By Ben Gainsboro, Stetson University
Photos by Josh Muir, Endicott College
August 5th, 2019
What Happened: Cotuit won its third straight game to take the 1-0 lead over the Falmouth Commodores in the western division championship. The final score was 5-0.
A Few Thoughts:
–Offensively, this was a really weird game for both teams. The two squads combined for 16 hits, yet none of those hits went for extra-bases. In fact, it seemed that some of the hardest hit balls of the night were all outs. Nick Gonzales (New Mexico State) hit a rope to third in the top of the ninth that was snagged. Parker Chavers (Coastal Carolina) crushed a ball to deep center field in the fifth that was caught. Falmouth also had some hard-hit balls early in the game that always seemed to find Cotuit gloves.
–The difference? On the not so hard-hit balls, take for example a weakly tapped Oraj Anu (Kentucky) single in the seventh, Cotuit simply found grass. Of course, to give credit where credit is due, Cotuit also received some immensely clutch hits from the likes of Nick Gonzales and Adam Oviedo (Oral Roberts). Both teams played well in the field, both teams pitched well, but it was the timely hitting and the aggressive baserunning of Donta Williams (Arizona) and Gonzales that made the difference offensively.
-Pitching-wise, Cotuit received two wonderful performances from two guys that were “on” the whole night. Getting the start was Trey Holland (Sewanee), his first appearance of the playoffs. All he did in his inaugural performance was go six innings, striking out five Commodores and allowing just four hits (zero runs). He hit his spots all night, with murmurs of “Tom Glavine?” coming from the Falmouth bleachers. Like Glavine, Holland may not have a rifle for an arm (his fastball never climbs past 85), but his ability to paint the corners and throw four different pitches for strikes has made him hard to hit all season.
–Getting the save was Bo Hofstra (Purdue), making his second appearance of the postseason. Though not quite as dominant as Holland, Bo still went three innings and allowed just two hits (zero runs) against this powerful Falmouth lineup. Cotuit’s pitching staff had only seven strikeouts on the night, so Falmouth was consistently putting the ball in play, but it was mostly weak contact (just 6 hits) that never resulted in any sort of rally.
-In fact, Cotuit fans were able to stay pretty level-headed and relaxed for the entire nine innings. Why? A Falmouth baserunner never made it to third base at any point during the game. The Commodores had just two runners in scoring position all night, in the first and ninth innings respectively. Playoff games are never easy on the cardiovascular health of any fan at any level of any sport, but this one was relatively easy sailing for the Cotuit faithful.
-For a team that has been up-and-down all season, winning a stretch of games and then getting cold the next stretch, it should be at least a tad bit unnerving that the Kettleers are getting hot at this point. Cotuit has yet to win more than three games in a row this season and are currently sporting that win streak (3) heading into game two vs. Falmouth tomorrow. The team has never looked better, but the streakiness of the 2019 Cotuit Kettleers has to be in the back of the minds of Coach Roberts and his players.
Lastly, it will be interesting to see how Falmouth comes out tomorrow. This is the team with the best regular season record (27-15-2) in the league. However, as the playoffs have come around, the Commodores have looked very much beatable. None of their first-round matchups with Bourne were blowouts, with two of those games being decided by one run. In game one, we saw very little of the swagger that this team was showing during their stunning 11-game win streak, and a lot more of a team that was searching for answers against a pitcher who had a hittable velocity (80-85). It’ll be interesting to see which Falmouth team shows up for tomorrow’s matchup.
Speaking of tomorrow’s matchup, game two between the Cotuit Kettleers and Falmouth Commodores is set for tomorrow at Lowell Park. Since this is a playoff game, it will be starting an hour earlier than usual. 4:00 P.M. to be exact.