From Boston Baseball Magazine
The Cards have it. After backing into the playoffs, the Orleans Cardinals rolled through the postseason to capture the 1993 Cape Cod Baseball League crown with a two-game sweep of the Wareham Gatemen in the best-of-three championship series.
In what amounted to a seven-team race for four playoff spots, Wareham and the Hyannis Mets finished first and second, respectively, in the Western Division, with the Cotuit Kettleers landing two points shy of a playoff slot. The Eastern Division proved to be a quagmire, with only four points separating the fourth-place Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox and the division champion Chatham A’s.
Chatham topped the Brewster Whitecaps, 7-3, in the Cape Cod Baseball League’s regular-season finale, dropping Brewster into a second-place tie with Orleans. That same night, Brewster was forced into action again and fell to the Cards, 6-4, in 11 innings.
“It was definitely a Cinderella season,” said Orleans infielder Lionel Hastings. “We got a wild card, and once we made it, we really went at teams. We rolled. It was a weird season because we shouldn’t have made the playoffs or the championship.”
The Cards made the most of their slim opportunity, taking the extra-inning playoff win and then eking out the Eastern Division title in three games over the A’s. In the west, the Gatemen slammed the door shut on slumping Hyannis, which lost its final six games, including the sweep by Wareham in the best-of-three playoff. Both contests were decided in the bottom of the ninth. All-Star Game MVP Roy Marsh, who set a new league record with 48 steals, singled home two runs for the win in Game 1 and outfielder Brian Clark gunned down the tying run at the plate to complete the sweep.
In the finals, the upstart Cards were no longer a surprise. Orleans overcame the 11-strikeout, three-hit performance of Gatemen hurler Mike Drumwright to post a 2-1 win in the opening game. With Brian Taylor and Jay Payton on base in the first, Aaron Boone ripped a double down the left-field line to drive in Orleans’ only runs. Wareham’s Marsh went to work in the bottom of the third, when he singled, stole second and crossed the plate on a double by Chris Boni. Orleans reliever Rob Stanifer pocketed the win, allowing only three hits from the fourth inning on.
“We knew we were going to play them in the championship round – if we got there,” said Marsh. “They have a whole lot of talent on that team. They clicked at the right time, at the end in the championship series. We wanted to win it bad. To go that far and not to win left a sour taste in our mouths.”
The Cards clinched at their home field, Eldredge Park. Sparked by Steve Fishman’s two-run homer and the stellar pitching of playoff MVP Chris Ciaccio, Orleans posted an easy 5-1 win to snare its first title since 1986. Ciaccio recorded two complete-game efforts during the playoffs, also earning the win in the opening game of the Eastern Division playoffs as well.
“It’s weird because it takes about two weeks to get used to each other coming into the Cape Cod Baseball League,” said Hastings. “But I knew we had the talent and the chemistry and that’s what made the difference – chemistry.”
Around the Peninsula: At the conclusion of the wild playoff races, the CCBL named its annual award winners. Hyannis catcher Jason Varitek copped two of the top awards. The Georgia Tech product, a first-round pick of the Minnesota Twins, was the recipient of both the Thurman Munson Award (top hitter with a .371 average) and the Pat Sorrenti Award as the league’s MVP. . . . Reliever Chris Clemons of the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox and Texas A&M earned the Robert A. McNeese Award as the league’s top pro prospect. . . . Orleans shortstop Nomar Garciaparra of Georgia Tech pocketed the Manny Robello Award as the 10th Player. . . . Chatham first baseman/outfielder Paul Ottavinia of Seton Hall University was picked as the Daniel J. Silva Award winner for outstanding sportsmanship. . . . Falmouth’s Don Nestor (South Florida) was the league’s top reliever, and earned the Russ Ford Award for his efforts. . . . Sox hurler Andy Taulbee of Clemson nailed down the B.F.C. Whitehouse Award as the CCBL’s best pitcher. . . . Finally, Wareham manager Don Reed was named Manager of the Year for the third time.