It was a very interesting night of baseball in the CCBL on Monday. It was also a long night, as the Chatham-Bourne game went 13 innings and did not end until after 11:00. In that game, Chatham pulled off the most unlikely of comebacks. The Braves built a 4-0 lead going into the ninth inning. The A's had scored two runs in that inning but were down to their last strike when Evan Ocheltree (Wake Forest) hit a two-run homerun to tie the game. Chatham scored five in the top of the 13th inning, four of those coming on a grand slam by Kyle Bellows (San Jose State), to put the game away. It was truly an amazing comeback by Chatham. The A's had been shutout in 27 consecutive innings heading into the ninth. With Braves closer Eric Pettis (UC-Irvine) coming in to pitch, and only having given up two earned runs all summer, all signs pointed to the home team leaving Doran Park as victors. Pettis was charged with all four ninth inning runs (all earned). Matt Harvey (UNC) overcame control problems (four walks in addition to three hits allowed) to pick up his first win of the summer. Bourne had their chances as they left 13 runners on base. It certainly was a long night for Chatham's Gabe Cohen (UCLA) and Bourne's Kyle Roller (East Carolina) who were both 0-6. The win could be costly for Chatham as Yan Gomes (Tennessee) was hit on the hand while attempting to bunt and had to leave the game.
After spotting Harwich an early 1-0 lead, Cotuit scored four in the fourth and added two in the seventh to hand the Mariners their fourth straight loss. All the runs in that fourth inning were scored after there were two out. Nick Hernandez (Tennessee) continued his strong showing with 6+ innings of five hit ball and picked up his fifth win in the process.
Orleans beat Brewster 6-5. After winning the first game of the season between these two teams, Brewster has lost the last four meetings (with one tie), as the Cardinals won the season series 4-1-1. This was a back-and-forth affair as Orleans answered Brewster's three-run fifth inning with three of their own in the bottom half of that inning to take a 5-4 lead. Orleans scored the eventual winning run in the eighth on Kyle Spraker's (Loyola-Marymount) second homerun of the season and held on as Brewster scored one in the ninth when they left two runners on base. Gary Brown (Cal. St.-Fullerton) is only batting .200 but he has been hitting much better lately and that trend continued last night as he went 2-3, including a two-run homerun. The news off the field in this game could be as significant as what happened on the field. It was reported in the Cape Cod Times that Rich Poythress (Georgia) has played his last game on the Cape and will be going home today. Also, Matt Thomson (San Diego), the starting pitcher for the East in the All Star game, was struck by a foul ball while in the dugout. His status is uncertain and we will have to wait to see if Thomson makes his scheduled start tonight against Chatham. Poythress is going home to have a wrist checked out. That's the official reason. If you read Russ Charpentier's Cape League Insider blog, I think there is a little more mystery (read: doubt) surrounding the injury. Manager Kelly Nicholson's quote is telling - " "It looked pretty good Saturday." Poythress hit a homerun in Saturday's All Star game. All I can add to this is that while at a game in Wareham on Friday, Poythress' parents mentioned a few times that their son is very tired, it has been a long grind with little time off between the College World Series and him coming to the Cape. Nothing was said about an injury. I'm not going to question if anyone is injured, but if you read the Insider, I think you will understand why I said there is some "mystery" regarding Poythress' departure. With shortstop Cole Figueroa leaving earlier, Orleans will be heading into the playoffs without what was the left side of their infield. In the meantime, the Cardinals just continue to win.
Powered by Ryan Jones' (Wichita State) eighth inning grand slam, host Falmouth beat Y-D, 6-2. It was Jones' seventh homerun of the year. The win keeps the Commodores in first place in the West. Nick Tepesch (Missouri) picked up his first win. Falmouth pitching was greatly aided by the defense turning three doubleplays. Y-D stole two bases in the game, but Falmouth catcher Michael Thomas (Southern Univ.) also threw out three Red Sox attempting to steal.
The Hyannis Mets stayed within a point of Falmouth with their 5-1 win over Wareham. Andrew Carraway (Virginia) came up big for the Mets again with eight innings of five hit ball. He struck out eight while not walking a batter. Russell Brewer (Vanderbilt) pitched a 1-2-3 ninth in a non-save situation. Chris Dominguez (Louisville) lead off the sixth with a homerun to give Hyannis a 2-1 lead. That proved to be the winning run but Dominguez didn't stop there. He hit a two-run homerun in the seventh to move his league-leading total to ten.
The Cotuit win, combined with Bourne's loss, moved the Kettleers into third place in the West. Falmouth has 39 points, followed by Hyannis (38), Cotuit (35) and Bourne (34). Wareham's playoff hopes continue to fade as the Gatemen have 29 points and have played one more game than those other teams. Bourne has lost three games in a row while Falmouth and Hyannis have won three straight. Falmouth has now won 9 of their last 10 at Fuller Field. Hyannis' three consecutive wins have come after they lost seven in a row.
In the East, Harwich's four game losing streak continues to keep Chatham's and Brewster's hopes alive. The Mariners have 38 points, while the A's and Whitecaps have 32 pts. Chatham does have a slight advantage over Brewster in the chase because they have a game in hand. Neither Chatham nor Brewster have shown anything that would give hope to them being able to put together a big winning streak to close the regular season, but the A's have one more shot at Harwich while, starting tonight, the Whitecaps and Mariners play each other three more times.
Since they continue to win, I can't say that Orleans has been hurt by the loss of Figueroa and Poythress (although he has only missed one game), but losing those players does stretch the Cardinals depth and it will be interesting to see if they can remain hot through the playoffs. Teams in the West have suffered big losses too. Cotuit has continued to hang in there despite losing the offense of Mike Bianucci (signed) and Robbie Shields (injury) and the pitching of Danny Meszaros (signed). Recently, we heard about the probability of Falmouth's Jimmy Cesario signing. Although I haven't seen an official announcement, Cesario did not play in the game last night. Through the weekend, Cesario was hitting at a .387 clip and his 30 RBI leads the league. Dusty Coleman's (signed) absence will be felt by Bourne. Coleman was batting .330 with 17 RBI. Since his arrival on the Cape, Coleman had played all 26 games at shortstop for the Braves.