America's League

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Playoff Races Heating Up!

Photo: Samantha Frank
07/31/2022 12:12 PM

Article By: Daniel Fox

Even though each team only has three regular season contests remaining, there is still a lot to be determined. Especially in the Eastern Division, as none of the four playoff seeds have been locked in.

That didn’t seem like it would be the case two weeks ago, but a 7-2-2 run by the Chatham Anglers has brought them within one point of the Harwich Mariners. The two teams will square off twice in the last three games at Whitehouse field in Harwich, a pair of contests that will be the deciding factor as to who advances to the postseason.

The Orleans Firebirds are the other East team that has yet to clinch a playoff spot, but with a two-point lead over Harwich and a three point lead over Chatham, they are in a very favorable position. It will likely take the Firebirds only one win over their final three games to secure a playoff spot, considering Harwich and Chatham play each other twice. Orleans even has the chance to sneak past the Brewster Whitecaps, whom they trail by three points but play twice to finish off the season.

Speaking of Brewster, they surprisingly have a chance at the one seed thanks to a recent Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox slump. The Red Sox have lost five in a row, and while they still have a four point lead over the Whitecaps, their lead has shrunk considerably in the last week. The two teams will face off in the season finale at Red Wilson Field in Yarmouth, a game that could decide who gets home-field advantage in the postseason.

Things are far more certain in the Western Division. The Falmouth Commodores clinched the final playoff spot with a win over the Red Sox on Saturday and eliminated the Wareham Gateman from contention. The Commodores are locked into the fourth seed, but the question of who they will play is still up in the air. The Hyannis Harbor Hawks, the Bourne Braves and the Cotuit Kettleers are all separated by just one point, and the order of top three seeds will come down to these last three games.

The fact that the Bourne Braves are even in a position to secure the number one seed is an accomplishment within itself. It wasn’t too long ago that the Braves were closer to the bottom of the division than the top, but a 4-0-1 record over the past five games, coupled with a 1-3 stretch by Cotuit and a 1-4 stretch by Hyannis, has put them in the conversation.

Every game these three teams play over this span will be critical, but there are two that will have even greater importance. On Monday, the Braves will travel to Couit, followed by a home game against Hyannis on Tuesday.

A sweep of those games will likely clinch the top seed for the Braves, while a pair of losses will probably lock them into the third seed.

No matter what happens over the next three days, the eight-team playoff will return after a two-year hiatus. The opening round will kick-off on Thursday at 4pm!