By Jessica Isner, Staff Writer
July 11, 2007
LOWELL PARK, COTUIT, MA — With the end of every streak comes the beginning of a new one.
On Wednesday evening, the Cotuit Kettleers managed to temporarily put an end to their staring pitching slump and won their second straight game, this time by a 7-4 score over the division basement-dwelling Wareham Gatemen.
Michael Cisco was nearly perfect through five innings, but allowed four runs between the sixth and the seventh before he was lifted. He scattered five hits over six and 2/3 innings, striking out five.
“I had my changeup working well, and I was just trying to mix up my pitches and keep them off balance,” said the pitcher after earning his first win of the season. “It feels good [to win], and that’s what I’m ultimately here to do: get the team a win.”
Both pitchers came into the outing with very similar numbers: both were winless at 0-2, but Keuchel had a slightly better 3.28 ERA in comparison to Cisco’s 3.50. Cisco, however, was the one who came out firing, baffling the top of the Wareham order in a first inning that featured two strikeouts.
Keuchel was a different story. He allowed two straight one-out singles to Tony Delmonico and Ryne White, then got lucky with a bunt strikeout from Caleb Joseph before surrendering a two-out, three-run homer to Reese Havens, his first of the season.
Then, before Keuchel could even record an out in the third, the Kettleers padded two more runs onto the lead. Delmonico and White led off with two straight singles again, then Joseph knocked them home with a bloop double down the right field line to make it 5-0. After that, he seemed to find the strike zone, and whiffed three to end the inning, working around a hit batsman.
After his first 1-2-3 inning in the fourth, Keuchel lost control completely in the fifth and was lifted after hitting two batters in the inning. With the bases loaded and two outs, he was replaced by Colin McHugh, who walked home the sixth Cotuit run.
The Gatemen finally got a couple of runs in the top of the sixth. Dan Booker reached on an error by Cisco, and after Blake Dean popped out to the shortstop, Ike Davis drove him in with a double. The next batter reached on another error, which brought in Davis from second. The seventh inning would be Cisco’s last; he got the first two outs quickly, but then allowed two consecutive hits to pinch hitter Josh Phegley and Ben Booker. Cisco was lifted for designated hitter Robert Stock, who allowed both inherited runners to score but then struck out Dustin Dickerson to get out of the inning and preserve the 6-4 lead.
“Errors happen, and they’re in the past, so there’s nothing you can do about them,” Cisco said. “You can either dwell on them, or you can put them past you and focus on the next batter. The second choice is the better choice.”
Cotuit added an insurance run in the top of the eighth. Jason Rook singled to lead off the inning, and Stock grounded out before Curtis Dupart walked. JB Shuck then grounded into a fielder’s choice, but an errant throw to first allowed Rook to score the Kettleers’ seventh run.
The game was called after the top of the eighth on account of darkness.
“I definitely think our pitching has improved,” head coach Mike Roberts said after the game. “Are we at the level we need to be at? No. Are we headed there? Yes.”