By: Greg Levinsky
HYANNIS – Hayden Cantrelle refused to let an early error set the tone on opening day. In his next time up, the Louisiana-Lafayette rising sophomore slugged a two-run triple, highlighting a pivotal six-run third inning in Falmouth’s 10-4 win at McKeon Park against the Hyannis Harbor Hawks.
Cantrelle was charged with an error after missing a scalding slapper at shortstop in the bottom of the first in which Harbor Hawks (0-1) eventually took a 1-0 lead. When he came up for his next at-bat in the top of the third inning, Cantrelle redeemed himself and then some. His triple was part of a 2-for 3-night where he also reached on a walk and added three RBIs. Cantrelle helped turn a pair of double-plays in a productive effort for Falmouth (1-0).
“Baseball’s really a game where you have to flush it every pitch,” Cantrelle said. “I’m just going with the flow of the game and using my next at bats as an opportunity to better what I did previously.”
Head Coach Jeff Trundy said he liked what he saw out of his nine-hole hitter.
“He’s a gamer,” Trundy said. “I’ve only been around him a few days, but I really like his competitiveness and the way he plays.”
Eleven Commodores came to bat in the top of the third as six runs crossed on four hits, two hit batsmen and a walk. CJ Schaeffer (Western Illinois) and Cameron Cannon (Arizona) each collected RBI singles in the third and Marc Coffers (Florida Gulf Coast) added an RBI ground out to complement Cantrelle’s triple. Cantrelle scored on a wild pitch to make it six runs in the frame.
“Our mindset at the plate was ready, we were going to hit a good pitch in the zone,” Cantrelle said. “That reflected in that inning for sure.”
Trundy was pleased with the production by a bottom third of the batting order that combined to go 5-for-11 with four walks and six RBIs. He especially appreciated his squad’s four two-out RBIs.
“Those things make the difference, I don’t care when it happens, whether it’s now or the end,” Trundy said. “That was a good sign and I thought we had some very competitive at bats.”
All-ACC Freshman Team honoree Spencer Strider (Clemson) started for Falmouth and impressed, firing 4.2 innings while allowing just one earned run. He collected both of his strikeouts to start the third inning. Ian Koch (Western Illinois) relieved Strider in the bottom of the fifth to get the final out. He struck out the side in the bottom of the sixth, escaping a bases-loaded situation without harm and finishing with 2.1 scoreless innings.
Taylor Wilkes (Kennesaw State) pitched the final two innings, surrendering two earned runs.
Falmouth hung its six-run third inning and held on the rest of the way. Schaeffer and Terence Norman (Kennesaw State) added back-to back 2-out RBI doubles and Cantrelle an RBI single in the fourth inning. The ‘Dores added another in the top of the ninth. Six batters reached base multiple times.
Murray State rising redshirt junior Davis Sims started at first base. Normally a third baseman, Sims manned first because the Commodores currently have just four infielders on the roster, with Sims having the best extension with a 6-5 frame.
Schaeffer had a solid defensive game, throwing out two runners. Hs is the only catcher presently with the team. Schaeffer said he enjoyed catching his college teammate Koch, but working with a variety of pitchers is an even better opportunity.
“It’s always different to catch new guys,” Schaeffer said. “It’s a good opportunity for me to get some exposure out here early on.”
Up next: The Commodores face Hyannis again as part of a home-and-home on Wednesday night for Falmouth’s home opener. First pitch is slated for 6:00 p.m.
Greg Levinsky can be reached at email@example.com. You can follow him on Twitter @GregLevinsky