In a battle of two evenly matched teams, the Cotuit Kettleers rebounded from a series-opening walk-off loss in extra innings to second-seeded Wareham by outscoring the Gatemen 26-3 in the next two games to advance to the West Division finals.
Much like they had done throughout the 44-game regular season where the Kettleers led the Cape League in extra-base hits and home runs, Cotuit bashed its way past Wareham in fairly methodical fashion.
Below is a recap of Cotuit’s three-game first round series against Wareham that set up a finals showdown with Falmouth for the right to play for the Mycock Trophy in the Cape League finals.
The Gatemen had a walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th to earn an 8-7 win to open their first-round West Division series against Cotuit at Spillane Field on Friday, August 2.
Cotuit's fifth pitcher of the game, Kyle Nicolas (Ball State), who was entering his third inning of work, took the loss despite allowing just one earned run on three hits and a walk while fanning four.
Cotuit’s left-handed starter, Jackson Wolf (West Virginia). allowed six earned runs on four hits and a walk and lasted just two-thirds of an inning. Trailing 6-0 after the first inning, the Kettleers worked themselves back into the game with a run-scoring fielder’s choice from Matthew Mervis (Duke) to make the game 6-1 before Cotuit posted a six-run frame of its own.
In the fourth Joey Loperfido (UCLA) led off the inning with a solo home run followed by RBI hits from Casey Schmitt (San Diego State), Coltyn Kessler (Kentucky) and regular season MVP Nick Gonzales (New Mexico State). Adam Oviedo (TCU) scored on a wild pitch before Loperfido capped the scoring in the 12-batter fourth with an RBI single.
That gave Cotuit a 7-6 lead before Wareham’s Adrian Del Castillo (Miami) doubled in the game-tying run in the bottom of the seventh.
Aiming to get the sour taste of a walk-off, extra-inning loss out of their mouths, the Kettleers wasted little time in pouncing on the Gatemen's pitching on Saturday, August 3, at Lowell Park.
Cotuit scored runs in six of its eight offensive innings, including a 10-run seventh to bash Wareham, 22-2. All nine starters had at least a hit, six had multiple hits and three had three hits in a total dismantling of the Gatemen pitching staff.
Oraj Anu (Kentucky) went 3-for-5 with 5 RBIs and two runs scored. Mervis, Schmitt, Parker Chavers (Coastal Carolina) and Cotuit native Cody Pasic (Maine) all had home runs. Donta Williams (Arizona) joined Chavers, Oviedo, Pasic, Anu, Mervis, and Schmitt with at least two RBIs.
The Kettleers sent 13 batters to the plate, churning out five hits and four walks, as part of the 10-run seventh inning that saw Wareham use two pitchers.
That was more than plenty of run support for right-handed starter Sean Sullivan (California), who pitched five innings and allowed one unearned run, scattering eight hits and six strikeouts. He gave way to Matt Moore (Purdue), who added two innings of one-hit baseball and faced one batter over the minimum. Cole Beavin (Florida State) closed out the game with 1⅓ innings and allowed two hits.
Wareham produced 12 hits but stranded nine runners on base.
In a much more low-scoring affair than the second game, Cotuit used a two-run top of the first to fuel a 4-1 road win and a trip to the West Division finals on Sunday, August 4, at Spillane Field.
The second batter of the game, Mervis, went deep on the second pitch he saw, and Chavers doubled in Schmitt for a 2-0 lead before Wareham could even step to the plate. The Gatemen responded with a run on an RBI single from Del Castillo in the bottom half of the frame, that would be the only run Wareham would score.
Schmitt, showing off his two-way prowess, earned the win with five innings of relief work. He allowed just two hits and a walk while striking out seven. Nick Jones (Georgia Southern), a lefty, got the start for Cotuit and pitched the first three innings and allowed five hits and one earned run with two strikeouts. Harrison Cohen (George Washington) relieved Jones with an inning of work, allowing one hit.
The Kettleers added a run in the top of the fifth when Kessler worked a bases-loaded walk in an inning that saw hits from Gonzales and Mervis before Schmitt loaded the bases with an intentional walk. Pasic added a sacrifice fly in the top of the sixth to score Oviedo and give the game its final score of 4-1.
Schmitt retired the first five and the last five hitters he faced to slam the door shut on the Gatemen, who represented the West Division in the CCBL finals last year, and the series.