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Stoudt Embraces Cape Cod League Challenge
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
2018-07-26

            Levi Stoudt quickly figured out the level of competition in the Cape Cod League. Two innings into his first start, an opposing hitter lined a pitch into the left

Levi Stoudt, a Pennsburg native, is spending his summer 

playing for the Orleans Firebirds on Cape Cod, Mass. 

center field gap. Stoudt, a Pennsburg native, was sure he'd given up a double. However, his Orleans Firebirds teammate – a center fielder from West Virginia University – made the best catch he'd ever seen.

            "This league is no joke," Stoudt said. "These guys are pretty good."

            A sophomore from Lehigh University, Stoudt overcame early general soreness to regain a spot in the Firebirds' starting rotation. Pitching in the nation's top college summer league, the Perkiomen School graduate is refining his repertoire.

            In 20 innings this summer, the Perkiomen School graduate has allowed 26 hits and registered 21 strikeouts. He has made four starts, posting a 0-2 record with 4.50 ERA.  "I'm happy with the results," he said.

            According to Stoudt, hitters in the summer league are more disciplined and better at recognizing pitches than in the Patriot League, where his pitches for the Mountain Hawks. He called it a significant step up.

            While tossing four shutout innings in the team's season-opener, opposing hitters took several close pitches and fouled off several others he thought would end up as swings and misses.

            "If I make a mistake, I am going to pay," Stoudt said. "Every guy I face is the stud on his regular team. I can't take any hitters off."

            The 10-team league – which includes franchises on the Massachusetts peninsula in towns such as Hyannis, Falmouth, Yarmouth-Dennis, Brewster, Wareham and Bourne – has become famous for developing Major League players. One out of every seven on a big league roster in 2006 competed in the league, according to a study posted at capecodbaseball.org.

            According to Stoudt, every player in the league has the goal of signing a professional contract. He said everyone has the talent to get there.

            "It's just a matter of who well they perform," Stoudt said.

            Between 20 and 30 professional scouts, armed with a radar gun and a stop watch, gather behind home plate for every game. However, Stoudt doesn't pitch to impress them.  "I'm pretty good at zoning the scouts out," he said.

            On the mound, Stoudt prefers to facilitate soft contact rather than run up his pitch counts with multiple strikeouts. With a fastball that sits in the low 90 mph range, and tops out in the mid- 90s, he has the velocity to get a strikeout when it's most needed.

            Stoudt has reduced his arsenal from four pitches to three by replacing a curve ball and slider with a slurve, a combination of the two breaking balls. He expressed hope that the pitch will better complement his fastball and Vulcan changeup.

            "Hopefully I will have three plus pitches rather than two plus pitches and two mediocre breaking pitches," he said.

            Stoudt started for the Firebirds on Opening Day, tossing four shutout innings in a 3-2 loss to Harwich on June 12. Two outings later, he allowed four earned runs on six hits in the first inning of a 10-4 loss to Yarmouth-Dennis.

            After feeling exceptionally stiff, Stoudt was shut down for a week. He moved to the bullpen, where he made two appearances, including three shutout innings in a 12-7 loss at Cotuit on July 10.

            In his return to the starting rotation on July 17, Stoudt absorbed the loss despite allowing just two earned runs in five innings in a 5-2 loss to Yarmouth-Dennis.

            On Tuesday night, he registered a season-high seven strikeouts, and allowed three runs over five innings in a start against Harwich. However, Stoudt did not factor in the decision  of an 8-5 victory.

            "I think I threw really well," he wrote in a text message later Tuesday night. "I found a groove after the first inning and was doing a good job attacking hitters and getting ahead. The strikeouts came because I was able to locate my fastball in and out, and put guys away later in the count with off speed [pitches]."


 

 

 

 

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