Anyone who was putting together a recipe for victory would not have scribbled down the ingredients that the Falmouth Commodores were working with on Wednesday, July 24, at Guv Fuller Field. The Commodores’ offense managed just one hit and the defense made three errors in the game, but none of that mattered as the home team rallied for an improbable 2-1 come-from-behind victory against their top competitors for the west division title this summer.
The win was the seventh in a row for the red hot Dores. They improved to 20-12-1 overall (41 points) and edged two points ahead of the Gatemen for first place in the standings. Falmouth entered action on Thursday night’s in Orleans with 11 games remaining on their schedule, the most in the Cape League. Wareham had eight games to play.
Wareham owned a 1-0 lead for most of the night. Gatemen leadoff hitter Braiden Ward (Washington) singled on the first pitch of the night by Franco Aleman (Florida International) and then spent the next few minutes in a one-on-one battle with the pitcher as he inched further and further from first base to lengthen his lead, and Aleman threw over to the bag time and again in an effort to keep the league’s premier base stealer close. Ward’s fleet feet won out as he finally was able to get a jump and steal second after five pickoff tries by Aleman. The throw to second got away and Ward advanced to third. He later scored with one away when Jacob Teter lined a single to center field.
Aleman was rock solid the rest of his outing. He gave up three hits in the first, and then just one over the last four innings. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out five.
Falmouth, though, had lots of trouble with the Wareham pitching. Gatemen starter Levi Prater (Oklahoma) was pulled after throwing 18 pitches over two scoreless innings, but Brandon Pfaadt (Bellmarine) then was thrown into the mix and excelled. He worked into the eighth inning, going 5.1 innings, and allowed just one hit and struck out three. He was on the mound, though, as the Commodores began their unexpected comeback.
Prater and Pfaadt held Falmouth without a base hit over the first seven innings. Austin Langworthy (Florida) broke that up for the Dores in the eighth when he hit the first pitch from Pfaadt through the infield for a single. Steve Moretto then bunted Langworthy to second.
Wareham went to the bullpen from there, bringing Jason Ruffcorn (Oklahoma) on to relieve Pfaadt. Things were rough for Ruffcorn. Matt Nelson beat out a fielder’s choice on a roller to first to put men on the corners and then a sac fly to left from Austin Masel (Cal State Sacramento) tied the game for the home team. Wareham then intentionally walked Hayden Cantrelle (Louisiana Lafayette) to set up a force play. That decision did not pan out well, though, when Ruffcorn walked Blake Dunn (Western Michigan) to load the bases.
MVP candidate Zach Deloach (Texas A&M) then drove in the eventual game-winning RBI without having to life the bat off his shoulder. Deloach also walked on four pitches, forcing in the go-ahead run. Wareham brought on a new pitcher after that and got out the inning, but the damage was done with Falmouth up 2-1.
Zach Bryzykcy (Virginia Tech) was summoned to close things out in the ninth and was perfect. He faced three and struck out three, earning his sixth save of the year.
Falmouth 4, Brewster 1
Continuing their hottest run of the summer, the Commodores first post-All Star Game contest had them travel to the Lower Cape to take on the Whitecaps. In a game shortened by darkness to seven innings, the Dores made a four-run third inning stand up in a 4-1 victory, the team’s fifth-straight win.
The win moved the team into first place by itself for the first time this summer, two points ahead of rained-out Cotuit and Wareham.
Nick Nastrini (UCLA) picked up his second win of the season in his fourth-straight strong effort for the team. The right-handed starter struck out six for the second game in a row and scattered five hits. He allowed one earned run and two walks.
Minnesota native Aidan Maldonado (Illinois) picked up the save, his first, with two innings of relief. The middle reliever did not surrender a run while allowing a hit and a walk. Four of the six outs he recorded were by strikeout.
All summer long the Commodores have been very aggressive on the base paths, and coach Jeff Trundy’s philosophy helped the team to stake itself to the lead as the running game sparked the team’s big third-inning rally. After the first batter of the inning was retired, leadoff man Hayden Cantrelle (Louisiana Lafayette) and no. 2 hitter Blake Dunn each walked. Cantrelle was running on the pitch that resulted in ball four to Dunn and went to third on a throwing error by the catcher. Dunn then continued Falmouth’s running attack by swiping second on the second pitch to Zach Deloach, which resulted in yet another throwing error. Cantrelle came around to score the play, breaking the ice to make it 1-0, and Dunn took third.
Deloach, who played in the previous day’s all-star game, was then hit by a pitch to again put runners on the corners for the Commodores. Trei Cruz made it 2-0 in favor of the Dores with an RBI-single to right.
The base paths continued to be full of Commodores as Brewster starter Connor Shamblin’s (Alabama) tough inning continued. Shamblin hit Troy Claunch with a pitch to load the bases up.
Shamblin nearly escaped the tough frame with limited damage, though. He struck out power hitter Baron Radcliff for the second out of the inning and was one out away from the end of the frame. Jackson Coutts made things worse for him, though, by driving a single on the first pitch that he saw. Both Deloach and Cruz scored on the play to give Falmouth a 4-0 lead at Stony Brook Field.
From there the Commodores cruised to the early finish line. Brewster’S TJ Collett homered in the fourth inning with two outs and no one aboard to make it 4-1. It was the seventh home run of the summer for the DH. Tyler Gentry then singled to keep the inning going, but Nastrini got a pop-up to end the frame and worked around a jam in the fifth before turning it over to Maldonado.