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Chargers coach sets Cape Cod mark

Almost immediately after the last piece of congratulatory cake was cut and the last hand was shaken, Don Reed told his players he did not want to hear another word about becoming the winningest coach in Cape Cod League history.

Reed picked up his 332nd victory July 29 when his Wareham Gatemen beat the Cotuit Kettleers 9-5. The record was held by Eddie Lyons.

But the Gatemen were in the midst of a three-team race for two playoff spots, and Reed already felt his record chase had been too much of a distraction.

"It's great, but it's over with," said Reed, who lives in Venetian Isles and coaches at Shorecrest Prep. "I think it put a lot of pressure on our ballclub."

On the other hand, Reed said, he never would have reached the record without a consistently good group of players.

"I've been very fortunate," he said. "I have to give credit to the players. They make you look a lot smarter."

Reed, the father of Chicago Cubs catcher Jeff Reed, has coached in Cape Cod for 13 seasons and has a regular-season record of 334-214-19. His 28 playoff victories are tied for the league record. He was with the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox from 1987-90 and took over Wareham the next season.

Reed, 63, first came to Cape Cod in 1985 as an assistant for the Chatham Athletics. He was an assistant at Eckerd at the time, and coach John Mayotte, who also coached at Chatham, brought him along for the ride.

The Cape Cod League has 10 teams and uses wooden bats. It is considered one of the nation's premier collegiate summer leagues, so the talent level is high.

Reed said he coached Albert Belle in his second season at Chatham. "I didn't have any problems with him," he said.

Mo Vaughn and Chuck Knoblauch were on his 1988 Yarmouth team. Reed coached an all-star team that year that also included Jeff Bagwell, Frank Thomas and Tim Salmon.

Reed's message has stayed consistent. He preaches the fundamentals and isn't afraid to stand up to the umpires when he feels a call is blown.

"There's no doubt about that. I'm not a laid-back coach," Reed said. "If you don't fight for your players, I don't think you can expect them to play as hard. If you get a bad call, you have to go out there and support them and care about them."

He also warns them that wood-bat baseball is different than the aluminum bat-fueled home run derby college baseball has become.

The Gatemen will steal, double steal, squeeze and fake squeeze.

"We do a lot of things to try to put put pressure on the opposition," Reed said. "We have to make things happen. You're not going to sit back and get the three-run homer like you do with an aluminum bat."