By John S. Condakes
JUNE 29, 2008
HYANNIS — With the first quarter of the season officially over and an 8-3 record at stake, the Cotuit Kettleers traveled last night to face off against crosstown rival Hyannis in hopes of widening the gap between the Mets in second place and Cotuit in first.
The end result, however, was not entirely what Cotuit may have hoped for as Hyannis edged the guests, 4-3.
Cotuit was once again without sparkplug center fielder Brett Jackson (Cal Berkeley) and shortstop Robbie Shields (Florida Southern) which gave the starting lineup a bit of a shake-up. Indiana’s Evan Crawford stepped in for Shields at short and Tyler Holt of Florida State got the start in center. Robert Stock of USC was given the night off in favor of Purdue’s Dan Black behind the plate.
Paul Applebee (UC Riverside) got the start on the mound and had a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde-type outing as he was touched for a run in the first inning after striking out the first two batters. The Kettleers’ bats returned the favor in the top of the second as Crawford found the gap in right center field for a double plating Black to tie the score at 1. The Mets retook the lead in bottom of the fifth on an RBI double by Ryan Eden of New Orleans. The hit chased Applebee from the game and brought in newcomer and Freshman All-American Drew Storen (Stanford) for relief.
Cotuit caught up again in the top of the sixth but another Kettleer fell victim to the injury bug as slugging left fielder Mike Bianucci was plunked in the left shin by a Colin Bates (North Carolina) fastball and was forced to exit the game in favor of Brett Jackson (UC Berkeley). “It’s a little stiff,” said Bianucci after the game. Hopefully he will be back in the order tomorrow. Jackson scored on an RBI double by third baseman Jeff Kobernus (UC Berkeley). Kobernus continued his hot hitting but made a base running error and was picked off trying to stretch his double into a triple. First baseman Kevin Patterson of Auburn, who had singled before Kobernus, was picked off at third after taking too wide of a lead to kill the Kettleers’ rally. They finished the inning with the score tied at 2-2.
Storen came out again for the bottom of the sixth and Hyannis was able to knock in two runs off of the right hander to put the Mets up 4-2 going into the seventh. Cotuit came back with another mini-rally in the top of the seventh as Crawford (2-3, RBI) scored on an error to cut the score to 4-3. Storen pitched a much better bottom of the seventh allowing only one hit and striking out two but he would go on to suffer the loss in two and a third innings of work. Sam Brown (NC State) pitched a perfect eighth and the Cotuit bats had their last chance to tie it in the ninth. Black led off with a walk and Shields replaced him as a pinch runner and moved over on a sacrifice bunt by Crawford. Unfortunately, the Mets’ Russell Brewer proved why he leads the league in saves and sealed the win for Hyannis.
The Kettleers will be back in action tomorrow night at Orleans as they face the Cardinals for the second time this season and will look to get back on track with a win. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m.