By Ben Gainsboro, Stetson University
Photos by Josh Muir, Endicott College
Video by Jacob Cohen, Boston University
July 30th, 2019
Cotuit (19-19-4) had a golden opportunity to gain some ground on the Wareham Gatemen (22-18-2) following a 14-6 loss by the latter earlier in the day.
With the loss, Cotuit trailed Wareham by just four points with three games remaining (at the time) on the schedule.
All they had to do was take out Falmouth, a team with the best record in the Cape league with twenty-five wins.
Seems easy enough, right?
Well, Falmouth also just so happened to be pitching Franco Aleman (FIU), a righty who had been sporting a .32 ERA heading into the game.
Not so easy.
But, instead of rolling over and quitting against the dominant righty, Cotuit came out with the bats blazing.
In the first, with Oraj Anu (Kentucky) on first following a hit-by-pitch, Matthew Mervis (Duke) stepped up and smacked a laser to right field, his second home run of the season. The shot traveled 372 feet and was 102 MPH off of the bat. Just like that, Cotuit had a 2-0 advantage over the best starter on the Cape.
Trey Holland (Sewanee) kept the Commodores bats silent for the first two innings but stumbled a bit in the third when Blake Dunn (Western Michigan) hit a sacrifice-fly to score Hayden Cantrelle (Louisiana-Lafayette).
Anu picked up Holland in the next frame, however, launching a 1-1 fastball 373 feet over the right field fence, good for his sixth RBI on the season.
The lead would not last, however, as Matheu Nelson (Florida State) hit his first home run of the season in the top of the fourth, a two-run shot to left field. The long ball tied the game at 3, while the fourth inning would prove to be Holland’s last.
“Trey did an excellent job,” Coach Mike Roberts said postgame. “A couple mistakes in there when he went 0-2 on a guy and kind of played around a little bit, then walked him. But, as far as: ‘is Trey doing exactly what I want all of our pitchers to do?’ Yes, he is. I’m very pleased with his performance.”
In the fourth, Aidan Maldonado (Illinois) took over for Aleman, ending his day with three earned runs in three innings pitched. The FIU product’s ERA rose from just .32 entering the game to 1.16 by game’s end.
Adam Oviedo (Oral Roberts) was able to score Christian Robinson (Stanford) from third in the fourth inning, giving the Kettleers the lead back at 4-3. It was Oviedo’s 18th RBI on the season.
In the fifth, with Richard Brereton (Emory) on the mound and Zach DeLoach (Texas A&M) at the plate, DeLoach was able to better Richard, sending a single to left field to score Hayden Cantrelle from third. After five, the game was knotted at 4.
With the light starting to dwindle and Casey Schmitt (San Diego State) on the mound in the top of the seventh, the Commodores broke the tie courtesy of a Jackson Coutts (Rhode Island) sac-fly and Baron Radcliff (Georgia Tech) triple.
Cotuit went down quietly in the bottom of the seventh, and while the game would go into an eighth inning for Falmouth’s round of at-bats, it would be called for darkness before the home half of the same inning.
With the playoffs quickly approaching and Cotuit on a three-game slide, Coach Roberts remained cool and collected postgame.
“We need to throw strikes,” Coach Roberts said. “We threw strikes relatively well today but there were two walks that definitely scored. If you look at the stat-sheet, we have about 145 walks coming into today and Falmouth had 77. Everything else is very equitable, and the reason that their record is up above ours is because they throw strikes.”
Pitching figures to be a huge factor for Cotuit looking ahead to game one against Wareham on Friday.
Before we get there, however, Cotuit concludes its regular season schedule on Wednesday at Guv Fuller Field, the home of these same Falmouth Commodores (26-13-2). Game one of the double-header is set for 3:00 P.M., while game two is set for 6:00 P.M.