Notes as the Cape Cod Baseball League playoffs get underway. It’s Harwich vs. Chatham and Y-D vs. Orleans in the East; Falmouth vs. Hyannis and Wareham vs. Bourne in the West.
Falmouth and Harwich were the two teams that missed the playoffs last year. This year, they enter as the top seeds and the two best teams essentially all year long. Falmouth will be looking for its second finals appearance in three years, having come up short against Y-D in 2014. Harwich last made the finals in 2011, when it beat Falmouth.
Can the No. 2 seed be a favorite? Until Y-D packs its bags and heads home, no one else in the league will be able to rest easy. The Red Sox have won two straight league championships and five since 2004. Each of the last two years, they won as the No. 3 seed.
Harwich heads into the playoffs with the league’s best pitching staff. As mentioned here a few days ago, the Mariners were on pace to hit a 15-year low for runs allowed and they did it with room to spare, allowing 103 runs on the season. The previous low was 117.
The Mariners are also home to the league MVP. Infielder Ernie Clement, who hit .353 and stole 19 bases, took top honors in a year in which there wasn’t a shoo-in power-hitting type like usual.
Y-D and Wareham, with three straight wins apiece, are the hottest teams entering the playoffs. Wareham is probably a little hotter overall, with only one loss in its final 10 games. Batting champ Cole Freeman leads the offense.
Brewster had the league’s top offensive attack for much of the season but it’s Orleans that enters the playoffs with the best team batting average. The Firebirds’ Garrett Benge, who was hitting .194 two weeks ago, is the league’s hottest hitter over the last seven days, with an even .500 batting average.
Can Hyannis right the ship? I don’t know if a Cape League team has ever backed into the playoffs as emphatically as Hyannis did. Usually, eight straight losses will hurt a little too much. But the Harbor Hawks had enough of a cushion on Cotuit to stay in the fourth spot despite limping to the finish.