By John S. Condakes
JUNE 30, 2008
ORLEANS — It’s official. The Kettleers are in their first legit losing streak of the season as they dropped a 5-4 contest to the Orleans Cardinals in 10 innings last night at Eldredge Park. Even more frustrating is that all three of the Kettleers’ consecutive losses have been by one run. Danny Meszaros was charged with the loss as Cotuit fell to 8-5 on the season. The Kettleers were once again without starting shortstop Robbie Shields (Florida Southern) and were without Mike Bianucci (Auburn) who leads the league in home runs and RBI. Outfielder Tyler Holt also was released from his contract last night so of the possible nine position players; there were no healthy substitutes available.
The theme for this game was poor defense as the Kettleers committed six errors on the evening. The Cardinals jumped out to an early 2-0 lead against Cotuit starter Mario Hollands of UC Santa Barbara as they capitalized on an error by shortstop Evan Crawford. The two unearned runs would be all that the Cardinal bats could muster against Hollands as he was much more effective than in his last outing against the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox yielding only two hits to go with the two unearned runs with two walks and four strikeouts.
The Cotuit offense got to work in the top of the fourth as centerfielder Brett Jackson (UC Berkeley) led off with a walk. With two outs, second baseman Dallas Poulk delivered a clutch double to score Jackson and cut the Cardinals’ lead to 2-1. The Kettleers’ bats were quieted except for a bases-loaded no-out situation to begin the sixth but Orleans’s Eliot Glynn (UConn) escaped from the inning without allowing a run.
Daniel Wolford of UC Berkeley relieved Hollands and was spectacular in two and a third innings of work allowing no runs and no hits while striking out five. His blazing fastball impressed numerous scouts who were in attendance.
The Kettleers would strike gold in the eighth with three runs with a little help from some spotty defense by the Cardinals. First baseman Kevin Patterson of Auburn led off the inning with a triple to center field that in any other park would have been a home run. Jeff Kobernus of UC Berkeley celebrated his birthday with an RBI double to plate Patterson and tie the score at 2. Crawford reached on an error sending Kobernus to third. Robert Stock of USC bunted in Kobernus with a perfect sacrifice. Crawford scored on a wild pitch to put Cotuit up 4-2. Sam Brown of NC State came in to try and protect the lead but he surrendered two runs to the Cardinals to tie the score back up at two.
The teams traded scoring chances in the ninth but the game took an extra frame to determine a winner. The Kettleers went 1-2-3 in the tenth and Meszaros came back out to face Orleans in the bottom of the inning. The first two batters reached on errors and the Cardinals took the game on a suicide squeeze by designated hitter Alex Hassan of Duke. The Kettleers will try to right the ship and go for their ninth win tomorrow night as they visit the Chatham A’s at 7 p.m.