Commodores Stun Wareham With Late Comeback
By: Rich Maclone
Maybe the team that didn’t even look like it belonged in the playoffs is destined to win it all.
The Falmouth Commodores were down to their last out tonight in Wareham, but scratched and clawed their way back to tie it and force extra innings. After waiting all night to score, they didn’t postpone putting the game away, taking advantage of a key Wareham error in the top of the 10th to score 3 runs and earn a 4-1 win in Game 1 of the best-of-3 west division finals.
Falmouth came back to tie it up in the bottom of the ninth inning, 1-1, despite being down to their last strike. Center fielder Jared King lined an RBI single on a 3-2 pitch to knot things up, scoring Jeremy Baltz (St. John’s) from second. Falmouth did the damage against all-star closer Konner Wade (Arizona), who gave up a leadoff single to Reid Redman (Texas Tech) to leadoff the inning before coming back to get a fielder’s choice and a strikeout, making it seem that it was a done deal.
Things got tense for Wade and the Gatemen as the right-hander got a bit too fine against Barrett Barnes (Texas Tech) and walked the power hitter. That set the stage for King, who got ahead of the count and won the battle with the closer by snapping a liner up the middle to tie things up.
In the 10th Falmout loaded the bases by putting its first three men on. Spencer Kieboom blasted a double to lead things off and then Eric Garcia walked to put two men on for Bill Ferriter (UConn), who went to the plate looking to sacrifice the men over. Ferriter put down a brilliant bunt down the third base line and beat the throw to first for a single, loading them up for Redman.
The man who go the big game-tying rally started in the ninth hit a ground ball to short that probably should have been a fielder’s choice. Instead shortstop Mott Hyde (Georgia Tech) lifted his head before the ball got to him and it went through his legs, Bill Buckner style, and into left-center, allowing two runs to score for Falmouth. The Commodores posted an insurance run on an RBI ground out by Baltz to make it 4-1.
Closer John Simms (Rice) worked a 1-2-3 10th to pick up the win for DeAndre Smelter (Georgia Tech), who worked two strong innings of relief.
Shortly after a 29-minute lightning delay the Gatemen struck for the game’s first run. Robert Refsnyder (Arizona) led off the frame by hitting a hot shot off the glove of third baseman Reid Redman into shallow left and hustled all the way into second for a leadoff double. Max Muncy got the runner to third by grounding a Nate Koneski (Holy Cross) pitch to second base and then a ground ball through the drawn-in infield off the bat of Johnny Field broke the scoreless tie.
The Commodores had fits all night trying to do anything against Wareham starter Jake Boyd (Stetson). Boyd, who had worked a grand total of four innings in a Wareham jersey prior to the game, confounded Falmouth for eight innings. The Commodores managed just four hits against the Wareham starter.
The Commodores’ best chance against the Gatemen’s starter came in the top of the sixth. Bill Ferriter (UConn) was hit by a pitch with one out and then attempted to steal second, but was thrown out. That proved costly when the next batter, Redman, smashed a wall-ball double to left-center that would have either scored a run, or at worst gave the Commodores two men in scoring position with one away. The potential rally went by the wayside when Boyd escaped any damage by getting Jeremy Baltz (St. John’s) to ground out to shortstop.
Falmouth’s Sean Hagan (St. John’s) was effective over his five innings of work. The starter worked out of trouble in the first inning and in the fourth innings and left without giving up a run. He allowed 4 hits and 2 walks with 3 strikeouts.