By Zach Leach
Leading up to Sunday’s double header against the Hyannis Harbor Hawks, the Harwich Mariners could not have asked for a better start to the season. The team had outscored its opponents 24-2 and their pitching staff had only allowed one earned run in 27 innings. “We’re rolling pretty good right now, said Saturday’s starter Zack Erwin (Clemson), which of course is a huge understatement. Behind three dominant starts, the M’s led the league in nearly every pitching statistic early in the new campaign, with a 0.33 team ERA, .140 team batting average against, .67 team WHIP, and a total of 30 strikeouts.
It all started on Opening Day with local kid James Mulry (Northeastern). ”It’s really special being out on that mound after watching so many games here”, said Mulry, whose first Cape League game was pretty special itself. In seven shutout innings, he allowed only five hits and a walk, while striking out nine. The Mariners won their home opener 7-2 over the Y-D Red Sox. Jason Ingrham (William&Mary) took the mound Thursday night with seven innings of his own, giving up a measley two hits and fanning eight opposing batters in a massive 10-0 blowout of the Brewster Whitecaps. Erwin finally got the ball on the road in Wareham on Saturday after a delayed start, and threw five shutout innings, striking out five Gatemen, which was the same number of base runners he allowed in a second straight Harwich shutout, a 7-0 win.
“It’s always fun to get off to a good start”, said Ingrham, who is part of a trio of Mariners starters who struck out a combined 22 batters in their first three games, with a total of three walks and ten hits. But all three players were quick to give credit to the rest of the team as well. “We’ve all been clicking pretty well. We got a great group of guys and as a team we’re getting along”, said Mulry, “the offense is behind us, the defense is behind us…so we just pound the zone and let our guys make the plays”. Ingrham reiterated the sentiment, adding “the whole team’s playing really well, the offense is scoring runs, the pitching staff is doing pretty good, it’s been a lot of fun so far”.
It’s true that there are plenty of other playmakers in Harwich, including 2013 All-Star Ian Happ (Cincinnati), who led the league with five runs scored after the first three games, and reliever Jacob Evans (Oklahoma), who threw three no-hit innings with four strikeouts on Saturday, the three starters have been what has stood out the most. All eyes will be on the front of the Harwich rotation now, as everyone wants to see just how long the trio can continue their dominance. The Mariners hope that the trio will continue to bring them wins as they establish their identity early this season.