By Matt Feldman
July 4, 2016
FALMOUTH – After Jeff Passantino (Lipscomb) struck out Clay Fisher (UC Santa Barbara) for Passantino’s sixth strikeout of the game, one fan on the third base side had seen all he needed to see from the stocky right hander.
“This guy must be Cy Young’s great grandson,” the fan remarked as Fisher slowly walked back to the dugout.
Passantino’s dominate performance Monday night, which saw him throw seven innings, earned Passantino the win for the Commodores. His prowess on the mound, which stifled Cotuit bats and kept the Kettleers off the base paths, helped Falmouth to a 2-0 victory over Cotuit at Guv Fuller Field in Falmouth.
In the midst of shutting out the Kettleers defensively, Falmouth’s only runs of the game came on a two-run home run to deep right center field from JJ Matijevic in the top of the fifth inning, which put the Commodores ahead, 2-0.
On June 26, the last time Cotuit played at Falmouth, Passantino threw six innings, allowing just one run on two hits in a 3-2 Commodore victory over Cotuit.
Monday night was no different, as Passantino saw his longest start of the year for Falmouth. In his seven innings of work, the right hander allowed no runs on just two hits and one walk. He struck out seven Cotuit batters in the victory. Currently, Passantino has a .072 ERA in 25 innings pitched for the Commodores.
“(Passantino) probably threw the ball the best of anybody we have seen this year,” Cotuit head coach Mike Roberts said. “He was an effective pitcher for seven innings.”
Ryan Hagan (Mercer) was almost the hero early for Cotuit, sending a shot to deep left field in the top off the second inning. But as the ball carried towards the outfield wall, Josh Watson (TCU) followed it. Just when the ball started to fall over the wall, Watson lept into the air, snagging the ball with his glove as he fell into the fence.
Whether the ball would have been a home run or not was left undetermined, but it would have undoubtedly been an extra base hit— a hit which could have put the Kettleers on the board first.
“(Passantino) knew how to pitch,” Roberts said. “He got a lot of pitches on the outside corner of the plate. He just really pitched well.”
But in contrast to Hagan’s near-miracle moment, Passantino carried a perfect game through four full innings Monday night. It seemed that no matter who Cotuit sent up the the plate, Passantino had the answer— mixing speeds, keeping the ball down in the zone, and leaving the Kettleers’ hitters struggling.
Passantino’s fastball sat only in the mid 80s all night, but he didn’t need overpowering speed to stop Cotuit. All he needed was control.
“Passantino kept the ball really down, extremely well,” Roberts said. “And when he got two strikes, he buried the right handed hitters.”
In the top of the fifth inning, Passantino’s perfect game was broken up by a Quinn Brodey (Stanford) walk. Jason Delay (Vanderbilt) singled later in the inning to break up the no hitter, but the Kettleers could only get Brodey to third base before the inning was ended on an AJ Balta (Oregon) lineout.
Beside’s Delay’s single, Cotuit’s only other hit of the game came courtesy of Hagan, who singled into center field. It was perhaps Cotuit’s worst offensive performance of the season, and a performance which Passantino directly hindered with his own performance on the mound.
“(Passantino) did a fantastic job tonight,” Roberts said. “We didn’t.”