By Jessica Isner, Staff Writer
June 30 , 2007
LOWELL PARK, COTUIT, MA — For a while, the bats were on fire, so Cotuit was afloat. But now, with the offense taking a midsummer catnap, the pitching has been paying for its early-inning struggles, and the Kettleers dropped their second straight game, this time by a 7-2 margin to the struggling Falmouth Commodores on Saturday.
Cotuit starter Ryan Strauss, a Florida State Seminole, struggled through four and a third innings, allowing four runs on five hits with five walks.
Falmouth’s offense got started early against Strauss. After a quick couple of outs, including a strikeout, Conor Gilaspie drove a homer to center field for the 1-0 lead. Fortunately, Strauss quickly regained his composure to earn a strikeout to end the inning. The Commodores added another run in the second when, with men on first and third and nobody out, Tony Delmonico bobbled a possible double-play ball, allowing everyone to reach safely and a run to score. Then, after Phil Carey bunted on to load the bases, David Adams grounded into a 5-2-3 double play, which saved a run for Cotuit. With two outs and two on, Gilaspie registered a couple more RBI with a double to the gap in center field. Strauss walked Mathew Hague to load the bases, bringing Kevin Dublin up to bat, who struck out. By the middle of the second, the Commodores had a 4-0 lead, and Cotuit had to play catch-up once again.
Strauss started off the third on the right note with a strikeout to Aja Barto, then got some stellar defensive help from shortstop Reese Havens to earn a 1-2-3 inning. After a good fourth inning, he got into trouble again when he allowed the first two batters of the inning to reach on a double and a walk. Kevin Dublin chased Strauss from the game after he sacrificed the two runners over, and Jordan Meaker was called upon. Aja Barto hit a sharp broken bat grounder to third baseman Josh Harrison, who scooped it and threw home to save a run for the second time in the game. With two out, Meaker struck out Matt Nuzzo to stave off further damage.
Shafer, meanwhile, continued to baffle the Cotuit order with his offspeed stuff. Throughout the first five innings, he surrendered just one hit, a double to Havens in the second. The Kettleers finally got to him in the bottom of the sixth, when first baseman Aaron Baker hit a leadoff home run, his second of the summer. Shafer lost his touch a little bit after that: he got Delmonico out, but then gave up two consecutive hits to Robert Stock and Curtis Dupart. With men on first and third, defensive replacement Correy Figueroa singled into right field to narrow the deficit to two runs. With Havens at bat, an attempted double-steal went awry, and Dupart got caught at third. Havens then grounded out to end the threat.
In the top of the eighth, the Commodores managed to grab another few runs to push their lead back out to five. After breezing through his first two innings, Meaker allowed a single to Barto to lead off the eighth, then was chased after Nuzzo struck out but reached first on a passed ball. After DHing through the first seven innings, Robert Stock took the mound and allowed both inherited runners to score on a two-RBI single by Phil Carey. Then, Jeremy Farrell hit a rocket to second base, where Figueroa almost made a play on it but lost the ball, allowing another run to score.
Cotuit got a rally going in the bottom of the eighth, when Delmonico and Stock singled on and Figueroa worked a four-pitch walk to load the bases with two outs. Havens then struck out looking on a questionable called third strike to kill the comeback.