The Harwich Mariners and Cotuit Kettleers are the final two teams standing in the Cape Cod Baseball League. The two teams begin the three-game series for the 2019 CCBL championship Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. ET at Whitehouse Field in Harwich.

Before the series starts, let’s take a look at how we got here and some college baseball players to keep tabs on this weekend on the Cape.

Cotuit vs. Harwich: How we got to the championship series

Cotuit is no stranger to the CCBL championship, winner of an unprecedented 16 titles. Harwich, not so much, have won three Cape Cod Baseball League championships and is making its first championship appearance since 2011.

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You could argue that neither team was the one expected to be here. When July began, Harwich was dead last in the East Division, sitting at 11-13. The Mariners finished the season on a 10-8 run, but more importantly, were a perfect 4-0 in the CCBL playoffs. Like Harwich, Cotuit finished the season a mere .500 team with a 20-20 record. The record that matters most is the 4-1 mark the Kettleers posted in the playoffs so far.

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CCBL championship series: A battle of hitting and pitching leaders

There’s no questioning that Harwich’s bread and butter comes on the bump. The Mariners were second in the CCBL in ERA with an impressive 3.40 mark while leading all teams with a 1.22 WHIP. That’s quite the contrast to Cotuit, who finished in the bottom three in both categories with a 4.12 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP.

Where the Kettleers will get you is at the plate. Their .733 OPS was second to none, while they also led the league in total bases (544). Harwich was the opposite end of the spectrum, posting the second-lowest OPS in the CCBL at .659 with just 457 total bases behind a .237 team batting average during the regular season.


Players who could impact the CCBL championship

Cotuit trailed 3-2 in the seventh inning of the West Division finals when Nick Gonzales, the star second baseman out of New Mexico State, came to the plate. He launched a two-run bomb that put the Kettleers ahead for good.

That’s what Gonzales has done all year, earning him the 2019 CCBL MVP honors. For the regular season, he hit .351 with a league-best 54 hits and 14 doubles, seven home runs, and 33 RBI, all of which were top 3 marks. He already has nine hits in Cotuit’s five playoff games.