Orleans, MA — Cape Cod is a renowned summer destination for its beautiful beaches, but it’s also been the home of summer league baseball for more than 100 years.
“It’s where the elite players go,” said Pete Wilk, Vermont Lake Monsters head coach. “Scouts love it because their longest drive is 45 minutes. As NCAA coaches, we want to send our guys to the best league possible and that’s been the Cape Cod league for as long as I’ve been alive.”
Wilk was an assistant coach in Harwich in 1997 and said he knows it helped him progress in his coaching career. “If you’re working with the best players in that atmosphere you get a bigger, better name out there.”
Players get to Cape Cod through coaching connections and the Lake Monsters have three teams they usually send their players to. Chris Clark, a pitcher for the Lake Monsters in 2021 benefited from this.
“Coach Wilk is the main reason I’m here,” said Clark. “He has a great relationship with Coach Nicholson and he recommended me and I owe it to him for being here.”
“Vermont is a really good place to develop. Coming into Vermont I didn’t throw a lot of strikes, I didn’t have any breaking pitches, but working with Coach Fincher and Coach Wilk really helped me prepare for here.”
Vermont Mountaineers catcher Christian Pregent played in Cape Cod last season and discussed how the league can bring out the best in a player. “I mean I think it just shows you playing against a lot of really talented guys really what it takes. You know more-so how to prepare yourself to play against the best.”
Anthony Defabbia, also rostered by the Mountaineers, primarily pitched out of the bullpen last summer on the Cape, a role he was not accustomed to. “I also got to pick the brains of my teammates cause I had been a starting pitcher for most of my career. I was talking to the guys about what the routine for them in the pen is.”
Future MLB players come through the Cape League every season. In fact, 24 percent of the players chosen to the Major League All-Star game were once Cape Leaguers, and when you put talent on a Cape League field, anything can happen.