Commodores Power Way Into Cape League Playoff Spot

Not that it was really in doubt at this juncture, but the Falmouth Commodores guaranteed themselves a spot in the Cape Cod Baseball League playoffs on Wednesday evening, July 23,  by defeating Brewster, 7-3. With the win, the Commodores moved to 20-1-1 on the season, giving them 41 points overall in the standings. The team is still three games, and six points, behind the Bourne Braves for first in the west division, but their win, coupled with a loss by last-place Wareham, sewed up a chance for the squad to end its championship drought.

Falmouth last won the league title in 1980.

A night after suffering through one big inning by Bourne that cost them a chance to move up the standings, the Commodores hung a big one on the Whitecaps to blow the game open. Falmouth trailed 2-1 entering the bottom of the sixth, but exploded for five runs to take a 6-2 lead. Each team tacked on one run in the eighth.

Conner Hale’s (LSU) fourth home run of the season changed the game’s complexion. With Falmouth down 2-1, and Kevin Newman (Arizona) on first after a walk, Hale unloaded on a pitch, sending it out to center field to give the team a 3-2 lead.

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The ’Dores were just getting started, though. The next batter, Cam O’Brien (West Virginia), was hit by a pitch, forcing a pitching change. Boomer White (Texas Christian) then greeted Levi MaVorhis (Kansas State) by reaching on an infield hit. After a wild pitch, Jake Madsen (Ohio) connected on a double to right-center to score two more, and make it 5-2. Austin Afenir (Oral Roberts) then grounded one that led to an error, and the sixth run of the game for Falmouth.

Alex Young (TCU) started for Falmouth, and pitched well enough to win, but did not factor in the decision. Young allowed two earned runs, on five hits, over five innings of work. Ryan Mosely (Texas Tech) picked up the win in relief, working two shutout frames that saw him allow just one hit, with three Ks and no walks.

Tuesday night saw the Commodores suffer through the one thing that every baseball team dreads, the one really bad inning. The Commodores held a 4-2 lead as they took the game to the top of the eighth, and were primed to make up some ground on the division leaders. A win could have closed the gap to a half-game in the standings, but the Braves exploded for seven runs in the top of the eighth to turn things in their favor.

When reliever Kevin Mooney (Maryland) came on to retire the first batter he faced in the eighth, getting a little come-backer to the mound for the first out of the frame, no one could have foreseen what would follow. Things didn’t look bad after a single, and then a fielder’s choice put Falmouth one out from getting back up to the plate.

Mooney then lost his command and hit back-to-back batters, loading the bases by plunking Zander Wiel (Vanderbilt) and Blake Davey (UConn). The next batter, Harrison Bader (Florida), tied the game with a two-run single to center. Blake Allemand (Texas A&M) then followed with an RBI-single to center that gave Bourne the lead for the first time all night, 5-4.

Garrett Cleavinger (Oregon) relieved Mooney, but it didn’t get much better for the Commodores. Cleavinger allowed a two-run single to the first batter he faced, Jason Delay (Vanderbilt). He struck out the next batter, Sutton Whiting (Louisville), but threw a wild pitch for strike three. Whiting hustled to first, and the inning continued.

Former Commodore Richie Martin Jr. (Florida) made that mistake a costly one. The infielder found a gap and smoked a triple that scored two more and gave Bourne a 9-4 lead.

Steven Duggar (Clemson) had a huge game for Falmouth at the plate, despite the loss. Duggar picked up four hits in five trips to the plate.

On Monday, hits were hard to come by for either team at the Arnie Allen Diamond. Falmouth ace Kevin McCanna (Rice) and Chatham’s Zac Gallen (North Carolina) hooked up in a genuine pitcher’s duel. McCanna, along with help from three relievers, won the battle for Falmouth as the Commodores scored a 3-0 win over the Anglers.

Gallen was quite good for the Anglers, but Falmouth was able to notch two runs against him, making the most of three base hits against the starter. Back-to-back singles to lead off the fourth for Falmouth, by Steven Duggar (Clemson) and Kevin Newman (Arizona) kick-started things for the Commodores, and ended a hitless run to start the game by Falmouth. The team’s third hit in the inning, a single by Cameron O’Brien, broke the scoreless time. Boomer White then reached on a muffed ball by the shortstop, which allowed Falmouth’s second run to score.

Falmouth’s other run in the game came in the eighth against the Chatham relief staff. With Matt Eureste aboard, following a walk, Newman drove a double to the gap to make it a 3-0 game.

Falmouth closer Matt Eckelman made it interesting in the ninth as he battled with control issues. Eckelman walked the first man he faced, then retired the next two before walking the bases full. With the tying runs aboard, and two down, Eckelman ended the drama by getting Ty Moore to ground out to second base to end the game.

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