Image credit: Cotuit LHP Camron Hill (Photo courtesy Chris Jones)
HARWICH, Mass.—The stars were out on Saturday evening at the annual Cape Cod League All-Star Game at Whitehouse Field.
While the East Division played host, the game belonged to the West Division and its loaded lineup of potential league MVP candidates. The East mounted rallies throughout the game, but the West Division pitching stifled it again and again.
The West Division started off the scoring in the second inning as Arizona State star Nick McLain singled home Cole Mathis to put the West on top 1-0 early. The West followed that with another run in the third as Florida State’s Cam Smith drove in Vanderbilt’s Jonathan Vastine with an RBI single.
The West pitching staff kept a clean sheet over the first three innings and didn’t allow a baserunner until Jo Oyama reached base to lead off the fourth. During the fourth inning the East pulled as close as it would get, as Florida State’s James Tibbs drove in Oyama to make it a 2-1 game. Tibbs’ RBI single turned out to be the only run that the East would score.
The West pitching staff tossed five scoreless innings to close it out. It navigated two East Division rallies in the fifth and the seventh and slammed the door on each.
In the fifth, St. Joseph’s righthander Matthew McShane allowed the first two batters to reach base—he walked South Alabama’s Will Turner and gave up a single to Notre Dame’s Jack Penney. With runners on the corners and no outs, McShane struck out Auburn freshman Ike Irish. The next batter, Vanderbilt’s Davis Diaz, grounded into a double play to end the rally and preserve the West’s 4-1 lead heading into the top of the sixth.
The West ran into trouble again in the seventh, as the East mounted its best threat of the night.
Incoming Kansas transfer Ethan Lanthier came on for Hyannis teammate Jamie Arnold to start the inning, and the righthander allowed a leadoff single to Indiana’s Brock Tibbets. That was followed by a hit by pitch on the very next throw. Lanthier further complicated matters by walking the next batter, Oregon State infielder Mason Guerra. With no outs and the bases loaded, Lanthier locked in. He struck out UC San Diego infielder Matt Halbach, then escaped the inning unscathed as he forced Texas A&M shortstop Ali Camarillo into an inning-ending double play.
This was the last rally the East Division would mount as just one baserunner reached base over the final two innings.
There were still some fireworks left in the West Division bats, as incoming Florida transfer Brody Donay launched a two-run double, scoring Vanderbilt’s Jonathan Vastine and Washington State’s Elijah Hainline. Donay later came around to score on a wild pitch.
Vanderbilt’s Bryce Cunningham and Northeastern’s Jake Gigliotti combined to close it out in the ninth, with Cunningham striking out the final two batters of the game to lock up the West Division win.