By: Greg Levinsky
FALMOUTH – Maverick Handley’s first hit on Thursday night was a doozy.
Tied at three in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Stanford rising junior pelted a walk-off double to send the Falmouth Commodores to a 4-3 win over Hyannis Harbor Hawks at Guv Fuller Field.
His second game-winning hit of the summer after blasting an 11th inning home run at Chatham, Handley connected on the ninth pitch of the at-bat, launching the winner off the left field wall.
“I think being in a late game situation kind of makes the player,” said Handley, who batted second and caught. “Tonight I didn’t have a hit until the ninth inning, and last time I didn’t have a hit until the 11th inning.
“I think it’s moving on to the next at-bat that makes someone good.”
Commodores head coach Jeff Trundy said there are few who shine in the high-pressure moment more than Handley.
“Obviously we were happy to win that game, but I was happier to see him have some success because – you know – he deserves it,” Trundy said.
It was the second straight win for the Commodores (13-13-1), who jumped Cotuit for sole possession of fourth place in the West Division.
Coming off an outing in which he struggled with command, allowing five walks and five hits in just 3.2 innings, Commodores starting pitcher Mitchell Stone (Oklahoma State) pitched five scoreless frames.
A 6-foot-9 left-hander, Stone (4 hits, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts) cut the number of baserunners from his last outing in half through his first four innings and exited with a 2-0 lead.
“I was there mentally tonight,” Stone said. “I just made pitches and got better.”
Stone controlled the game.
“He commanded his off-speed a lot better this time through,” Handley said.
After missing the last four months of his freshman season with a broken foot, Stone made his tied for team-leading fifth start. He said he’s made up for lost time.
“I’ve definetly grown a lot being here on the Cape, going against some of the best hitters in the country,” Stone said. “Every time out there I’m making adjustments and getting better.”
Handley also had a solid defensive performance, throwing out two runners on the basepaths.
And he’s established a tremendous rapport with the Commodores pitching staff.
“He’s awesome,” Stone said. “He knows what he’s doing back there.”
The Commodores got their scoring started in the bottom of the second. Edouard Julien (2-for-3, 1 RBI) roped a one-out RBI single up the middle to score Auburn teammate Steven Williams (1-2, 2 walks), who extended his on-base streak to 11.
Will Brennan (Kansas State) added an RBI base hit in the bottom of the fourth and Davis Sims (Western Kentucky) singled home a run in the bottom of the fifth.
The Harbor Hawks (14-9-2) bats were silenced until the top of the ninth. They collected three straight doubles off Jack Little (Stanford) to tie the game at three, one night after the Cardinal rising junior struck out the side to nail down the win at Bourne.
Brennan led off the bottom of the ninth with a single. Logan Davidson (Clemson) grounded into a fielder’s choice, but wheeled all the way around from first on Handley’s clutch hit.
“He’s a baseball player that understands the game,” Trundy said. “He knows how to give a quality at-bat time, after time, after time.”
Up next: Commodores host Yarmouth-Dennis on Friday July 13 at 6:00 p.m. at Guv Fuller Field.
Follow the Falmouth Commodores on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Greg Levinsky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GregLevinsky