For the third straight summer, the team with the most Rutgers players ended up winning the prestigious Cape Cod League Championship. This past weekend, Bourne repeated as champs with three Scarlet Knights playing key roles. Josh Kuroda-Grauer starred at second base, Hugh Pickney was at catcher and Lafayette transfer Pete Ciuffreda played right field for the champion Braves. They clinched the title on Sunday night with a 5-2 comeback win over Orleans to take two of three games in the championship series.
Kuroda-Grauer was named Playoff MVP after catching fire in the postseason. In 8 playoff games, he finished with a .444 batting average with 16 hits including six extra base hits along with 13 RBI and 9 runs.
“It means everything to me,” Kuroda-Grauer said. “I give all the credit to my teammates and coaches for putting me in position to be great.”
He also shined in the field throughout the summer and made these big stops in the championship series.
The play: The reaction:
— Cape League (@OfficialCCBL) August 12, 2023
JOSH. KURODA. GRAUER.
WHAT A PLAY!!! #SCtop10
Mid 5 | 3-1 Orleans pic.twitter.com/c3XbXrfvdR
— Bourne Braves (@BourneBraves) August 12, 2023
Last season for Rutgers, Kuroda-Grauer hit .298 with 6 home runs, 56 runs, 32 RBI, and 13 steals in 56 games. He was one of 25 semifinalists for the Brooke Wallace Award given to the top shortstop in college baseball.
As for his Rutgers teammates on Bourne, they both contributed to the championship run as well. Pickney was 3 of 9 for a .333 batting average with 2 runs and 3 RBI over three playoff games. He hit for a .372 batting average over his last 14 games. Cuiffreda had a .476 on-base percentage over six playoff games and scored 6 runs while driving in 3 RBI. He started in centerfield in the decisive title game and had a single.
Kuroda-Grauer is now primed for a big junior season at Rutgers. Having so many players involved in the Cape Cod League championship is a positive for the program as well. Both Pickney and Cuiffreda could play important roles for the Scarlet Knights next Spring as well.
Cape League Scout Deck Spotlight:
JKG ranks second among remaining players in postseason OPS (1.367), and has hit safely in every game. He has had multiple hits in all but one… pic.twitter.com/FVQr4yw13g
— Cape League (@OfficialCCBL) August 13, 2023
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