By: Nick Galle
On a sun-kissed afternoon in early August, a coalition of Braves coaches and players walked around the infield hours before Game 1 of this past season’s championship series.
The field was in unplayable condition due to the gallons of rain that had fallen less than 24 hours prior, rain that had postponed the original start of the series. Things were looking extremely bleak. Questions arose as to how baseball was going to be played in Bourne that night. Suddenly, all hands were on deck to make sure that Jake Bennett and Griffin Green would be taking the hill for their respective teams as the sun snuck behind the trees that littered the edge of the football field just behind the center-field fence at Doran Park.
Two of those hands were those of Scott Landers, the Brewster pitching coach. There Landers was, working alongside coaches, players and support staff of the opposing team. Little did he know, but that field, the one he was trying to get game-ready, would soon be one that he would call home less than one month later.
Following the departure of Harvey Shapiro, Landers signed a two-year contract on Wednesday to make him the next field manager of the Bravos. The Oswego State head coach said that first and foremost, he is extremely thankful for his time in Brewster.
“Brewster’s been really good to me. I enjoy the people out there and just being an assistant coach there was awesome,” Landers said. “I really appreciate everything that Brewster did for me and my family.”
With that being said, Landers is excited to make the move 36 miles west, and the now-former Whitecaps pitching coach is extremely grateful for the opportunity to take over in Bourne.
“Building relationships, not only with the players but with the community, and just having new blood and new people around me and just bring the energy that I feel like Bourne wants on an everyday basis, that’s what I’m looking forward to,” Landers said. “The relationships you have with the guys and the community goes a long way in wanting these athletes to stay for a whole two months.”
Getting players to stay for the whole season is something that general manager Darin Weeks said should be no problem for Landers due to his energetic mindset and his desire to turn those on his team into competitors.
“He will literally make you want to run through a wall for him. That’s the style he is,” Weeks said. “It’s going to be so different, and it’s going to be so refreshing, and it’s going to be something that’s going to just trickle down throughout the entire organization.”
In addition to that intensity, Landers also said that he puts an emphasis on pitching. If you don’t believe him, taking one look at Brewster’s pitching staff last year tells you all you need to know. The Whitecaps allowed the second-fewest earned runs (119) in 304 1/3 innings during the regular season, good for an ERA of 3.52. The Caps also gave up the second-fewest hits (258), ranked second-best in walks allowed (114) and had the fifth-highest strikeout total on the Cape (349).
“As you watched the Cape this past summer, there was legitimate arms from top to bottom. I don’t even think it’s necessarily just starters, I think it’s all the way through the game. In baseball you always say, ‘Get to the bullpen.’ I don’t necessarily agree when you’re in the Cape. I mean there were guys coming out of the pen that were 97-98 (mph),” Landers said. “It definitely starts with your pitchers and the stuff that they have and if they can command it and throw strikes.”
Weeks said that Landers was someone that the organization targeted early and was the front office’s top choice to take over as field manager.
“After 10 minutes of talking to him, you wanted to grab a bat and go play,” Weeks said. “The fact that he did so well with Brewster last year with that pitching staff, and how he helped pull that whole thing together — we saw how he did against us that first game. That was a masterpiece. He’s somebody who’s going to do a great job recruiting, he’s going to do a great job with the guys he does recruit and he’s going to make sure that every one of these kids gives it their all every game.”
When it comes to recruiting, Landers said Bravos fans can expect a variety of good, young talent to make up next summer’s roster. During his time in the college baseball scene, he has been able to establish a plethora of connections that should serve him well just over the Cape Cod Canal.
“I have a lot of pipelines on the East Coast,” Landers said. “You’ll have some high-profile guys and you’ll have some guys probably that are really good mid-major players that deserve a shot to be looked at.”
With Shapiro’s 18-year tenure coming to an end, a new era is starting in Bourne. After a historic season in which the Braves went 24-9-3 and went to their first championship since 2017, Landers will look to ride the momentum into 2022 to try and bring his team back to the promised land.
“I am excited for the future of the Braves,” team president Nicole Norkevicius said in a text message. “We took the time to meet with several strong candidates and were fortunate to be able to hire someone with Cape League coaching experience and an extensive recruiting network. Coach Landers is certainly ready to lead the Braves to obtain even more Cape League success.”
Cover graphic via: Joe Sullivan