By Courtney Swift
Kettleers Media Intern
July 20, 2012
After three consecutive days of rest, the Kettleers played through some early rain Friday to beat the Chatham Anglers 2-1. Cape League All-Star rosters were announced during the game, and the Kettleers’ three selections appeared ready to showcase their talent. Patrick Biondi (Michigan), Jacob May (Coastal Carolina), and Dan Slania (Notre Dame) showed exactly why they deserved to be chosen against Chatham.
All-Star starter Biondi drove in the first run of the game for Cotuit in the second. Adam Nelubowich (Washington State) led off the inning with a double, and Biondi singled to center to bring him home and put the Kettleers on top 1-0. Biondi went 2-3 on the night with one run batted in.
May and Biondi have helped to propel the Kettleers to victory throughout the season with their consistent hitting. But both have been day-to-day this past week due to thumb and wrist injuries. “Just getting them back in there gives your team continuity, gives you confidence” coach Mike Roberts said. “They’ve been the guys who have been playing every day.” And after three straight days off, both were ready to do damage.
Chatham bounced back in the fourth after a lead off double by Chatham’s Andrew Knapp (California). Alex Calbick (Maine) singled to drive in Knapp and tie the score at one a piece before Biondi and May did it again.
Biondi helped again in the fifth when he led off the inning with a double to left field, and later advanced to third on a flyout by Mike Ford (Princeton). May then put the Kettleers back on top for good in the fifth. He singled Biondi home with a hit to right field bringing the score to 2-1. “I was waiting for the fastball, he was throwing me a lot of off speed,” May said. “I was trying to lay off it a little bit and just try and hit something hard. He threw me a fastball inside and I was able to turn on it.”
It was as if the All-Star selection committee knew there was one more member to showcase in Slania. He pitched in last year’s New England Collegiate Baseball League All-Star game, and came out Friday throwing harder than ever. “It was just a couple days off, kind of having that adrenaline kick in,” Slania said. After recording a few six-out saves this season, Slania came in for the ninth looking for three quick outs. He threw just 11 pitches, 10 of them strikes to record the league’s best seventh save of the season.
Adam McCreery (Arizona State) made the start for Cotuit throwing 4 1/3 solid innings. He gave up Chatham’s lone run while striking out four and walking one. However, it was the Kettleers bullpen that stole the show. “Everyone was pretty on tonight,” Slania said. “Everyone was around the zone getting it right there so it was a way to keep us in the game.”
Ryan Connolly (Coastal Carolina) got the win for Cotuit holding the Anglers to just two hits in his 2 1/3 innings of work, before Brandon Bixler (Florida Gulf Coast) struck out the side in the eighth and Slania struck out the side in the ninth. “You got to give Bixler credit,” Roberts said. “He struck out the side and then kind of challenged Slania to do the same.” Roberts also said Bixler would be one of the guys to pick up some of the extra innings where Kevin Ziomek (Vanderbilt) would have thrown.
The Kettleers (16-12) now lead the Western Division by four points and have matched last season’s win total. They are back home Saturday against the Hyannis Harbor Hawks (12-17) at 5 p.m. The team doesn’t have another off day until August. “I think we’re about as fresh as you can be going into the last third of the season,” Roberts said.
Monday’s rainout against Y-D (18-11) will be made up July 23 at Y-D at 5 p.m., and Thursday’s cancellation will be made up July 26 at Wareham (12-16) at 7 p.m. For more post game interviews, visit http://www.youtube.com/user/OfficialKettleers/videos.