The Falmouth Commodores are set to face off against the Bourne Braves in the first round of the postseason. This will be Falmouth’s first appearance in the Cape Cod Baseball League (CCBL) playoffs since 2019.
Round one schedule
Falmouth will take on Bourne in a three-game series, with the first contest scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. August 4, at Doran Park. The series will then shift to Falmouth for game two, as the ’Dores will host the Braves at 6 p.m. August 5, from Arnie Allen Diamond at Guv Fuller Field. If necessary, the clubs will return to Doran Park for game three at 6 p.m. August 6.
The Commodores finished the regular season in fourth place in the West Division, posting a 19–21–4 record. The club went 4–5–1 in its last 10 games before the playoffs.
Falmouth was in fifth place in the West Division for a significant portion of the season, but a 4–3 win over Bourne on July 15 got the club back into postseason contention by putting it in a tie for fourth place in the West Division. Manager Jeff Trundy said he has been impressed with the team’s resiliency throughout to summer, allowing it to reach the postseason after a slow start.
“I just think it’s a great commentary on them,” Trundy said after the team clinched a postseason spot against the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox on July 30. “Even though it was early and we were down in the hole early, a lot of teams would have just kind of said, ‘ah okay.’ But this group refuses to do that, and they continue to play hard.”
The ’Dores have substantial power at the plate, leading the CCBL with 33 home runs as a team. Infielder Colby Halter has been a spark plug for Falmouth’s offense, as he led the club with a .307 batting average and seven long balls. The University of Florida product tied Cotuit Kettleer’s first baseman Tyler Johnson for the league lead in homers. He also tied Commodores’ shortstop Alex Mooney for the team lead in RBIs, driving in 19 runs.
The club has three 2022 CCBL All-Stars in its starting lineup – center fielder Andrew Pinckney, Halter and Mooney. Pinckney left the yard four times this summer and recorded 16 RBIs during his 35 games.
First baseman Jacob Walsh has been another key contributor for the ’Dores, hitting five homers and driving in 16 runs. The lefty from the University of Oregon said he is pleased with how the club has performed in recent games, and that the club will look to build on its strengths in the postseason.
“We can hit the ball all around the park,” Walsh said. “Lately, our defense has been pretty solid [and] our pitchers have been doing pretty well. So, [we’re] hoping we can just keep [going] on that good streak.”
Walsh has also shown patience at the plate, drawing 16 walks. Falmouth’s offense has the fourth-most walks in the CCBL, earning 175 free passes.
The club’s pitching staff has been a strength, logging a 3.69 ERA and holding opponents to a .236 batting average. The Commodores’ hurlers have combined to strike out a total of 392 batters. Starting pitcher Juaron Watts-Brown has been one of the club’s most consistent pitchers, leading the team with 45 strikeouts and tying with Philip Abner for the club-lead in wins, picking up three victories.
Abner is one of three Falmouth pitchers that represented the club in the All-Star Game this year, joining relievers Levi Wells and Joey Ryan. Wells is not on the team’s current roster. Despite being without Wells for the upcoming series, Ryan is one of the team’s most impactful pitchers out of the bullpen. The Boston College product recorded a 1.68 ERA while fanning 19 batters in 16 frames.
The Commodores have not yet announced their starting pitchers for the upcoming series. While Falmouth has impressed on the mound, the team has made some defensive miscues, leading the CCBL with 62 errors.
Pitching coach Mike Landry said the club is looking forward to the postseason and he is confident as the ’Dores prepare to take on the Braves in the first round.
“These guys want to be here and they want to go out there and compete,” Landry said. “I think moving forward just that want and that desire to be here and compete with each other … that’s definitely here and it’s here in abundance. So, I’m looking forward to competing with these guys as we go forward.”
The Bourne Braves enter the postseason as the hottest team on Cape Cod, having gone 8–1–1 in its last 10 games of the regular season. The Braves went 23–14–7 this summer, winning the West Division, and the President’s Trophy, for having the best record in the CCBL.
Bourne has been led by infielder Matt Shaw, who took home the league’s batting title by logging a .360 batting average in the regular season. The University of Maryland College Park product has been one of the most impactful players in the league, as he also left the yard five times, drove in 19 runs and stole 21 bases.
The Braves’ lineup posted the fourth-highest batting average in the CCBL, hitting .238 as a club. Bourne has also shown some power in the batter’s box, leaving the park a total of 27 times. Outfielder Mac Horvath has been an impactful member of the club’s batting order, leading the team with six long balls. First baseman Christopher Brito has also been a key contributor, hitting five home runs, tying for the second-most RBIs in the league with 22 and having the second-most walks in the CCBL, with 29.
The Braves have one of the most dominant pitching staffs in the CCBL, recording a league-best 3.04 ERA and holding opponents to a .217 batting average. The hurlers have also combined to strike out 346 batters. Over the club’s last eight games, the pitching staff has allowed just 11 earned runs in 72 innings.
Seth Keener is slated to start on the mound for Bourne in game one. The All-Star logged a dominant 1.87 ERA while fanning 21 batters in 24 innings of work this summer. Keener has not pitched against Falmouth this season.
The Braves will turn to Hunter Furtado to start in game two at Guv Fuller Field. The southpaw has pitched in five games this summer, posting a 5.06 ERA despite retiring 19 batters via the strikeout. Furtado started against Falmouth on July 22, allowing four runs and fanning seven during five frames on the hill.
If the series goes to three games, Will Sandy will take the mound in the rubber match. The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill product recorded a 4.33 ERA during his seven appearances this summer. The southpaw has started in just two of his seven outings as a member of the Braves. Sandy has faced Falmouth three times this summer, allowing four runs in nine innings against the ’Dores.
The season series
These teams went back and forth during their regular season meetings, splitting the season series 3–3. The Commodores and Braves most recently competed against each other on July 31 at Doran Park, a game in which Bourne edged out Falmouth 2–1.
The first contest between the ’Dores and Braves was also a pitcher’s duel, in which Bourne came away with a 1–0 victory on June 30 after a game-winning solo homer by Shaw.
Falmouth bounced back in its first trip to Doran Park, providing Trundy with his 500th career victory by defeating Bourne 6–4. Walsh had a big night, going 3-for-5 and driving in two runs. The club was struggling entering the game, coming in six games under .500 and having scored just one run in its previous three contests. This win was a turning point for the Commodores, as the team would go on to win four of its next six games and average 5.8 runs per game during that span
The Commodores got back into postseason contention with their 4–3 win over the Braves on July 15, as the win moved the team into a tie for fourth place in the West Division. Left fielder Travis Chestnut was the hero in this one, making a diving catch with two outs and the bases loaded in the eighth inning, preventing Brito from delivering a go-ahead hit. Chestnut is not on the team’s current roster.
Falmouth also showcased its potential at the plate on July 22, defeating Bourne 10–3 behind an offensive clinic. The ’Dores were down 2–0 entering the fifth inning, but the club never looked back after taking the lead with a four-run frame. The highlight of the night was Mooney’s go-ahead, inside-the-park three-run home run.
The upcoming series is bound to deliver several more memorable moments, as the postseason baseball returns to Falmouth for the first time in three years.
Note: Featured image by Meghan Murphy.
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Tommy Mumau can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @tommymumau13.