The first round of the 2019 Cape Cod Baseball League Playoffs has now concluded and as usual very few people could have predicted the results. Highlighted by tremendous pitching performance and record-breaking offensive outputs the first round had anything a Cape League fan could want.
West Division Quarter Finals
(4) Bourne Braves vs. (1) Falmouth Commodores
Gm.1: Falmouth 3 Bourne 2
Gm. 2: Bourne 3 Falmouth 1
Gm. 3: Falmouth 8 Bourne 2
Falmouth Advances 2-1
The Falmouth Commodores have been the best team on Cape Cod for the last few weeks and they looked primed to show just that against the fourth seeded Bourne Braves, their first opponent this year as they look to win their first Cape League title since 1980. The first two games were close affairs highlighted by timely hitting and terrific pitching, leading to a split in the first two games and forcing a decisive game three in Falmouth. What has looked like it was going to be a close match up to mirror the first two quickly turned in favor of the hometown Commodores as Falmouth starter Franco Aleman (Florida International) threw 6.1 innings of no hit baseball while home runs from Trei Cruz (Rice) and Steven Moretto (Cal St. Sacramento) put the ‘Dores decisively on top, and moving onto the next round with a final score of 8-2 Falmouth.
(3) Cotuit Kettleers vs. (2) Wareham Gatemen
Gm.1: Wareham 8 Cotuit 7 (10)
Gm.2: Cotuit 22 Wareham 2
Gm.3: Cotuit 4 Wareham 1
Cotuit Advances 2-1
From the beginning of this series both the Cotuit Ketteleers and the Wareham Gateman looked to be two evenly matched teams. Wareham jumped out in front early in game one scoring six runs in the bottom of the first, only to have Cotuit steadily chip away towards the end of the game and force extra innings before Trey Lipscomb (Tennessee) hit a walk off single that put Wareham one win away from going back to the Western Division Finals. However, the series would take a dramatic turn in Game 2 at Lowell Park in Cotuit. Wareham fans walked into the game with high hopes of keeping the teams run of form in check and punching their ticket to the next round, little did they know they were about to witness a beatdown of record proportions. Game 2 ended with a playoff record setting score line of Cotuit 22 – Wareham 2 (you read that correctly), setting the record for most runs scored by a single team in a playoff game. The beatdown featured a playoff record 24 total runs, 30 hits combined, and 3 errors, while Cotuit hit four home runs, had nine players record multiple RBI’s (lead by Kentucky outfielder Oraj Anu with 5), and having every player in their lineup score at least one run. The next night Cotuit kept the bats hot in Game 3 at Clem Spillane Field and ultimately took Game 3 and the series with a much more down to earth 4-1 victory. Following the offensive outpouring many people are wondering if the road to the Arnold Mycock Trophy once again runs through Arnie’s beloved hometown of Cotuit.
East Division Quarter Finals
(4) Harwich Mariners vs. (1) Chatham Anglers
Gm.1: Harwich 1 Chatham 0
Gm.2: Harwich 4 Chatham 2
Harwich advances 2-0
While the West quarter finals both went three games the East chose to be a day quicker, with both series wrapping up in two games and sending one of the East Division regular season co-champions packing. In Game 1 of the first quarter final, a tremendous pitching performance from Harwich starter Connor McCullough (Kansas St.) and three innings of perfect relief from one of the best closers on Cape Cod Joe Boyle (Notre Dame) not only defeated the Anglers in what would prove to be their last home game of the year, but no hit them as well with McCullough surrendering the only Chatham baserunners of the game on three walks. A single from Chris Galland (Boston College) in the sixth to knock in Hal Hughes (LSU) proved to be the only offense of the game and with a combined no hitter tossed on the defensive side the lone run proved to be all that mattered. The following night in Harwich the Mariners again took care of business and held off a late rally by the Anglers to claim Game 2 and the series, advancing to the Eastern Finals for the first time since 2011 when they claimed the league crown.
(3) Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox vs. (2) Orleans Firebirds
Gm.1: Y-D 7 Orleans 6
Gm.2: YD 11 Orleans 7
Yarmouth-Dennis advances 2-0
Despite getting out to an early 4-1 lead the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox couldn’t rest of their laurels and cruse to a win in Game 1. The Red Sox tacked on one more in the eight and two more in the ninth to make the score 7-1 going to the final frame where the Firebirds bats finally came alive and pushed across five runs in the bottom of the ninth and pulling within one run before grounding out to end the game, leaving the bases loaded and handing the Red Sox a game one win. Game 2 of the series read much like Game 1 but in reverse, with the Firebirds jumping out to an early lead and leaving it to the Red Sox to come back; and come back they did. Y-D scored five unanswered runs between the third and the fourth, tacked on two more in the fifth, another in the sixth, and three more in the seventh while battling off the Firebirds 13 hits to take the game with the final score of 11-7.
Cotuit Ketteleers vs. Falmouth Commodores
Harwich Mariners vs. Y-D Red Sox
Check back with Codball after the series for a complete breakdown of the action and a preview of the 2019 Cape League Championship Series.