The Falmouth Commodores will have to wait at least one more year to end the Cape Cod Baseball League’s longest championship drought. On Friday night, the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox won their fourth CCBL championship in the past decade, and their third over Falmouth in the finals, as they took a 10-4 decision at Red Wilson Field in South Yarmouth to sweep the series in two straight.
With the loss in the finals, the Commodores’ streak without a league title is now 34 seasons in a row. The team last won it all in 1980.
One bad inning, the bottom of the sixth, was the main reason that the Commodores were unable to extend the series and send it back to Falmouth for a decisive third game. The visitors had grabbed a 4-2 lead in the top of the sixth, breaking a tie, thanks to an RBI double off the center field wall by Boomer White (Texas A&M) and an RBI single to right by Austin Afenir (Oral Roberts).
Falmouth was unable to hold onto that lead for long, though. Starter Kevin McKanna (Rice) had worked out of a couple of early jams, but wasn’t able to escape the bottom half of the sixth. McKanna gave up a leadoff single to Rob Fonseca (Northeastern) and then walked Josh Lester (Missouri) before a soft single to left by Brennon Lund (BYU) chased him from the ballgame.
McKanna, the Cape League’s winningest pitcher during the regular season, turned things over to Conor Costello (Oklahoma State). The first batter he faced, Joey Armstrong (UNLV) lifted a fly ball to right for a sacrifice fly to make it 4-3. Next up was eventual postseason co-MVP Marcus Mastrobuoni (Cal State), who mauled Falmouth pitching in the series.
Mastrobuoni was a perfect two for two, with two walks in the game, and plated the tying run for the Sox with a single to left field. For the series, the catcher was five for six against Falmouth pitching, with two walks, five runs batted in, three runs scored and a home run. He shared the MVP award with teammate Walker Buehler, who had two shutouts pitching during the postseason, including his team’s 5-0 game one win over the Commodores in Falmouth.
Costello retired the next batter, on a long fly ball, and was then replaced by Ryan Moseley (Texas Tech), who the Red Sox handled well. Moseley, who has some of the best stuff on the Falmouth staff, was not commanding his fastball, which led to back-to-back walks, which forced in the eventual game-winning run. The Red Sox’ Jordan Tarsovich then blew the game open by hammering a 3-2 fastball over the heart of the plate to the center field wall for a bases-clearing double that made it 8-4.
“We really just had one bad inning, but (Y-D) took advantage of our mistakes and made us pay,” Falmouth manager Jeff Trundy said. “I’m proud of the way our kids battled to the end.”
Y-D went on to add two more runs in the eighth to put the game well out of reach.
Falmouth’s hitters were faced with the difficult task of facing hard-throwing right-hander Phil Bickford (Cal State-Fullerton) over the final three frames. The winner of the Outstanding Pro Prospect Award overpowered the Commodores at times. Falmouth was able to muster four singles against Bickford, but the six-foot, five-inch fireballer simply pounded the strike zone and got his team to the finish line without the Commodores adding on to their total.