Cape League alumni dazzle in College World Series

Tennessee emerges victorious while Cape League alumni make waves on college baseball's biggest stage
Florida's Brody Donay during the 2023 CCBL All-Star Game. Donay shined during the Men's College World Series highlighting his performance with a two-homer game against Kentucky.|Art or Photo Credit: Jack Garvey

OMAHA, Neb. — Top-tier college ball has just wrapped up and some of the biggest stars in the game previously spent time playing in Cape Cod last season while some will be making their way north in the next few days. It was the Tennessee Volunteers who were crowned as national champions in Omaha but the field of eight during the College World Series teemed with former Cape Cod Baseball League arms and bats.

Here is a rundown of some of the Cape League Alumni who flashed their talents in the CWS.

Tennessee Volunteers

The national champion Tennessee Volunteers made a splash on the Omaha stage going 2-0 in the bracket stage as well as continuing their dominance as the best college team in the nation. In particular, two former standout Hyannis Harbor Hawks, Christian Moore (‘22) and Billy Amick (‘23), helped power the Vols through Omaha.

Moore started his time in the MCWS with a bang. He delivered an electric performance in Tennessee's walk-off win over FSU going 5-for-6 at the plate and being only the second-ever player to hit for the cycle in the CWS. He compiled a homer, a triple, and two doubles in the achievement joining Minnesota’s Jerry Kindall who completed the feat in 1956 – a very exclusive two-man club. Moore was also named to the All-MCWS team while recording 10 hits across the tournament.

Amick had a bit of a rougher go of it than his teammate but did hit a clutch single to keep Tennessee alive in the bottom of the ninth to contribute to a walk off win against FSU during bracket play.

Texas A&M

The Aggies made a deep run in Omaha with a host of players who spent time on the Cape contributing to their success.

Former Chatham Angler (‘22) Kaeden Kent will be returning to the Cape this summer to play for the Brewster (‘23) but not before he earned MCWS All-Tournament team honors and slugged his fourth homer of the year in A&M’s 9-5 over the Vols.

Despite the loss of star Braden Montgomery (YD ‘22) to an ankle injury, the Aggies were able to make it to the finals, defeating Kentucky and Florida along the way. Former Falmouth Commodore Jace LaViolette (‘22) played through a lingering hamstring injury but provided stability at the plate and made a highlight reel-worthy home run robbery of Florida’s Cade Kurland during bracket play.

Hayden Schott (YD ‘22) stepped up big for the Aggies down the stretch, tallying nine hits in the MCWS including three multi-hit games.

Kentucky Wildcats

The Kentucky Wildcats came into the tournament as the No. 2 team in the nation but fell to A&M and Florida in bracket play. It was the first tournament appearance for the program and had several Cape League alumni including James McCoy (Cotuit ‘23), Ryan Waldschmidt (Cotuit ‘23) and Mitchell Daly (Chatham ‘22).

North Carolina Tar Heels

The Tar Heels punched their ticket to Omaha, the 12th trip in program history, with a two-game sweep of FSU in the Super Regionals. Four Cape Alumni stepped up big time for UNC down the stretch as the Tar Heels went 1-2 in Omaha. On the mound, Shea Sprague (Harwich ‘23) started against Tennessee and used his pitchability to go four innings and fan six against the would-be national champs. Dalton Pence (Bourne ‘23), the Tar Heels' go-to stopper continued his 14.1 innings of scoreless ball through the first two contests including picking up the victory in UNC’s opening win against Virginia.

At the plate, UNC’s best pure hitters hailed from the Cape. Parks Harber (Brewster ‘22) led the Tar Heels in average and logged his 26th multi-hit game against the Volunteers on Sunday. Meanwhile, Casey Cook (YD ‘23) went 3-for-4 against UVA with a crucial RBI single and notched an RBI double when facing Tennessee.

Florida State Seminoles

The Florida State Seminoles, who made a 24th program appearance in the MCWS, boast both one of the best pitchers in the country in Jamie Arnold (Hyannis ‘23) and ACC player of the year James Tibbs III (Brewster ‘23). FSU was the last ACC team standing in the tournament after eliminating UNC, while Tibbs and fellow Cape League alum Cam Smith(Hyannis ‘23) had a relatively quiet tournament; they still led FSU in batting average and hits.

Arnold, a former Cape League All-Star, only had one appearance in the MCWS against Tennessee in the Seminoles' opening game. He went five innings while fanning four as FSU took it down to the wire and Tennessee's Dylan Dreling walked it off in the ninth.

NC State Wolfpack

The NC State Wolfpack were unable to win a game in Omaha but brought along a few Cape League alumni as they won the Athens Super regional in their 16th comeback victory of the season to punch their ticket to the MCWS. The former Cape League players are led by star catcher Jacob Cozart (Falmouth ‘23); he is joined by Garrett Pennington (Orleans ‘23) and Sam Hifill (Falmouth ‘23). The Wolfpack, however, will be coming to the Cape this season in full force and joins A&M as the two Omaha-bound teams sending the most players to the League.

Virginia Cavaliers

The Virginia Cavaliers also could not win a game in Omaha, extending their losing streak to six in the MCWS. However, they are still the only ACC team to have taken home a championship in this decade. The Cavaliers Cape League alumni include Ethan Anderson (Harwich ‘23), Casey Saucke (Harwich ‘23) and Chase Hungate (Orleans ‘23).

Florida Gators

The Cinderella team of the year, the Florida Gators won a stacked Stillwater Regional and then emerged victorious from the Clemson Super Regional for a repeat trip to “the greatest show on dirt”. The Gators boast many Cape League Alumni such as Cape League All-Star Brody Donay (Hyannis ‘23), Luke Heyman (Falmouth ‘23), Fisher Jameson (‘23) and Michael Robertson (Wareham ‘22).

Donay hit the hardest hit ball of the entire tournament – 118 mph off the bat – and had a two-homer game against Kentucky during bracket play, driving in five runs. Jameson made two appearances in the CWS, both against the Aggies, and fanned eight across 7 ⅔ innings.

Cape League alumni made their mark in Omaha from homers to All-MCWS team selections but the talent does not stop working just because Tennessee won it all. This season 53 players spend time at the "greatest show on dirt" and are committed to making the journey to the Cape for the 2024 season. Stop by one of the 10 teams scattered all across the island to catch up on the best thing summer has to offer: baseball.

(Photo by Jack Garvey)