The Cape Cod Baseball League is back in action after missing the 2020 season due to COVID-19. The league is highly anticipated by the local residents on an annual basis and somewhat of a cult favorite to those that stream games and follow box scores across the nation.
The CCBL is sanctioned by the NCAA and usually has scouts aplenty as one of the only leagues the college baseball players use wood bats. And as usual, some of college baseball's best talent is on display.
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This is an odd season. The MLB draft came later than usual, so several players have left within the past week. Here, we will focus on the hottest hitters remaining on the Cape. Keep in mind, with undrafted free agents still signing, this list could change quickly.
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Cayden Wallace, Arkansas, 3B/OF — Wallace has been playing right and centerfield for the Bourne Braves lately, showing off his athleticism in the field. It is also translating at the plate. Wallace was one of the best freshmen in the nation for Arkansas' explosive offense, and it has carried over into the CCBL where he is hitting .290 with an .880 OPS to go with six doubles, two home runs and 14 RBI. He has been hot the past week with three two-hit games over that span.
Never a doubt @cayden_wallace— Arkansas Baseball (@RazorbackBSB) June 14, 2021
📺 ESPN2 pic.twitter.com/b8k624tc07
Owen Diodati, Alabama, OF — We can't leave the Cape's leading home run hitter off a list of hot batters. Diodati was second on Alabama this past season with 11 home runs and that power has transitioned quite well with a wood bat. He's hitting .269 for the Wareham Gatemen with a CCBL-best seven homers, three of which have come since July 14. Diodati is also tied for the league lead in RBIs with 20.
Dalton Rushing, Louisville, 1B/C — No wonder the Bourne Braves are the best team in the CCBL, already with 18 wins and currently on a seven-game winning streak: they have two of the best hitters in the league right now. Rushing has been arguably the best all-around hitter in the league, hitting .329 and a .984 OPS with six doubles, four home runs and 14 RBIs. In 28 games for the Cardinals this past college baseball season, Rushing had the same number of home runs and RBI as he does in 21 games on the Cape. Obviously, a wood bat and a northeast summer suit Rushing just fine.
Brock Wilken, Wake Forest, 3B — Wilken had a solid freshman debut for the Demon Deacons, setting the freshman record for home runs with 17 and earning Freshman All-American honors. Thus far, on the Cape, he is in the middle of the pack with four home runs, but his 20 RBIs are tied atop the leaderboard with Diodati. Wilken also has one of the better strikeout-to-walk ratios in the league, walking 12 times and striking out 24 in his 87 at bats. On the season, the right-hander is hitting .322 with a .979 OPS for the Harwich Mariners.
Christian Knapczyk, Louisville, INF — We sound like a broken record, but here's yet another Bourne Brave heading up our list. Knapczyk is currently on a five-game hitting streak with three two-hit games sprinkled in the mix. You won't find much power in Knapczyk's left-handed swing, but he constantly puts the bat on the ball, hitting .297 for Louisville this past season and now leading the CCBL with a .342 average.
Chase DeLauter, JMU, CF/P — The left-hander has been hitting the ball well for the Orleans Firebirds, but DeLauter also has two scoreless innings pitched this summer. Alas, we're not here to talk about pitchers, so let's get to DeLauter's bat. The redshirt-freshman ended the season on a 16-game hitting streak for JMU and that momentum has just carried right on over to the Cape. DeLauter is hitting .303 with a .970 OPS, five doubles and six home runs. He has such a sound approach at the plate and sees the strike zone very well. This past season for JMU, he walked 11 more times than he struck out. On the Cape, he's struck out just 11 times while walking eight.
Jace Bohrofen, Oklahoma, RF/1B — Bohrofen had a modest debut for Oklahoma in 2021, hitting .252 with an .827 OPS. The results for the Falmouth Commodores have been much better through 22 games on the Cape. The left-handed hitter is batting .304 with a .994 OPS to go along with five doubles and five home runs, while his 13 runs scored and 16 RBIs are among the best in the league. He is super pull-happy, with all of his homers going to the right side, but the wood bat has been no obstacle for Bohrofen thus far.
Pres Cavenaugh, UNC Greensboro, OF — Cavenaugh's numbers don't jump off the page, but he's quietly put up one of the best OPS in the CCBL, currently with a .923 mark. The lefty is amid a six-game hitting streak, going 9-for-20 with four runs scored and four RBIs over that span. Cavenaugh has raised his average from .313 to .340 on his current heater. He is also a walk machine, leading UNCG in walks with 35 this past season and walking roughly 13 percent of the time in the CCBL.
Dominic Keegan, Vanderbilt, C/1B — Our last entry is a new entry to the CCBL. Keegan had a late run in the college baseball season, making it all the way to the CWS finals before the Commodores fell to Mississippi State. He joined the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox just three games ago, but what a three-game run it has been. Keegan has gone 2-for-4 in his last two outings, launching three home runs and driving in four. Small sample size aside, this is the bat we have seen from Keegan, who hit .345 with 15 home runs for the Vandy Boys this past season.
Dominic Keegan (@VandyBoys) with his second #DOMBOMB in two days 💣💣💣 pic.twitter.com/CObTKMA1Lx— Y-D Red Sox (@YD_RedSox) July 19, 2021
(All stats through July 20 via the official site of the CCBL.)