Evans on the Cape
Jacob Evans had an up and down spring for the OU baseball team, but his experience in summer ball has been nothing but trending up. A left-handed pitcher, Evans has had a stellar season out of the bullpen for the Harwich Mariners of the Cape Cod Baseball League. He was named Cape League All-Star at earned his team’s Most Outstanding Pitcher award.
“It’s definitely been the best summer of my life,” stated Evans before the team’s first playoff game on Wednesday. “It’s cool to be up here. We probably have two or three projected first rounders on our team and everyone on our team can play the game. It’s fun to be around a lot of people like that.”
Evans is joined by Sooner teammates Anthony Hermelyn and Craig Aikin on the East Division Champion Harwich squad. The Mariners got off to the right foot on Wednesday with a 7-2 win over the Brewster Whitecaps thanks in part to a three-run first inning.
“The competition has been pretty good. The East Division has been better. Chatham was pretty good. Everybody can play. Most of our team has been here the whole summer, but not every other team has been like that. Brewster only has 13 or 14 players, but started winning late to make the playoffs. We should get through the first round.”
On the mound, Evans is 2-0 with a 0.31 earned run average and 27 strikeouts. Through 28.1 innings of work, he has allowed only one run all summer. He even pitched a perfect frame in the All-Star Game with two strikeouts on July 27. Hermelyn, a .323-hitting catcher, joined Evans at the All-Star Game and went 2-for-2.
“[Playing with Aikin and Hermelyn] has been great. It would be kind of hard to come up here by yourself. Coming up here with both of them made it pretty comfortable. None of us have struggled this summer, but it’s good having teammates from back home to support you.”
Off the field, Evans and his teammates have gotten the opportunity to experience a culture, including its food, beaches and people, far different from Oklahoma.
“My family came up here and we got to explore the Cape and see Provincetown on the tip, which was an experience. We’ve been to the beach every time we’ve had a chance and the weather has been phenomenal. I don’t think we’ve had a day over 85 degrees.”
“When my parents were up here, my host family made a hot lobster dinner. It wasn’t what I expected. We had to crack it, get the meat out and really work for it. That was a pretty interesting experience, but now, I’m starting to get a little seafooded-out.”
A summer on the Cape is an adjustment for college players, pitchers and hitters alike. The biggest adjustment for hitters can be the use of wood bats, like most summer leagues. However, for pitchers it is typically a matter of facing no easy outs in the lineup.
“What’s big up here is just getting ahead [of batters]. If you get behind and you can throw an off-speed pitch in a fastball count, you can recover. The guys that have struggled tend to fall behind 2-0 and have to throw a fastball, but everybody can hit a fast ball up here. Every team can hit one through nine.”
In 2013, Evans was named a Freshman All-American as the OU closer, while his team won the Big 12 Tournament title and reached the NCAA Super Regionals. This past season, a 29-29 campaign, has Evans already yearning to be back on the mound at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
“I’m looking forward to getting back with my teammates. We had a rough year last year, but I think we’ll be all right. Getting back with the team and getting to know the new guys will be good. The goal is always the same. We think we can make a run at Omaha.”
|Cape Cod Baseball League|
|Craig Aikin, Harwich Mariners|
|Jacob Evans, Harwich Mariners|
|Anthony Hermelyn, Harwich Mariners|
|California Collegiate League|
|Alec Hansen, San Luis Blues|
|Sheldon Neuse, San Luis Blues|
|Austin O'Brien, San Luis Blues|
|Keach Ballard, Duluth Huskies|
|Corey Copping, Duluth Huskies|
|Mac James, Duluth Huskies*|
|*Drafted/Signed by Tampa Bay|
|Texas Collegiate League|
|Kolbey Carpenter, Brazos Valley Bombers|
|Hunter Haley, Brazos Valley Bombers|
|Chad Nelson, McKinney Marshals|
|Far West League|
|Colt Bickerstaff, Redding Colt 45s|
|Jeffrey Curran, Redding Colt 45s|
|Alaska Baseball League|
|Tyler Gibson, Peninsula Oilers|
|Arizona Collegiate League|
|Cole Stevens, Sidewinders|
|Coastal Plain League|
|Tyler Coolbaugh, Fayetteville SwampDogs|
|New England Collegiate League|
|Joshua Ake, Plymouth Pilgrims|