By: Greg Levinsky
FALMOUTH – As the 2018 Cape Cod Baseball League season approaches, the Falmouth Commodores are set to continue their dominance of the Western Division.
This year’s edition of the Commodores is composed of talented collegiate players from the country’s top programs, led by numerous All-Conference honorees. Head coach Jeff Trundy returns for his 20th season at the helm and will again guide Falmouth on its quest for the President’s Trophy and third straight Western Division crown.
“With the players coming in, you’re going to have a brand new group of kids that have their sights set on having a great summer,” Trundy said. “And hopefully we can be part of that and provide part of that for them.”
Clemson shortstop Logan Davidson headlines a quintet of returning players along with Florida outfielder/pitcher Austin Langworthy, Ole Miss pitcher Will Ethridge, Western Illinois pitcher Ian Koch, and former Clemson and now West Texas A&M pitcher Mitchell Miller. Davidson comes off a stellar sophomore campaign in which he batted .292 with 18 doubles, 15 home runs and 46 RBI and was named a Baseball America All-American Third Team selection as well as an All-ACC Second Team Member.
Trundy said his familiarity with the returning players helps to decide lineups early on because he knows where they fit on the field.
“Some of the returning guys, you know a little bit more about, so they’re going to be plugged in a little accurately,” Trundy said. “But for the first few games you just hope you have nine guys and will survive.”
Likely joining Davidson at the top of the lineup is Kansas State outfielder Will Brennan. The rising junior earned All-Big 12 First Team honors, batting .359 with 23 RBI and posting a respectable 3.86 ERA across 28.0 innings pitched. Fellow two-way player Austin Langworthy is slated to come back after Florida’s season ends. Stanford’s Kyle Stowers is another two-way player. All three hit more than they pitch, but each could provide depth on the mound. Stowers was a Pac-12 Honorable Mention after slugging 10 home runs and collecting 42 RBI in his sophomore season this spring.
Kennesaw State’s Terence Norman, Texas A&M’s Logan Foster, Holy Cross’s Austin Masel, Mississippi State’s Jordan Anderson and Stowers will patrol the outfielder.
Norman was an ASUN First Team All-Conference honoree after batting .333 with 32 RBI. Masel’s All-Patriot League First-Team sophomore year included a .321 batting average. Foster had a .322 average, and eight home runs in his 2018 collegiate season.
Murray State’s Davis Sims comes off a tremendous redshirt sophomore year batting .357 with 29 doubles, six home runs and 52 RBI, earning a spot on the Second Team All-OVC. The doubles mark was the second most in the country in 2018. The corner infielder will be joined in the diamond by Davidson; Arizona’s Cameron Cannon, a Pac-12 Honorable Mention; Louisiana-Lafayette’s Hayden Cantrelle and James Cosentino from Kansas.
Sims said he’s looking forward to facing pitchers of better caliber than in the Ohio Valley Conference.
“I know a lot of the pitchers on the Cape are pretty good, and I’d like to come in and compete with them,” Sims said. “I know it’s a lot different than OVC pitching. That’d be one of the things, to do pretty well against the pitching here. ”
Sims is primarily a third baseman, but said he could try playing first base or the corner outfield for Falmouth. Summer ball can be a time to experiment.
“Whatever gets me in the lineup, whatever I can do to help the team win, I’m all for it,” Sims said.
Auburn freshmen Steven Williams and Edouard Julien should return and play in the infield when the Tigers end their campaign.
Marc Coffers of Florida Gulf Coast catches and plays outfield. Stanford’s Maverick Handley and Western Illinois’ CJ Schaeffer, who earned Second Team All-Summit League honors, will see time behind the plate.
Strikeout machine Brent Killam comes from Georgetown. The ALL-BIG EAST Second Team honoree set the Hoyas’ single-season strikeout record in his sophomore campaign, striking out 97 in 82.1 innings. The lefty went 6-4 with a 3.06 ERA.
Conference USA First Team All-Conference performer Matt Canterino is another strikeout pitcher, accumulating 116 in just 94.0 innings of work during his sophomore year at Rice. Opponents batted just .188 off Canterino, who went 7-5 with a 3.06 ERA.
Auburn’s Tanner Burns, South Carolina’s Carmen Mlodzinski and Holy Cross’ Pat McGowan as well as Koch, who earned All-Summit League First Team Honors, join Killam and Canterino as options to start or come in relief.
Stanford closer Jack Little tied the program’s single-season save record with 16. The rising junior earned Baseball America All-America First Team, Pac-12 All-Conference Team and Collegiate Baseball Second Team All-American honors for his shutdown efforts out of the bullpen.
He allowed just three earned runs in 45.1 innings across 25 appearances. Little struck out 58, picked up three wins, boasting a minuscule .60 ERA.
Miller is a reigning Cape Cod League All-Star and was drafted in the 31st round of this year’s draft by the Los Angeles Angels, but has not decided whether he will sign a professional contract yet.
He along with Ethrdige, Auburn’s Peyton Glavine, Kennesaw State’s Taylor Wilkes, Washington State’s AJ Block, TCU’s Cal Coughlin, Florida’s Tyler Dyson, Duke’s Adam Laskey, California Baptist’s Logan Rinehart, Missouri’s TJ Sikkema, Oklahoma State’s Mitchell Stone, Holy Cross’ Declan Cronin, Clemson’s Spencer Strider and Boston College’s Dan Metzdorf and Zach Stromberg round out the staff.
Even with players coming off stellar collegiate seasons, Trundy knows that it does not always translate.
“Success in the spring doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re going to be succesful in the summer or vice-versa,” Trundy said. “… For every kid it’s kind of a brand new season.”
With a roster made up of players from over two dozen schools, Sims said team chemistry is an important element for both personal and team success.
“A lot of it comes from gelling together with the guys,” Sims said. “Every summer that I’ve played baseball I’ve always made good friends, and I can still talk to them to this day.
“I think that’s what’s most important, developing relationships with the guys. That’s what makes everything easier. ”
The Commodores open the season on the road in Hyannis on Tuesday June 12, with opening pitch against the Harbor Hawks set for 6:00 p.m. The home opener is the following night against the same Harbor Hawks with a 6:00 p.m. start at Guv Fuller Field.
Trundy said he looks forward to guiding a group of stellar college baseball players once again for the Falmouth Commodores. Their chemistry will help on-field success, but Trundy plans on leaving that up to them.
“If they’re really a group of kids that come in here and are really invested in one another and really kind of grow together and enjoy each other, then it really does help their performance,” Trundy said.
Greg Levinsky can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregLevinsky