The West is Won

Hunter Steinmetz had two RBI in the season finale.
Hunter Steinmetz had two RBI in the season finale.

 

It took until the final day of the regular season, but the Cape League’s wild West Division race has finally been settled. Cotuit lost to Y-D Thursday afternoon, which secured the title for Falmouth. The Commodores promptly went out and made it a little more decisive with a 9-7 win over Hyannis.

The Commodores have been my pick for the West’s best in the Right Field Fog Power Rankings for much of the summer, but they had their ups and downs and couldn’t break free in the standings until the last few days. They’ve won four games in a row and seven of their last nine. They’ll be the West’s top seed in the playoffs for the second year in a row.

The offense stayed hot in the win over Hyannis. Trevor Larnach (Oregon State), Adley Rutschman (Oregon State) and Hunter Steinmetz (Missouri State) drove in two runs each. Clayton Daniel (Jacksonville State) and Joshua Breaux (McLennan CC) knocked in a run apiece.

It was a staff day on the mound, with Ian Koch (Western Illinois) – the third of seven pitchers – earning the win. Breaux, who pitched a little for McLennan in the spring and made two short appearances earlier this summer, pitched the ninth and struck out the side around a walk.

Falmouth will enter the playoffs in a tie for the most runs scored in the league and with the highest mark in home runs, doubles and slugging percentage.

Brewster 11, Harwich 10

Brewster won a wild slugfest with Harwich to claim the No. 3 seed in the East Division. The teams combined for 24 hits, but Brewster had a little more, going ahead 9-6 in the fifth and 11-6 in the eighth before holding off a final charge from Harwich for the crucial win. Michael Curry (Georgia) homered, while Mickey Gasper (Bryant) and A.J. Graffanino (Washington) drove in two runs each. Zack Gahagan (North Carolina) had two hits and scored two runs. Late roster addition Conor McNamara (Marist) went 3.1 scoreless innings of relief for the win. Brewster has won five of its last seven games, a stretch that includes a win over Y-D, its first-round playoff opponent. Harwich, who had already been eliminated from playoff contention, got back-to-back home runs in the ninth from Josh Smith (LSU) and Cobie Vance (Alabama) but the comeback ended there. Smith finished 4-for-4 with two home runs and five RBI.

Bourne 12, Wareham 5

Two games against a depleted Wareham pitching staff was just what the doctor ordered for the Braves. After losing five in a row, they ended the season with 25 runs in two wins over the Gatemen. Jared Triolo (Houston) went 2-for-4 with a homer and two RBI in the latest onslaught. Grant Williams had three hits and scored three runs. Jameson Hannah (Dallas Baptist) – red hot the last two weeks – stretched his hitting streak to 13 with a 2-for-4, two RBI day. Richard Palacios (Towson) also drove in two. Wareham, which has had a ton of late roster turnover, got home runs from newcomers Joe Drpich (Siena) and Giovanni Dingcong (St. Thomas Aquinas). Dingcong set the career NECBL home run record earlier this summer. The Gatemen hit the playoffs with a 2-8 record in their last 10 games.

Y-D 12, Cotuit 4

The Red Sox blasted four home runs and rolled past Cotuit, ending a string of three losses in their last four games. Carlos Cortes (South Carolina), Luke Miller (Indiana), Carter Pharis (UAB) and Nicholas Quintana (Arizona) all went deep for Y-D, with Cortes also hitting a triple and finishing 4-for-4 with four RBI. Tommy Henry (Michigan) struck out six in three innings of relief for the win. Cotuit, which settles for second place in the West, got home runs from Terrin Vavra (Minnesota) and Luke Alexander (Mississippi State).

Orleans 6, Chatham 4

With Brewster winning earlier in the day, Chatham locked in to the No. 4 seed, making its finale a playoff preview, as well. The Firebirds won it to finish with a record of 29-15, the best mark in the league. Chatham led 3-0 but Orleans scored three runs in the sixth inning and three more in the seventh to jump in front. Jaxx Groshans (Kansas) and Austin Hale (Stetson) homered to lead the Orleans attack. Joey Murray (Kent State) was credited with the win with two scoreless innings of relief and J.T. Hintzen (Florida Southern) picked up the save.

What to Watch

A day of rest today before the playoffs open Saturday. We’ll have the final edition of the power rankings posted later today.

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