By Ben Gainsboro, Stetson University
Photos by Josh Muir, Endicott College
August 3rd, 2019
What Happened: Cotuit (21-21-4) killed two birds with one stone, both staving off Wareham (25-19-2) and shifting the momentum back to themselves in the process. How did they regain that momentum? Well, a score of 22-2 certainly helps.
A Few Thoughts:
–A football game broke out on Saturday night at Lowell Park, and not a particularly close one either. Cotuit won by three scores, or twenty runs if we are sticking with the sport that was actually being played. Wareham was forced to burn through six pitchers, while Cotuit threw just four.
-In an odd way, this game encapsulated what both of these two teams, at least offensively, showed all season. Albeit, the result was dramatized, but Wareham from day one was a team that hit the ball hard, usually singles, and did a heck of a lot of small ball with work on the base paths. Cotuit, on the other hand, brought out the slugging sticks from early on in the year, leading the CCBL in home runs for the majority of the season (before Falmouth caught them in the end). The hits were not drastically different (Cotuit had 18, Wareham had 10), but the Kettleers poured on ten extra-base hits while Wareham had just one.
-Pitching wise, it was exactly what head coach Mike Roberts had ordered. The formula for pitching success for the Kettleers hasn’t been rocket-science this season. When they throw strikes, the offense can usually do enough to at least keep the game close. However, it’s been that whole “throwing strikes” thing that has been challenging at times for the starters and bullpen. Tonight, none of that was seen. Cotuit walked zero batters, and although the strikeout total wasn’t through the roof (8), it was enough to keep the Gatemen bats quiet. Wareham, meanwhile, gave 11 free passes and struck out just five.
-So, about those twenty-two runs? Yeah, that number at the top of the page is sticking out a little bit. The combined run total of this game is the most the CCBL has seen since the year 2000. And it came in a win or go home playoff game. Wow. Every single Kettleer that had a bat in his hand throughout the game (and there were 12 of them), reached base. That includes Mason McWhorter (Georgia Southern) and Matthew Donlan (Stonehill), who both saw only one at-bat. McWhorter was the only Kettleer to not get a hit, as he reached (and later scored) via a walk.
-Twenty-two runs, part two…In terms of Kettleers who had multiple hits in this game, the list is lengthy. Matt Mervis (Duke) had two, Oraj Anu (Kentucky) had three, Parker Chavers (Coastal Carolina) had three, Adam Oviedo (Oral Roberts) had two, Donta Williams (Arizona) had three and Cody Pasic (Maine) had three. Got to take a breather after that list.
-Another fun list? Players with at least 3 RBI in the game. Most games, having one or two or two guys in that category could be considered a huge success. Well, Cotuit had four of them. Oraj Anu led the way with five RBI, while Mervis, Williams, and Pasic all had three. That’s fourteen runs right there, and Cotuit still had eight more to spare.
-A huge aspect of tomorrow’s game is going to be the bullpens of the respective teams. Wareham has used ten different arms so far in the postseason, while Cotuit has used nine. Still, even with that, it is hard to deny that Wareham holds the advantage (on paper) heading into tomorrow for bullpen arms. Wareham still has four very good arms that have yet to be used heading into tomorrow. Ben Leeper (Oklahoma State) owned a 3.60 ERA coming out of the pen for the Gatemen during the regular season, Joe Rock (Ohio) has yet to allow a run through three innings, Brandon Pfaadt (Bellamine) owns a 2.81 ERA, and Trent Palmer (Jacksonville) has been a top reliever since day one (1.44 ERA). Now, to call Cotuit pitchers dead in the water would be disrespectful. Trey Holland (Sewanee), Casey Schmitt (San Diego State), Matt Mervis (Duke) and Beck Way (Belmont Abbey) have all pitched very well this season for Cotuit and are fresh. The difference? The four Wareham guys have been steady all year, while guys like Way, Mervis, and Holland have been more up and down. The one rock-steady reliever Cotuit has for tomorrow’s game is Schmitt, who owned a 2.45 ERA in the regular season.
-So, who’s getting the start? We will find out by noon tomorrow, be assured. As of right now, it is a guessing game. All signs for Cotuit seem to be pointing to Trey Holland, who has allowed three earned in his nine innings of starting work so far for Cotuit. The best part about Holland? He has only walked two guys in twelve innings. For Wareham, it appears that the ball is going to be given to Brandon Pfaadt. Pfaadt has acted more like a reliever so far this season for Wareham, with seven of his nine appearances coming from the pen. What makes Pfaadt an enticing starting prospect, however, has to be his utter domination of Cotuit so far this season. Few guys have handled the Kettleers loaded lineup as well as Pfaadt, who has gone eight innings against them. In those eight innings (two appearances), Brandon has struck out 12 Kettleers and allowed just two hits (zero runs). Again, the pitching matchup is just a projected one at this point, but Cotuit is going to have to most likely overcome Pfaadt to advance to round two.
-And, about round two…It looked like the team with the best record on the Cape (Falmouth) was going to cruise to an easy series victory over the Bourne Braves after yesterday’s win. Not so fast. The Braves won game two, so game three will be played tomorrow at Falmouth. While the east final is already decided (Harwich vs. Y-D), it is going to come down to two game threes to decide the fate of the western championship tomorrow night.
What’s Next? Cotuit heads back to Wareham for the decisive game three tomorrow. First pitch is set for 6:45 P.M. at Spillane Field.