Harwich, Mass --- It was a dog fight we expected and a dog fight that we got. With impressive sweeps in the finals of their respectable divisions, both the Mariners and the Commodores were headed into tonight’s game with momentum. Both teams opened the game in lightning fashion and in the end Harwich edged Falmouth 5-4 on first baseman John Wooten’s (East Carolina) go ahead home run in the bottom of the sixth. Wooten, who usually hits in the clean-up spot for the Mariners, was dropped to the sixth slot tonight by Manager Steve Englert.
“We wanted to mix things up tonight and just take the pressure off “Woot.” He’s hit in that spot all season long and we just wanted to give him a different look. The switch paid off,” said Englert.
Falmouth wasted no time getting on the board with homeruns in both the first and second innings to go ahead 2-0. Third baseman Reid Redman (Texas Tech) jumped on 2-0 count pitch and sent a long shot over the left field fence to put Falmouth in the lead early in the first. Falmouth starter Tyler Duffey (Rice) came out on fire and retired the side 1-2-3 to end the first.
Max White (Oklahoma) broke open the second inning with another homerun for the Commodores, driving the first pitch breaking ball deep to left. Harwich starter, Andrew Leenhouts (Northeastern) struggled on the mound and was pulled after 1 2/3 innings.
Harwich was quick to respond, though, as they tied the game up in the bottom of the second with Autsin Wilson (Stanford) reaching first on a leadoff single. Mike Garza (Georgetown) followed with an RBI double to left center and eventually made it to third on a wild throw from the outfielder. Garza was then brought home on catcher Luke Voit’s (Missouri State) RBI single to right center to tie the game at two a-piece.
Garza, who was voted team MVP by the Mariners, carried the honor fittingly for the night, as he went 2-4 with two RBI and one run scored. Garza’s intensity was visible from the get go and gave Harwich the spark they needed.
“It’s not hard to get amped for games like this. These are the games you play for,” said Garza.
Harwich’s Eddie Butler (Radford), who was brought in for Leenhouts in the second with two down managed to get out of the inning on two pitches. Butler, who is 1-2 on the year with a 5.22 ERA, downed the side in the top of the third for the Mariners. Garza then delivered again in the bottom of the third with an RBI triple to right field to score Jake Davies (Georgia Tech) for the go ahead run.
Falmouth’s Jake Rodriguez (Oregon State) gave the Commodores their third run of the game in the top of the 5th as Billy Ferriter (UCONN) crossed the plate with a single to right field. The game continued in the up and down fashion in the bottom of the fifth as Harwich’s Ronnie Richardson (Central Florida) advanced to first on walk given up by Falmouth reliever Nate Koneski (Holy Cross). Richardson then advanced to second on a Koneski baulk. Richardson was then to score on Austin Wilson’s fielder’s choice advancement to first.
Falmouth would then tie the game in the sixth as Max White tripled to center field and then scored on a wild pitch from Butler. Butler would get out of the inning though, and the Commodores would be silenced for the rest of the night. Wooten’s go ahead homerun would follow in the bottom of the sixth, and from there the score would not change.
“I just saw a good pitch and went with it. Whatever I can do to help the team win is what I aim for and I’m just glad I could get it done,” said Wooten.
Harwich’s Blake Hauser (VCU) was then to come on in the seventh and was lights out from the bullpen. With help from his team, Hauser would finish the game giving up only one hit, with five strikeouts.
The atmosphere of tonight’s game was all that fans and supporters could have hoped for. Fun and competitive baseball at its finest.
“It was a typical championship game and enjoyable to watch. This is what you expect and is what this series will deliver,” said Englert.
The series continues tomorrow in Falmouth at Arnie Allen Diamond with an 8pm start.