Young Pitches Commodores To 1-0 Lead In West Finals
By: RICH MACLONE, August 11, 2014
Coming onto the field on Sunday, August 10, at Guv Fuller Field, Alex Young was clearly amped up. The lefty from Texas Christian knew that he was taking the hill for the biggest game of his team’s season so far, and he wanted to pitch well for the Falmouth Commodores against the Cotuit Kettleers in the first game of the Cape Cod Baseball League West Division finals.
He might’ve wanted to pitch well a little too much. After striking out the first batter of the game, Young began to struggle with his command. He walked the next batter, then hit a man, putting two on base for cleanup hitter Kyle Holder (San Diego).
Young didn’t panic. Instead he found himself and came back to strike out Holder looking and then got Brendan Hendriks (San Francisco) to line out to Steven Duggar (Clemson) in right field to end the inning.
From that moment on, Young was in a groove, one he never left in Falmouth’s 3-1 victory. The lefty retired five in a row before surrendering an infield hit to Drew Jackson (Stanford) on a grounder into the hole at shortstop.
Kevin Newman (Arizona) nearly pulled off the play of the night to steal that hit away from Jackson, but his throw was just late. It didn’t matter, though, that Newman’s best Derek Jeter impersonation didn’t work out, because the starting pitcher for Falmouth just bounced back to start getting outs again, 13 in a row before that stretch was ended in the seventh inning.
“When I went into the game, I usually have so much adrenaline, I usually get that guy, but then I just kind of struggled with my pitches. I didn’t really locate (well). I didn’t want to get overwhelmed, so I just took some deep breaths,” Young said.
Those deep breaths paid off as the starting pitcher dominated, finishing the night with eight strikeouts, four hits and just one earned run allowed over eight innings. He was economical in his excellence as well, needing just 89 pitches before turning the ball over to Matt Eckelman (St. Louis) in the ninth inning. Eckelman worked around an error and a base hit to get the save, his second of the postseason.
“It felt good, especially against Cotuit,” Young said. “I know that there’s a big rivalry there with Cotuit, and it felt good to get a win for the community of Falmouth.”
All of the runs the Commodores needed were provided in the bottom of the second inning. Matt Eureste turned on a Logan James (Stanford) fastball and sent it over the right field wall for a three-run homer. The shot cleared the wall by a few feet and plated Boomer White (Texas A&M), who had led off the inning with a single, and Austin Afenir (Oral Roberts), who lined a hit up the middle with one down. James came back to strike out
Sam Gillikin (Auburn) for the second out of the inning, but the left-hander left a fastball over the middle of the plate and Eureste demolished the mistake.
“It felt good, he left it middle, in, and I got it,” the Falmouth second baseman said. “It’s nice to contribute to a win like that.”
James wasn’t bad in the battle of left-handed pitchers, but that one mistake proved very costly. He suffered the loss, working 5-1/3 innings while allowing five hits and five walks with six strikeouts.
The win brings Falmouth closer to a Cape League championship, which would be its first in 34 years if the team is able to pull off the trick. Young, who may have made his last appearance of the season, said he plans on being around to see it happen and will not opt to exit Falmouth now that he’s most likely done pitching for the season.
“I’m staying here. I want to win it all,” he said.
Manager Jeff Trundy would love to win it all as well. Regardless of the outcome of the rest of the playoffs, though, the longtime skipper of the team is feeling very good about what his team has accomplished to this point.
“Whatever the ultimate outcome is, I love this bunch of kids,” Trundy said. “They mean the world to me, the way that they’ve come together, the way that they’re having fun, the way that they play together. They’re having fun. That’s really, to me, the ultimate goal.
“If you get something else along the way, if you have success, that’s great. They’re doing everything that I could imagine a team should do.”
Game 2 of the West Division finals is on Monday, August 11, at 4 PM at Lowell Park in Cotuit. The winner of the best-of-three series will play the winner of the East Division final series between Harwich and Yarmouth-Dennis.