Comeback Kids Edge Whitecaps, 11-10 in 8-Inning Affair
By Jessica Isner, Staff Writer
June 27 , 2007
LOWELL PARK, COTUIT, MA — The Cape League may not be a pitcher’s league this year; it’s shaping up to be a hitter’s league. At least, that’s what an experience at Lowell Park will teach you.
The Kettleers won their most exciting game of the season on Tuesday, this time an 11-10 victory over the Brewster Whitecaps. Cotuit starter Jim Birmingham failed to get out of the first inning. He faced seven batters and allowed six of them to reach, spotting the Whitecaps five runs in the process.
Correy Figueroa was the star of the game. After falling victim to controversial officiating, he got his revenge in the bottom of the eighth inning to drive home the winning runs.
“It’s unbelievable, how well we’ve hit in this league,” Figueroa said. “Our pitchers have been struggling a little bit, but we’ve been able to pick them up.”
The game was called after eight innings due to darkness.
Birmingham took a 1-0 record into the contest and began by loading the bases on two walks, a single, and a wild pitch. He then surrendered a grand slam to Brad Glenn before allowing a double to Yonder Alonso, all before recording an out. He took third on a flyout to right, then scored on a wild pitch to give the Whitecaps the early 5-0 lead. After allowing a walk to David Cooper, Birmingham’s afternoon was over. He was replaced by Brian Wilson of Loyola Marymount and retired the final two batters of the inning.
Wilson pitched five solid innings of relief, surrendering only two runs on three hits with three K’s.
Brewster’s Brad Kledzick, enjoying the early lead, retired the top third of Cotuit’s order on four pitches, then had another very quick 1-2-3 inning in the second. He ran into trouble in the third, when he hit Mike Bianucci to lead off, then allowed a double to center to Reese Havens. With men on second and third and nobody out, Ryan Lollis lined a single to left field, which scored both Havens and Bianucci. After striking out Aaron Baker, Kledzick walked Josh Harrison and allowed a single to Ryne White to load the bases. He then hit Yan Gomes to bring home Cotuit’s third run, and Correy Figueroa hit a chopper to the pitcher which brought the Kettleers within a run. Kledzick struck out Curtiz Dupart for the second time to preserve Brewster’s 5-4 lead.
The Kettleers got something going in the bottom of the fifth frame, when White lined a one-out single to right field for his second hit of the game, then Kledzick walked Yan Gomes. Then a little bit of controversy erupted, when Correy Figueroa appeared to have evaded a tag on first base to get away with a bunt single, but he was then ruled out for stepping outside the basepath. Because it would have been a bases-loaded, one-out situation, head coach Mike Roberts vehemently argued the call until he was tossed from the game, his first ejection of the season. Curtis Dupart flied out to left field, ending the threat and stranding men on second and third.
“They said I was outside the baseline, and I thought I was inside,” Figueroa said after the game. “I guess that’s the way it goes. Coach got thrown out just to protect his players, but I think he was trying to spark us up, too”
In the top of the sixth, Brewster came back for another run after putting men on first and third and chasing Wilson from the game. Reliever Jason Rook allowed one inherited runner to score on a bloop single before getting Danny Lima to fly out. He let the other inherited runner to score on a single to center field, which extended the Whitecaps’ lead to 7-4. Rook struck out Brad Glenn to end the inning.
Characteristic of the Kettleers, they came back again in the bottom of the frame, when Bianucci reached on a misplayed ball hit to deep center. Havens singled on before Ryan Lollis shot an RBI-single down the third baseline to make it 7-5 with nobody out. After a pitching change, Josh Harrison drove in Cotuit’s sixth run, but that is all the Kettleers would get in the inning.
Brewster added another run in the top of the seventh, when Michael Marseco grounded into a fielder’s choice with men on first and third. With Jordan Meaker on the mound in the eighth, the Whitecaps made it 9-6 with an RBI groundout by Brad Glenn that followed consecutive singles by Danny Lima and David Doss. Pinch hitter Byron Wiley then registered an RBI double to extend Brewster’s lead to 10-6.
Cotuit got a few of those runs back in the bottom of the eighth. Havens singled and eventually came around on another single, a stolen base, and an error by the first baseman. Then, Harrison kept the rally going with an RBI-base hit to center. Ryne White singled to load the bases before Baker came home on a passed ball to bring the Kettleers within a run. Gomes took a walk to reload the bases, and after a pitching change to a Brewster submariner Shinaberry, Figueroa singled home the winning runs.
“It was really exciting,” Figueroa said. “I’ve faced that pitcher before, and he’s tough, but [teammate] Brian Wilson said to just look at his shoes, and that way, you can follow the ball really well.”