By Courtney Swift
Kettleers Media Intern
July 23, 2012
HARWICH – It was all about pitching Sunday as the Kettleers beat Harwich 6-1. In a clash between the Eastern and Western division leaders, the Kettleers pitching held off the Mariners just long enough to break the game open with their offense in the top of the ninth.
Joe Broussard (LSU) got his second start for the Kettleers this season. He pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the first before giving up Harwich’s only run in the second. But he bounced back in his last two innings of work not allowing a run. “I was spotting my fastball up pretty well and my changeup was working,” he said. “I was just trying to keep the runs off the board and give our hitters a chance to get the game at the end.”
Both teams scored early, and it was up to the pitching to keep their teams in the game. The Kettleers struck first in the top of the second when Patrick Biondi (Michigan) singled to left to score James Roberts (USC). Biondi later scored on a bloop single to left by Tony Kemp (Vanderbilt) to put the Kettleers on top 2-0.
Despite playing without power hitters Austin Wilson (Stanford) and Phil Ervin (Samford), Harwich bounced back in its half of the second inning. Eric Jagielo (Notre Dame) hit a solo shot over the left field fence. Jacob May (Coastal Carolina) got a good jump on the ball, almost robbing Jagielo of the homer, but the ball bounced out of his glove and over the fence allowing the Mariners to score.
Broussard threw four innings while allowing just three hits. He hasn’t pitched much since he’s been with the Kettleers but coach Mike Roberts was quick to acknowledge his abilities. “The last outing was his best outing, and he built from that today,“ Roberts said. Broussard struck out six and walked three before middle reliever Jacob Stone (Weatherford JC) took the mound.
In a close 2-1 game, Stone was able to keep the Mariner’s at bay and off balance. He threw 2 1/3 innings and didn’t allow a hit. “You can’t really think of it as pressure I guess,” Stone said. “You just gotta get on it, and just do your job, pound the zone, get ground balls, and get outs.”
Stone walked just one batter and struck out five. The impressive pitching continued with submariner Ryan Connolly’s (Coastal Carolina) inning of work before Dan Slania (Notre Dame) came in to close Harwich out for good. “We all came in really focused,” Stone said. “We knew what we had to do and just got the job done pounding the zone.” The score remained at 2-1 until the top of the ninth when Cotuit capitalized on multiple Harwich miscues.
Mike Ford (Princeton) got things started in the top of the ninth for Cotuit with a lead off walk. He later advanced to third on a pick off attempt to first, and scored on a wild pitch to bring the score to 3-1. “It’s kind of a fun team to watch and they seem to be getting more confidence,” Roberts said. “The coaching staff is certainly just kind of laying back and enjoying watching them play.”
That wasn’t the only insurance run the Kettleers would score as three more batters crossed home plate. Galli Cribbs Jr. (San Jacinto) pinch ran for Derek Smith (U. Pitt Bradford) reaching second on a wild pitch, third on a fielder’s choice out, and scoring on another wild pitch.
If that wasn’t enough Biondi and Kemp wanted in on the fun. Biondi walked, and Kemp scored on a single to second. Both speedsters scored on a double steal where Harwich’s catcher overthrew third to score Biondi, and then the left fielder over threw home to score Kemp. “When you get Biondi and Kemp out there together, a lot of good things can happen,” Roberts said.
That brought the score to 6-1, which was more than enough for Cotuit closer Dan Slania (Notre Dame). “He’s pretty much automatic,” Broussard said of Slania. “We try and shorten the game as a staff just to get the ball to him. If we get the ball to him we feel like we’ve got a pretty good chance to win.” Slania pitched 1 2/3 innings and struck out the side in the bottom of the ninth for his league’s best eighth save of the season.
It’s going to be a day of lefties Monday as Cotuit plays a makeup game against Y-D. With Kevin Ziomek (Vanderbilt) done for the season, the Kettleers need every pitcher to do his part. “Other pitchers have got to pick up those innings,” Roberts said. “What I’m having to do is feel my way through which pitchers are best to work their way through those innings.” Brandon Bixler (Florida Gulf Coast), Cameron Griffin (Stetson), and Tim Mayza (Millersville U. of PA) will probably all see time on the mound.
The Kettleers (18-12) are now eight points above second place Falmouth (14-18) in the Western Division. They are also 8-2 in their last ten games. Harwich still remains atop the east, but by just two points over the Y-D Red Sox (19-12). For more postgame interviews, visit Official Kettleers on YouTube.