By Eddie Lockhart
The Braves will be sending four players to Whitehouse Field in Harwich next Saturday, for the 2012 Cape Cod Baseball League All-Star Game.
Colin Moran (UNC) will be the starter at third base while Mason Robbins (Southern Miss) will get the start in right. Tim Giel (Columbia) will represent Bourne as a relief pitcher and John Murphy (Sacred Heart) will be a reserve infielder.
For Moran, it will be his second straight season representing the Braves on the Western all-stars.
“It’s cool, it’s a good feeling,” Moran said, “it was definitely something I was working towards…I was glad I was able to go back…it’s always a goal [to be an all-star].”
Last year Moran did not get a hit in his two at bats in the game so he will be looking to change that. His starting spot is well deserved as he is hitting .331 on the season with five home runs and is tied for the league lead in runs batted in with 31.
“I will try to enjoy it just as much,” Moran said of his second experience, “maybe I will be a little bit more relaxed then last time, I was probably a little nervous.” He advised his first-time teammates to “just soak it in, [and] don’t be too nervous.”
Nerves have not been a problem for the Braves other all-star starter, Mason Robbins. In the last week he has three game winning hits, including two walk-offs. He also added a key double in the bottom of the ninth against Harwich, Saturday that brought Bourne to within a run.
“It’s a great honor,” Robbins said of being selected, “I’m going to be playing with a group of guys…who are the best in the nation.”
Robbins, who is batting .357 with seven home runs this season, is one of only three freshmen on the West squad.
“Me being a freshman, everybody else here is older than I am, lot more experience, I was just trying to come here and do my thing and I made an all-star team” Robbins said.
With all the talent that will be on the diamond Saturday, Robbins is fully aware of the challenge ahead.
“It’s going to be tough, a lot of flame throwers,” Robbins said of the pitching talent, “I am just going to have to prepare myself and be ready.”
One of those talented pitchers will be Bourne’s own Tim Giel. Giel, who goes to Columbia, knows his accomplishment is that much more impressive since he started the season on a temporary contract and comes from a school not known for its baseball.
“My first goal was to get a full contract,” Giel said, “I was pitching well and it was my main goal this summer to make the all-star team…[it] gives [me] a little something extra to prove, not [ being one of] these big school guys.”
Giel has been the Braves most effective reliever all season long posting a 0.84 ERA in 21.1 innings pitched. He has recorded 21 strike outs against only six walks.
“I hope it will be a ton of fun…just do the best I can and not embarrass myself out there” Giel joked.
John Murphy rounds out the list of Braves all-stars. Like Giel, Murphy started as a temporary player and is not from a baseball powerhouse, playing for the Pioneers at Sacred Heart.
“It’s incredible,” Murphy said, “I came in as a temp, I had to work my way into the lineup, stayed hot and now made the all-star team…[now] I can show that some littler schools can do it too.”
Murphy is one of the few Braves who has been hitting the ball all season long. He was hitting .333 through the first eight games. Since then, he has dropped down to .309 with four dingers and 15 RBIs. He is also a threat on the base paths as he leads the team with six steals.
“It’s going to be crazy,” Murphy said of playing in the game, “I watched a few videos…when it was at Fenway, I can imagine that crowd at Harwich is going to be crazy…I can’t wait for it.”
All four Braves have earned their spots on the roster and will do the organization proud Saturday. They should all play key roles if the West is to win and if it comes down to clutch at bat, field manager Chad Gassman should look no further than, Robbins.
The game is set to start at 7 p.m. next Saturday at Whitehouse Field in Harwich.