By Mike Walsh
Kettleers Media Intern
August 8, 2012
FALMOUTH – The Cotuit Kettleers have treated the last two games of the regular season like must-wins. Despite locking up the No. 1 overall seed days ago, the team opted to finish off their sparkling regular season in style. On Tuesday night in Falmouth, the Kettleers launched three home runs en route to a 9-3 victory.
The win was not without bearing on the league’s playoff situation. Cotuit’s sweep of the season-ending home-and-home knocked the Commodores into the No. 3 seed and lost them home field advantage in the first round. Falmouth will now have to open the playoffs on the road at Wareham instead of Guv Fuller Field.
Cotuit’s playoff spot and opponent were already decided by virtue of Bourne’s tie-breaker over Hyannis. After the opener Thursday at 4:00pm at Lowell Park, the Kettleers will travel to the Braves’ home field for game two on Friday (7:00pm). If necessary, the series travels back to Cotuit on Saturday.
Even with all that in their back pocket, Cotuit refused to let up against the possible second round opponent. For now, this was a game of intimidation.
“We just wanted to come out and get our 30th win. It’s pretty cool, not a lot of players on the Cape get to do that,” said Patrick Biondi, who was previously named the team’s position-player MVP.
The visitors got things started in the second inning with who else but Biondi (single) and Tony Kemp (walk) setting the table. After the two successfully stole their next base, Biondi scored on a passed ball. Then, following a Billy Bereszniewicz walk, Cael Brockmeyer swatted a three-run homer, his fifth of the season. Brockmeyer’s shot staked Cotuit to a 4-0 lead.
The Kettleers would pick up a run in both the third and fourth innings. In the third, Derek Smith led off with a double and was singled home by James Roberts. In the fourth, Galli Cribbs Jr. walked and scored on Adam Nelubowich’s double.
The Biondi-Kemp connection struck again in the fifth. Biondi worked a four-pitch walk to lead off the inning. He wasn’t on base for too long though, as Kemp put the second pitch he saw over the fence. The two-run shot was Kemp’s third of the season and gave the Kettleers an 8-2 lead. His 29 RBI led Cotuit in the regular season. Biondi also finished with a team-high 37 runs scored.
“It really meant a lot because it was voted on by the team, and a lot of guys had great seasons,” said Biondi of his MVP honors. “Tony definitely deserved it.”
The Kettleers tacked on an additional run in the seventh on Angel Rosa’s first homer of the season.
It was a pitcher-by-committee on the mound for Cotuit in the finale. Tim Mayza earned the start, but went only 2.2 innings, surrendering one run and striking out four. Jacob Stone relieved him and earned the win with 2.1 innings of his own. Mike Ford (three innings) and Mike Gomez (one inning) finished off Falmouth.
“Tonight was a real staff effort,” said Mayza. “We pounded the zone pretty good, threw a lot of strikes. Just let our defense take care of the rest.”
Biondi finished the season shy of .400, but led the league with his .388 batting average. He was closely trailed by both Daniel Aldrich (.350) and Kemp (.343), who finished second and third in the CCBL. Biondi also finished second in runs scored (37). Kemp led the league in stolen bases with 18 and triples with five. Nelubowich’s RBI double in the fourth inning was his league leading 14th.
The win puts Cotuit at 30-14, the best record the Cape Cod Baseball League has seen since 2007. Their 60 points are five more than the closest competitor, Harwich. They will have home field advantage throughout the playoffs.