By Katie Vieth
July 10, 2004
LOWELL PARK — The Kettleers seem to have the odd ability to showcase games that are much, much too close. Games that are so close, the excitement and overall stress of the game is palpable; a static-y feeling, a rush of adrenaline.
But isn’t that what Kettleers baseball is all about?
The Yarmouth-Dennis v. Cotuit game did not exactly have a great start for the Kettleers. Y-D would score twice in the first inning. A bobbled ball by second-baseman Geoff Strickland let Frank Curerri on, while another bobbled ball, this time by shortstop Ben Ingold, allowed Wes Hodges to reach first and Curerri to hit second. A Ryan Rohlinger sacrifice bunt advanced the two base-runners one base, and a Ben Crabtree (isn’t that name familiar!) single to left drove in Curerri, while a broken-bat ground out from Will Harris would move Hodges home. The inning would end with a ground out, but it was quite clear that something would need to happen to get Cotuit rallying.
Y-D would score again in the third. A stand-up triple by Jim Rapaport would begin the inning, with a walk to Adam Davis following. Davis would attempt to steal second, but would end up at third on a throwing error credited to catcher Mike DeCarlo. Rapaport would score, making the run total 3-0. The next three batters would go down in order to end the inning.
Cotuit’s first real scoring opportunity would be in the bottom of the seventh, when Chase Headley would hit a one-out double to left (his second double of the night; he would go 2-3 with a walk). Headley would move to second upon Bobby Felmy’s 6-3 ground out, but he would be stranded at third when another 6-3 ground out would end the inning … and scoring opportunities until the bottom of the ninth.
Cotuit would be propelled into the realm of desperate rallies (the bottom of the ninth) by a one-two-three defensive inning, including a sliding catch made by left-fielder Dennis Diaz and a strikeout by Michael Koehler. So, when Brad Boyer stepped up to the plate, the fans shouted for a rally. But when Boyer grounded out, followed by a Bryan Harris strikeout, hope began to dim. Could they really do it? Should we just go home now? But loyal Cotuit fans know that the bottom of the ninth usually means a great half-inning of baseball, making some wonder if desperation is what best fuels the Kettleers.
But I digress.
Chase Headley stepped up to the plate, already with his two previously mentioned doubles, and took a walk on four straight balls. Bobby Felmy would follow with a single to center, moving a sprinting Headley to third. Ben Ingold, who had been having a tough time at the plate that day, connected with a hit to the shortstop … but a fielding error would allow Ingold to reach first, Headley to score, and Felmy to reach second. The fans went wild. Then Dennis Diaz stepped up to the plate, and upon his first pitch swung … and hit the catcher. Frank Curerri bent over as coaches and trainers rushed onto the field. A buzz of whispering ricocheted through the crowd. What happened? Is he okay? C’mon, let’s keep this game moving! Where did he get hit? Curerri would eventually get back into the catcher’s box and take a few warm-up pitches before Diaz was allowed to finish his at-bat. He would foul one off, then take a ball, before selecting a pitch to go to left-field! Felmy would score, and it felt like the Kettleers had a real two-out rally going. Mike DeCarlo then moved into the batter’s box, and managed to work the count full. Fans were screaming, adrenaline was pumping, Justin Meier set and threw the ball home…
And DeCarlo struck out swinging.
It felt like a balloon full of hope had popped. Everything just drained out of a two-run rally. But it was definitely a show of what the Kettleers can do … and why one should never, ever leave a game in the ninth inning.