13 RBI – he was second on the team in doubles, runs and average.
DAVIES PROMOTED TO LOWELL
Jake Davies, who was the MVP of the 2012 ACC Championship and drafted by the Boston Red Sox, was promoted to Single A Lowell after hitting .279 with seven doubles, a homer and nine RBI in 20 games for the Red Sox’s Gulf Coast League team. In 18 games with the Lowell Spinners, Davies is hitting .281.
SKOLE POUNDING, PROMOTED IN THE MINORS
Former Jacket Matt Skole continued his assault on pitching in the Class A South Atlantic League, earning him a promotion last week. The third baseman hit 27 home runs, which led the SAL and in 101 games for Hagerstown, Skole hit .286 with 18 doubles, 27 homers and 92 RBI. He was promoted to the Potomac Nationals in the Class A Advanced Carolina League last week.