08/15/2011 9:31 AM
FALMOUTH, Mass. - In one of the most thrilling games of the year, the Harwich Mariners edged the Falmouth Commodores to sweep the Cape Cod Baseball League Championship Series and take home the Arnold Mycock Championship Trophy for the second time in four years.
In a slugfest similar to an Ali-Frazier bout, the Mariners used flashy defense, timely hitting, and clutch pitching to beat the Commodores, 7-5. The difference was starting pitcher and designated hitter Jake Davies’s (Georgia Tech) go-ahead double in the top of the seventh inning, giving Harwich the lead for good.
"That kid (Davies) is a horse," field manager Steve Englert said. "He has come up with some huge hits for us and we have thrown him out on the mound a few times. He has really carried us through the playoffs."
Davies started and went 2.1 innings, giving up six hits and only one earned run. Andrew Aizenstadt (Babson) started for the Commodores, struggling through 1.2 innings, giving up three hits and walking three, but allowing just one run.
The Commodores got on the board quickly on a Jeremy Baltz (St. John’s) single that scored Billy Ferriter (UConn). The Mariners responded when Alex Swim (Elon) scored series and team MVP Mike Garza (Georgetown) on a fielder’s choice.
The Mariners broke the tie in the third. Davies led the inning off with a single and scored on a long double by Austin Wilson (Stanford). Wilson later scored on John Wooten’s (Eastern Carolina) sacrifice fly to right field.
Down 3-1, the Commodores fought back in the bottom of the fourth. With runners on second and third, Jake Rodriguez (Oregon State) attempted to lay down a bunt, but popped it up to the pitcher’s right. Reid Redman (Texas Tech), who was on second, was unsure whether Davies would catch it in the air and had to stay close to the bag. Davies fielded it and threw wildly past the third baseman.
Redman scored, Baltz advanced from first to third and Rodriguez went to second. Barret Barnes (Texas Tech) followed with a sacrifice fly to tie the score at 3-3. Max White (Oklahoma) then singled home Rodriguez to give the Commodores a 5-4 lead.
The slugging match was far from over, and Wooten, the Harwich hero from Game 1, did not wait long to lift his team once again. With Garza on first, Wooten went yard off Nathan Thornhill (Texas) to left-center for the second straight game to give the Mariners a 5-4 lead after five.
"You’re not expecting to hit a home run on a 0-2 count, but he (Thornhill) left the curveball elevated and I just happened to hit it good enough to get it over the fence," Wooten said.
In the bottom of the sixth, Ferriter scored from third base on Baltz’s bloop single to again knot the game at 5-5. The game was a roller coaster ride, but it had to come to an end, which is where Davies’s double in the seventh made the final difference. Davies would later score on a wild pitch from John Simms (Rice) to give the Mariners an insurance run.
But the resilient Commodores were not done yet and created fireworks in the bottom of the ninth. Righty Chris Overman (NC State), who did not surrender an earned run in 28.1 innings on the Cape, came in for the save. Although not their regular closer, Overman messily got the job done. Catcher Spencer Kieboom (Clemson) and shortstop Eric Garcia (Missouri) started the inning with singles. Ferriter then reached on a bunt to load the bases. Up stepped Redman, hitting .414 with a home run and five RBIs in the playoffs.
"I started off feeling good and trying to throw strikes. They got two hits and then we botched that bunt, but that’s baseball," said Overman. "After that, I just wanted to get ahead (of the hitters) and hope that a miracle would happen."
The righty got Redman to pop out on the first pitch. He then struck out Baltz on a high fastball. Only needing one more out to "Houdini" out of the jam, he got Rodriguez to pop out to the catcher after a six-pitch battle, and the celebrating commenced.
"Our bullpen was fantastic all season long," Englert said. "We had some great pitching and big hits coming down the stretch. They just played together and they wanted to win it and it paid off. I’m really proud of these guys."