By John S. Condakes
MONDAY, JULY 7, 2008
COTUIT—The last time the Kettleers faced off against the Chatham Athletics, catcher Robert Stock provided some tenth-inning heroics to lead Cotuit to the win 6-5. After two straight losses to Cotuit, Chatham finally broke through in the win column with a 7-4 victory over the struggling Kettleers at Lowell Park. Over the last week, Cotuit starters have made a bad habit out of allowing their opponents to score in the first inning. The same was true against the A’s as starter Nate Garcia of UC Santa Clara as he allowed a run on back-to-back singles in the first to put his team in a hole 1-0.
Rightfielder Jason Kipnis (Arizona State) led off the bottom of the inning with a double to center field but was stranded on second to end the inning. Third baseman Jeff Kobernus of Cal Berkeley was injured after fouling a ball square off of his knee and was removed from the game after it was apparent that he couldn’t run full-speed. Mike Bianucci of Auburn moved in from left field and Indiana’s Evan Crawford entered the game and played left.
The A’s struck again in the third with an RBI double by Kyle Bellows of San Jose State for the 2-0 lead but Kevin Patterson of Auburn struck back for Cotuit. The first baseman drilled Jake Thomson’s (Long Beach State) offering over the fence in right field for his second home run of the season to cut the lead to 2-1 after four. Garcia got himself into a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the fifth and was replaced by reliever Daniel Wolford of Cal Berkeley. Wolford induced ground balls from the A’s but three errors by the Kettleers’ defense allowed three runs to cross the plate for Chatham to give them a 5-1 lead.
With two outs in the bottom of the fifth, Stock knocked another Thomson pitch out of the park in right for his first homer of the season to cut the lead to 5-2. “It feels pretty good, it’s always a monkey off your back to get the first one,” said Stock of his home run, “it’s just a constant process. It also helps to know a bunch of the pitchers against Chatham since I catch for a couple at school and play league games against Jake [Thomson],” he said.
The Kettleers put together some hits and added two more runs in the bottom of the seventh. Second baseman Dallas Poulk led off and legged out a double into short left-center field and advanced to third on Stock’s groundout. Kipnis knocked in Poulk with an RBI groundout to make the score 5-3. Bianucci joined the offensive attack by launching his fifth dinger of the season to cut the Chatham lead to 5-4. That would be as close at the Kettleers would come as Stanford’s Drew Storen relieved Wolford in the eighth and allowed 2 more runs for a 7-4 score. Brad Boxberger of USC had revenge on his mind after suffering the loss the last time these two teams met and he handled the Kettleers in order in the bottom of the ninth to save the game for the A’s.
The loss was the third in a row for Cotuit as they dropped to the .500 mark for the first time all season with a 10-10 record. The Kettleers will face their rival Hyannis Mets for the second time this week on Tuesday in a make-up game at 5 p.m. at Lowell Park and will look to get back on track once again as the two teams battle in game three of the Barnstable Patriot Cup Series.