The Cape League’s West Division standings are extremely competitive this summer with Cotuit, Wareham and Falmouth all in contention for the top spot.

The Cotuit Kettleers scored a big win over their division rivals from Falmouth and opened up a little breathing room over the Commodores with a 6-1 win at Lowell Park in Cotuit on Wednesday, July 10.

The first six innings of the game were rather low-event baseball. Cotuit took a 1-0 lead in the third when Allbry Major chopped a ground ball to second that brought Adam Oviedo in from third with the game’s first run. Falmouth answered with a run in the top of the fourth, tying it on a sacrifice fly to center by Troy Claunch (Oregon State) that scored Zach Deloach (Texas A&M), who had singled to open the inning and went to second on a hit by Trei Cruz (Rice) and to third on a wild pitch.

Cotuit did not trail for long. The Kettleers got that run back in the bottom of the frame when Mason McWhorter (Georgia Southern) hit a long double to left-center that brought home Joey Loperfido (Duke), who had singled on the fourth pitch of the inning. McWhorter advanced to third on a wild pitch, but was stranded there.

In the late innings the Kettleers put the game away. Major drove in his second run of the game, making it 3-1, with a double that brought in Christian Robinson (Stanford), who had led off the inning with a single. After a pitching change, Casey Schmitt (San Diego State) rolled one back to the mound that was mishandled, and Kyle Nicholas (Ball State) slid in safely on a close play at the plate to give the Kettleers a 4-1 lead.

The Kettleers added two more in the eighth to blow it open. McWhorter led the inning off with a single, and then Donta Williams (Arizona) walked in front of Robinson, who doubled home two runs with a long fly to center before being thrown out at third in an attempt to turn his two-bagger into three.

Reliever Bo Hofstra (Purdue) picked up the win. Hofstra entered with a man on and no outs in the fifth and worked two scoreless frames to earn his third win of the year, all of which have come in relief.

Falmouth starter Nick Nastrini (UCLA) suffered the defeat, though he pitched well. Nastrini gave up two runs over five innings. Cotuit strung six hits together off the righty, who struck out three and did not walk any.

Hawks Handled

Zach Deloach (Texas A&M) continued his assault on Cape League pitching with another big day for the Commodores on Tuesday, July 9. Deloach hammered his second and third home runs of the season and increased his batting average to .400 for the season with a 3-for-4 day at the plate as the Commodores beat Hyannis, 8-1, at McKeon Park.

Designated hitter Tyler Ras (Alabama) had two doubles and a walk and leadoff hitter and second baseman Hayden Cantrelle (Louisiana Lafeyette) went 2-for-5.

Sam Strickland (Rice) made his second straight excellent start for Falmouth. Strickland twirled six strong innings, also for the second game in a row, allowing five hits and one earned run. He fanned seven and walked one while improving his record to 2-1 on the year.

Loss In Bourne

Two teams that had been headed in opposite directions pulled 180-degree turns at Doran Park in Bourne on Monday, July 8.

The Falmouth Commodores had been running red hot, winning three straight and seven of their last nine games. The Bourne Braves had been riding the struggle bus, sporting one of the Cape Cod Baseball League’s most anemic offenses through the first half of the season.

For one night the teams completely changed roles. Falmouth, which had been running hot with their bats, were held to a paltry three hits by Bourne pitching and the Braves could do no wrong at the plate as they exploded for 13 hits in a 14-0 home victory over the Commodores.

Bourne grabbed the lead in the bottom of the first and never looked back. The team scored runs in six of the eight trips it had at the dish in the game, failing to plate runs in just the second and sixth innings. They followed that zero up in the sixth by putting four spots on the board in both the seventh and eighth frames. With the lead in hand they did not bat in the ninth.

Bourne’s offense was not carried by just one player. The roster produced up and down the lineup. Ten different players had at least one hit in the game. Jackson Greer (East Tennessee State) had the biggest knock of the game, an eighth inning grand slam for his first home run of the season. Greer also walked in the game and scored two runs.

Falmouth starter Chris Gonzalez (Stetson) was hung with the loss in the game. Gonzalez was touched up for six runs, three earned, on five hits with two walks. The game got away from Gonzalez in the fourth. With a man on and two outs, the starter had a chance to get out of the inning without any runs scored against him but the Braves came up with two hits in a row before a Commodores fielding error plated another run and put the team down 4-0. Bourne tacked on two more in the fifth and that was more than enough.

Offensively the Commodores had three hitters collect one hit each. Hayden Cantrelle (LSU) and Zach Deloach (Texas A&M) had singles while Tyler Ras (Alabama) had the only extra-base hit for the team, a double.

Bourne ace Mac Lardner (Gonzaga) earned the win. Lardner went seven strong innings, striking out eight and allowing just two hits and no walks. Lardner improved to 2-1 and lowered his earned run average to 0.81. He has allowed just two earned runs over 22 innings this summer so far.

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