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Falmouth Commodores 2008 Season Review

08/31/2008 2:24 PM

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Falmouth Commodores 2008 Season Review

Award-Winning, Well-Traveled
Falmouth Commodores Needed Extra 
Game, but Again Made It to the Playoffs 

FALMOUTH, Mass. -- The route to the Cape Cod Baseball League playoffs was an unconventional one, but for the 2008 Falmouth Commodores, resiliency paid off.

     The Commodores essentially played two games before even clinching the final playoff spot in the West Division. The first was the final game of the regular season against Hyannis. Knotted at 1-1 going into the ninth, the Commodores plated four two-out runs against two of the Mets’ – and the league’s ƒ{ top pitchers to earn a 5-1 victory. 

     With that win, a “play-in” game with Bourne became necessary as each teams held a 23-20-1 record at second place. Again the Commodores wouldn’t take no for an answer, breaking another tie late in the game to head to their second playoff berth in as many seasons.

     The 2008 squad almost did it again in game three of the West Division Championship against Cotuit, but fell short in a 3-2 loss.

     The Commodores certainly made things interesting at season’s end, but that was nothing new; the team proved exciting from the get-go.

     The Commodore offense was a force to be reckoned with, finishing the season third both in batting (.261) and runs scored (212).

     Leadoff hitter A.J. Pollock (Notre Dame) quickly established himself atop many offensive category leader boards. The starting centerfielder for the West Division All-Stars finished the season first in hits, doubles and slugging percentage while ranking in the top four in four additional categories. Pollock also displayed his stellar defense and cannon of an arm on a regular basis and garnered the Pat Sorenti Award as the Cape League’s Most Valuable Player.

     Jimmy Cesario (Houston), who departed for the Colorado Rockies farm system following his appearance in the All-Star Game, was a huge loss for the Commodore offense, however. Cesario drove in 30 runs in 34 games and sported a .387 batting average, which earned him the Thurman Munson Award as the league’s batting champion.

     Pollock and Cesario kept the Sorenti and Munson awards in Falmouth for the second straight season. Commodore third baseman Conor Gillaspie won both trophies in 2007, which led to his being drafted 37th over-all in baseball’s amateur entry draft last June and signing with the Giants for a reported $970,000 as a supplemental first rounder. 

     Catcher Trevor Coleman (Missouri), also an All-Star, led the league in walks with 38, while right fielder Ryan Jones (Wichita State) finished second in home runs with eight, having hit only three during his entire collegiate career.

     The Commodore pitching staff tied with Chatham for most strikeouts (396), and closer Ben Tootle (Jacksonville State) emerged as one of the most dangerous relief pitchers in the league, with a fastball in the upper 90s and a 1.97 ERA.

     Besides Tootle, several pitchers made impressive outings from the bullpen. Preston Claiborne (Tulane) appeared in 20 games, fanning 21 in 23.2 innings. Evan Danielli (Notre Dame) posted a 2-0 record and a 2.95 ERA, while lefty Shaeffer Hall (Kansas) came on strong late in the season and finished with a 2.41 ERA.

     Falmouth field manager Jeff Trundy also notched his 200th Cape League win in a memorable 2008 season.

     The Commodores’ general manager, Dan Dunn, can take pride in seeing his team make the playoffs in each of his two seasons since replacing his father-in-law, Chuck Sturtevant, after the 2006 campaign. Under Dunn’s direction, Falmouth became the league’s most well traveled team in 2008, playing one home game against Wareham at Martha’s Vineyard and facing Yarmouth-Dennis in the first Hall of Fame Classic at Campanelli Stadium in Brockton.

     From the flashy defense of Joey Wong (Oregon State) to the offensive explosions of Pollock, and everything in between, the Commodores wouldn’t back down and were well worth watching in 2008 – even if it meant a boat ride across Vineyard Sound or a trip over the bridge and up Route 25 to do so.
 

Laura Rasmussen, CCBL Intern (rasmussen@capecodbaseball.org)
 

John Garner, Jr.
Director of Public Relations & Broadcasting
(508) 790-0394
johnwgarner@earthlink.net 

Joe Sherman
Web Editor
(508) 775-4364)
Jws02673@aol.com