The Falmouth Commodores currently sit in third place in the Cape Cod League’s Western Division, half a game behind the Wareham Gatemen. Jared King, one of the team’s best hitters for the first part of the season, returned home recently to rest an injured back. The team was in the midst of an eight game losing streak.
Thankfully, that changed on Thursday, as the team cruised to an 8-2 victory over the Hyannis Harbor Hawks. Plenty of players contributed; Craig Schlitter turned in a strong start (7 innings, 6 strikeouts, 2 earned runs, 0 walks, 3 hits). Michael O’Neill added a big RBI double, and started off the scoring with an incredible string of plays in the second: a hit by pitch, a steal of second, an advance to third on the overthrow, and a run on a shallow sac fly to left field that involved him leaping past the catcher’s tag and diving back to the plate. However, the Commodores’ leading hitter Drew Dosch led the way, going 3 for 4 with a home run.
Dosch is providing the Commodores with a lot of value, and from an unexpected source. He went from a temp player, filling in while other players were finishing up the College World Series or their school years; to a full-time player manning first, third, and designated hitter for the team; to the CCBL Player of the Week; and finally, to one of the Commodores’ two All-Stars at the Cape League All-Star Game this Saturday.
Drew is currently a sophomore at Youngstown State University. He graduated (as valedictorian, no less) from Canal Winchester High School outside of Columbus, Ohio.* This past season saw him lead his team in homers (8), runs (36), hits (79), and total bases (118). He was also second on his team in RBI (42) and each triple slash category, batting .353/.408/.527 (average/on-base percentage/slugging). Everyone of those saw him in the top ten in the Horizon League. On top of all of that, he played a solid third base, leading the Penguins in assists (115).
*The Commodores’ top three hitters (King, Dosch, and O’Neill) all hail from around Columbus, oddly enough. I have no idea what gave the team this strategy, but as someone who was born there, I approve of it.
Dosch says he picked Youngstown State because he felt most at home there, and “could get on the field and play”. Although people are always telling him he could have attended larger schools, he doesn’t regret his decision at all. And it seems to be all the better for the Commodores that way; Youngstown’s new assistant coach was a former Cape League coach who managed to find Dosch a spot in the league. As someone who “had heard about the league growing up”, Dosch was thrilled with the opportunity to play. He also thanks Falmouth’s manager Jeff Trundy for “[giving him] a chance to prove himself as a temp”.
That chance has paid off for the team too-Dosch leads the team in batting average (.331, twelfth in league), OBP (.389), slugging (.546, tenth in league), hits (43, fourth in league), doubles (10, second in league), home runs (6, ninth in league), and RBI (20). More advanced stats back up his contributions; Runs Created has him as the team’s leader (26.561, sixth in league). He also an OPS+ of approximately 151, meaning he’s hit about 51% better than a league-average hitter (Falmouth is a fairly neutral park, so that’s probably a fairly accurate estimate).
Dosch has loved his time in the Cape, saying it’s lived up to all the expectations he’s had after hearing about it his whole life. He calls the pitching and hitting in the league “phenomenal”, and enjoys the “pure game” of hitting with wood bats (his reasoning is that wood bats “reward focusing on hitting the ball on the barrel of the bat each time”). On top of that, he’s a Cardinals fan (as if being valedictorian wasn’t enough to tell you that he’s pretty smart), and while Robinson Cano is his favorite current player, his favorite player ever is Jim Edmonds. In case you needed any more reason to like him. The Commodores are hoping that Thursday night’s win sets the tone for the last quarter of the regular season, with Dosch, Schlitter, O’Neill, and the rest leading the team to a championship.