Thursday marked the official first day of Cape League games, so I decided to head to Red Wilson Field in Yarmouth to see the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox face the Falmouth Commodores. I couldn’t have chosen a better game to start the season off with.
The Red Sox scored a run in the first on a rally that featured a double by designated hitter Sam Travis (Indiana, Class of 2015) and an RBI single by first baseman Jake Schrader (Tampa 2013). From that point, the Sox didn’t look back, going on to win 3 to 1.
Yarmouth-Dennis’ other two runs came in the sixth and seventh. In the sixth, Travis led off the inning with another double (he went 3 for 4 with two doubles and two runs, by the way). He was moved up when the next batter, clean-up hitter and right fielder Sean Dwyer (Florida Gulf Coast 2014) singled, and both progressed on a wild pitch from Falmouth starter Craig Schlitter. The following inning, shortstop Zak Blair (Mercyhurst 2013) led off with a single, then scored on left fielder Robert Pehl’s (Washington 2015) double.
Falmouth’s lone run came in between those two runs, during the top of the seventh. Third baseman Brad Fieger (Miami 2014) led off with a single, moved up on a sac bunt, then came around to score on catcher Kaiana Eldredge’s (Kansas 2014) single between shortstop and third. Other than that, though, reliever Brian Gilbert (Seton Hall 2014) was shut down, striking out five of his final six batters faced. All in all, he gave up three hits, no walks, and struck out eight while earning the save for his four innings of work. Losing starter Craig Schiltter (Bryant 2014) even held his own, allowing three earned over six plus innings, good for a quality start.
However, Y-D starter Aaron Blair (Marshall 2014) was slightly better than both of them, throwing five shut out innings and striking out eight as well. He escaped a bases-loaded situation in the third by striking out two batters, then preceded to strike out four of his final six batters. The other two batters? Weak two-strike ground-outs.
In what I hope will be an ongoing feature, I got to ask him a few questions after the game to get to know him a little better. The 6’4” righty hails from the land of casinos and baseball phenoms, Las Vegas, Nevada. On that note, the Nationals are his favorite team, followed by the Cubs, while his favorite player is Josh Beckett. Currently a rising junior at Marshall, he was taken in the 21st round of the 2010 draft by the Houston Astros (as someone from Houston, I would say that was a wise choice to wait for them to be less awful). He throws a fastball, curve, and change-up, all of which he was locating particularly well against Falmouth. I must say, I can understand the need to pull him for pitch count purposes, but as a fan, it was thrilling to watch his run at the end against the Commodores, and it would have been fun to see him keep going. And, for a final, more fun/less serious question, he would like to add a cutter to his repertoire.*
*On a side note, I need to get to work brainstorming more questions in this vein. Any future interview question ideas are welcomed for consideration.
All in all, it made a solid first impression on me. And with that, the 2012 CCBL season begins!
Update: Blair was named Pitcher of the Week on the strength of his performance.