It was more of a coronation for Cotuit's Cape League-best 17th championship title than a decisive game two of the CCBL finals.
The Kettleers had a pair of solo home runs in the top of the first, pieced together six runs in the fifth and had a much-needed strong start from Sean Sullivan (California) to dismantle visiting Harwich, 10-3, on August 9 at Lowell Park.
Cotuit wasted little time following their marathon victory a day earlier to jump out to an early lead. Casey Schmitt (San Diego State) and Matthew Mervis (Duke) both went deep to set the tone early and never looked back.
Schmitt went 2-for-4 with two homers, three runs scored, closed out the ninth for the win on the mound, and even scored on a passed ball from third in a heads-up baserunning play. By dominating the Mariners in all three phases of the game, Schmitt took home the playoff MVP honors.
But perhaps the real MVP was the right-handed starter Sullivan, who pitched 6.1 innings and allowed three earned runs on eight hits while striking out five. That performance took the pressure off a taxed bullpen that saw seven pitchers used the night before.
He went the first four innings before allowing his first earned run, pushing his streak of innings in which he hadn't allowed an earned run to 25.
Cotuit doubled its lead to 4-0 in the bottom of the fourth when Schmitt led off the frame with his second solo homer, and four batters later Donta Williams (Arizona) singled in Coltyn Kessler (Kentucky). Harwich cut the lead in half, 4-2, in the fifth but the Kettleers promptly went back to work in the bottom half of the frame.
Parker Chavers (Coastal Carolina) scored Mervis on a sacrifice fly and that began a streak of six-straight Kettleers to score. Adam Oviedo (TCU), Williams, Cody Pasic (Maine), Nick Gonzales (New Mexico State) and Mervis all produced five RBI singles in a row to take what was a 5-3 game into a 10-3 blowout.
Mervis finished the game 4-for-5, with a home run, two RBI and two runs scored. Williams also drove in two runs with his 2-for-4 evening and scored another.
Nick Jones (Georgia Southern) relieved Sullivan, who received a standing ovation from the home crowd when his day was finished. Jones went 1.2 innings and allowed two hits and a walk with four strikeouts and did not allow a run.
For Cotuit, which won six-straight playoff games after dropping the opening game of the second season against Wareham, the championship season was its Cape League-best 17th. It was its first since 2013 and the first time the Kettleers won the title in front of the home crowd during manager Mike Roberts' tenure. The last time Cotuit won at Lowell Park was in 1995.
It took more than five hours and 15 innings to a decide a winner in the first game of the CCBL Finals.
The lights at Harwich's Whitehouse Field had long been lit when Cotuit second baseman Gonzales stepped to the plate and drove in the go-ahead run. The New Mexico State product lined a single to center field, scoring Oviedo to break the 6-6 deadlock in the top of the 15th inning.
Cotuit's close Kyle Nicolas (Ball State) struck out the side in the bottom half of the frame to hold on for a 7-6 win on August 8.
The Kettleers not only ended the game with a run, but opened it with some scoring in the top of the first thanks to the powerful bat of Oraj Anu (Kentucky). The right-hander blasted a three-run homer, jumping on the fourth pitch he saw to give Cotuit a 3-0 lead before the Mariners even recorded an out.
That three-run lead lasted until the bottom of the second inning when Pat Winkel (UConn) had a two-RBI double to close within a run, 3-2. Both teams added a run in the fourth, with Gonzales singling in Oviedo and Winkel homering for Harwich.
Winkel's second home run of the night gave the Mariners a 6-4 lead in the bottom of the eighth. He finished the game 3-for-7 with five RBI and two runs scored. But Cotuit was far from finished at the plate. In the top of the ninth, the Kettleers rallied for two runs, latter of which came with two outs off the bat of Oviedo. Mason McWhorter (Georgia Southern) singled in Anu to pull within a run, 6-5, which allowed Oviedo to knot the game at seven apiece two batters later.
Cotuit used seven pitchers in the extra-inning affair, but none stood out more than Richard Brereton (Emory). The senior righty channeled his inner Nathan Eovaldi and threw six shutout innings of relief from the ninth to the 14th. He allowed one hit and four walks in that span, and struck out five in the win.
Oviedo went 4-for-7 with an RBI and two runs scored while Gonzales had a 3-for-6 evening with two walks, two RBI and a run scored. Onu also went 3-for-6 with three RBI and a home run with two runs scored. Both Schmitt and Kessler had two hits in the game.