I live near the Nobska lighthouse in Woods Hole during the so-called summer. Every morning this summer the deep groan of the fog horn has awakened me from sleep, indicating fog and rain. But today it was quiet. The sun was bright. The air was warm, and you could see for miles in the haze-free August skies. Hall of Famer Ernie Banks once said of a day like this, "It's a beautiful day for a ball game. Let's play two."
That was the plan today in the Cape Cod Baseball League as Friday was set aside as the first round of playoffs for two games. Four teams hoped to advance to the semi-finals against the division champion Bourne Braves (West) and the Y-D Red Sox (East).
We decided to forego the Orleans v. Chatham night game. Instead, I drove the boys to Cotuit this afternoon and caught the 3pm first pitch of the Wareham Gatemen at Cotuit Ketleers elimination game. It was a bright, sparkling afternoon at Lowell Field and we settled in among the Wareham fans along the first base line. We were slightly pulling for Cotuit since a win for the Kettleers would mean more games closer to home.
Lead-off batter Shea Vucinich (Washington State) came out swinging for the Gatemen, taking Cotuit's Justin Grimm of Georgia (right) to left for a double. We had just passed through the forest trail in left field as the first pitch was thrown.
After that glimmer of hope for Wareham, Grimm settled in for the remaining 6 innings. He eventually would strikeout 10 and give up just 3 hits and one run.
Cotuit eliminated Wareham 5-2 to advance in the CCBL playoffs. Despite the loss, I couldn't help feeling that John Wylde would have been pleased with his Gatemen, who enjoyed a good season and a playoff berth. His initials adorned the Wareham uniform all season.
You'd have to give Grimm first-round MVP props. The Cotuit faithful gave him a warm standing ovation when he returned to the dugout in the top of the 7th with a comfortable 5-1 lead.
But I would quickly add Kettleer Cody Stanley (UNC Wilmington) to the MVP list. Stanley singled to center in the 4th and then scored from second. In the 5th he homered to right-center for a two-run dinger.
Submarine pitcher Ben Rowen for the Kettleers looked sharp and got the save.
Wareham's Cole Green (Texas) pitched the first 4.2 innings, giving up 5 runs on 7 hits.
Wareham did not bring its A-game today. Ironically, it was the Cotuit bullpen this afternoon that I overheard complaining that they were ready to go home. With classes about to start and a long rainy season, these guys are ready to call it a season.
But there is a fun, competitive weekend ahead. Let's play two!