08/02/2021 4:58 AM
Graphic by Maya Ferland
Article By: Taylor Viles
Three games remain of the Cape League regular season. It’s been a fight to the end for many teams but it’s finally become clear who the teams to beat this season were and which teams struggled to find their game. Only four teams make the playoffs this season in this shrunken format with five still alive and hoping to play into the postseason. The postseason will begin on Friday, August 6, and last until a champion is crowned. Only three total series’ will be played leading to a quick playoff. Below are the potential scenarios, important players, and must-watch games for the season’s final (partial) week.
Storylines to consider:
Playoff seeds all but confirmed
The Brewster Whitecaps’ and Harwich Mariners’ East Division domination has caused the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox, a team that would be second place in the West, to fall out of contention in the East. Sneakily, Brewster still has a chance to finish with the best record on Cape Cod, helped by a 6-3-1 record over its last 10 games. It’s still Bourne’s best record to lose as it sits two wins ahead of the Whitecaps. Due to a recent pitching overhaul, the Braves have been trending down over the last ten games with a 4-6 record. Right behind them in the West, the Cotuit Kettleers have caught fire to all but clinch the second spot, the next storyline will go further into Cotuit’s late-season run. As of now, the four playoff-bound teams mentioned will make for a thrilling playoff picture.
Cotuit heating at the perfect time
The reigning Cape League champions will not go quietly into an early offseason. Winners of five straight, the Kettleers have taken the idea of the “most important games of the season” to heart. At one point last week, the team sat in fourth place in the division behind both Falmouth and Wareham, granted all three teams were neck and neck. The recent success has been powered by Ryan Ritter (Kentucky) who has hit .522 over his past seven games, good for third in the league. Brett Roberts (FSU) has also been a player of note for Cotuit belting one home run and knocking in six over that span. Logan Maitland (UMass Dartmouth) has hurled 5.1 innings in relief giving up no earned runs over the seven-game stretch and collecting seven strikeouts on the pitching side. Manager Mike Roberts has coached his squad expertly to try and defend and secure another league title.
Player to watch:
Anthony Hall, CF, Falmouth Commodores, Oregon
Although the Commodore’s playoff chances are slim due to recent back-to-back losses to the Kettleers, there is still a chance meaning Falmouth games are a must-follow. Hall has done his best to keep his team in the playoff hunt down the stretch, acting as the most offensively powering ‘Dore and one of the more noticeable position players in the league. Over the past week, the centerfielder is hitting .444 (fifth in the league), with two home runs, a triple and two doubles. Hall can single-handedly change the outcome as he’s shown with performances all summer. Thanks to Hall, Michael Curialle (UCLA), Kristofer Armstrong (Florida), and newly instated Michael Handal (Fairfield), fans can’t count Falmouth out yet as they look to earn their fifth playoff berth in a row.
Must watch games:
Cotuit @ Bourne- August 2, 6:00 p.m.
A potential playoff-clinching game and round one matchup will take place tonight at Doran Park when Cotuit faces off against the Braves. To clinch, all Cotuit needs is a win and a Falmouth loss against Wareham. Cotuit will look to improve its hot streak and win its sixth in a row and hand Bourne its second consecutive loss. This game will be a tone-setter for what’s to come during round one if this is the matchup. Although there are no playoff implications for Bourne, dominating the Kettleers would do a large part in showing them what they are up against in round one, while a Cotuit win would continue last weeks’ trend that the Braves are human, setting the Kettleers up for a power-shift come playoff time. Knowing Bourne, the ballpark will be crowded and rowdy giving Cotuit a difficult, but possible, chance at victory.
Livestream link: https://www.youtube.com/user/bournebraves
Wareham @ Falmouth - August 3, 6:00 p.m.
If Falmouth somehow wins against Wareham and Bourne beats Cotuit on August 2, this game has an astronomical meaning for the Commodores. A Falmouth win with another Cotuit loss would put the teams tied going into the final day of the regular season. Wareham, by this point, will have fun playing spoilers trying to end Falmouth’s hopes altogether. Even if both teams are already eliminated by the time it’s played, it would still be a good one to follow. The players mentioned above for Falmouth will come into the game red hot while Wareham brings Owen Diodati (Alabama Tuscaloosa) with seven home runs and Tres Gonzalez (Georgia Tech). The latter is hitting .339 on the season and .484 over the past week. While the offense is strong for both sides, it will be the pitching that wins the game. Falmouth’s arms have struggled lately giving up 28 runs in the last two games. Wareham has only surrendered seven over its past two.
Livestream link: https://www.youtube.com/c/FalmouthCommodores
Harwich @ Chatham - August 4, 7:00 p.m.
On the final day of the regular season, a postseason-bound team faces a team looking to put this season behind them. Harwich will likely use a roster full of bench players to rest their starters for the playoffs while Chatham may use its strongest lineup trying to give the team a good note to end the season on. Either way, it’s a game with little meaning behind it, just a chance for players to improve their stats and enjoy the waning days of summer. What better way to spend the last night of the regular season than at what’s widely considered one of the nicest ballparks on the Cape? There’s only playful competition and relaxing baseball on the line for this one.
Livestream link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwPvkeZttTknpuAg3FIezcw