By Katie Vieth
July 16, 2004
WAREHAM — After a few tough losses (and a nice win) the Kettleers found themselves back to face the Wareham Gatemen at Clem Spillane Field, a field infamous for its gravel infield. Cotuit, though, would have to overcome so much more then a hard diamond to beat Wareham .
Like being down 7-1 in the third inning.
Wareham would strike in the first with two singles, a home run, a triple, and a sac fly to left, scoring four runs. The home run, hit by Justin Brashear, was the highlight of the inning; it was quite clear that the ball was to go over the fence, so the question was whether it was to be foul or fair. And, as the Wareham bullpen was signaling, it was a fair ball.
Another run, in the form of right-fielder Lance Salsgiver, would be scored by Wareham in the bottom of the second. A one-out walk would put him on first, while a Chris Gutierrez ground out and a Warner Jones single (he would be caught trying for a double to end the inning) would advance him to second and home, respectively.
Cotuit would score in the third when Bobby Felmy would hit a single to right, move to second on a misplayed ball by catcher Justin Brashear, advance to third on a wild pitch, and score on a Dennis Diaz single to left. But then Brad Boyer would ground out, along with Geoff Strickland, and Diaz would be tagged out on what could be only guessed as a 5-3-5-2-5, so no other runs would come out of the inning.
Wareham was not about to stop the wild merry-go-round, though. A one-out solo home run by Zak Farkes would begin the rally, and a two-out stand up double by Mike Hernandez would continue it. When Whit Robbins hit a single to left, allowing Hernandez to touch home, the Kettleers swapped pitcher Cody Evans for Ken Egleton. Egleton would work the count full after beginning with a 3-0 count, but would ultimately lose Salsgiver to a single. Egleton would get out of the inning when Gutierrez hit a foul fly out to first on a 2-1 count.
Cotuit decided to make it clear that they weren’t about to give up, even when faced with a six-run deficit. Steve Pearce, the DH (who has played, since his arrival, at least five positions), drew a lead-off walk after looking at a full count, and hope began to emerge. When Pearce stole second, and moved to third on a Bryan Harris single (he would advance to second on the throw), things began to look up for the pinstripes. And upon a single by Chase Headley that drove in two runs, it became clear that anything was possible. A strike-out, caught stealing, and foul fly would end the inning, but it was clear that a four-run difference wouldn’t be impossible to make up.
Cotuit would score again in the seventh. A lead-off walk drawn by Nathan Emrick, followed by a single by Nathan Southard showed clear signs of a rally. And when both Emrick and Southard advanced a base on a misplayed ball, it was becoming better and better for the Kettleers. A Ken Egleton strike-out would dampen the hopes of the Kettleers, but a single by Dennis Diaz (he would go 2-3) would score Emrick, and move Southard to third. Southard would score when Brad Boyer would hit a fielder’s choice to left, but the inning would end when Boyer would get picked off 1-4-6 after stealing second.
The bottom of the seventh would bring pitcher Michael Koehler into the game to face Mike Hernandez, who would hit a double to center. Whit Robbins would follow with a walk, so Cotuit would opt to switch to submariner Ryan Cahalan. Cahalan would get Lance Salsgiver to pop a bunt up for the first out, but Gutierrez hit a single, moving Hernandez to third (though a 7-5 attempt was made) and Robbins to second. A walk to Travis Tully would score Hernandez. Geoff Strickland and Bryan Harris then showed that Cotuit was still in the game by turning a 6-3 double play.
Wareham’s Jamie Grant and Kevin Whelan kept the Kettleers from scoring in the next two innings, with both innings going 1-2-3. Cotuit’s fielding, as a play in the bottom of the eighth showed, has been beginning to become more fluid, more natural. Justin Brashear hit a short little ball on a 0-1 count to the pitcher (Cahalan), who threw the ball from the ground and managed, with an great stretch by Bryan Harris, to get the out.
So although the loss was 8-5 was tough — especially as a loss to Wareham — coming back from a six-run deficit definitely shows something great about the Kettleers.