By John S. Condakes
TUESDAY, JULY 8, 2008
COTUIT— The .500 record didn’t last very long. Cotuit’s local nine got back to work Tuesday night against their rivals the Hyannis Mets in game three of the Barnstable Patriot Cup series and finally defeated them 5-2. The win boosted the Kettleers’ record to 11-10, broke their three game losing streak and gave them a win in the series as Hyannis still leads two games to one. Lefty Nick Hernandez of Tennessee was superb in his outing from start to finish as he scattered six hits over seven innings allowing one run, one walk and eight strikeouts for the win.
The Kettleers’ bats came to life in support of Hernandez in the bottom of the second inning. Hyannis starter Drew Muren of Cal State Northridge got the first two outs but right fielder Dallas Poulk (NC State) launched a double into the windy right-center field alley. Catcher Joey Lewis of Georgia got his first hit as a Kettleer and knocked in Poulk with an RBI single for the 1-0 lead. Center fielder Brett Jackson walked to put runners on first and second for left fielder Jeff Schaus. Schaus got the start in left due to an injury to every day third baseman Jeff Kobernus (Cal Berkeley) so usual left fielder Mike Bianucci (Auburn) filled in solidly for Kobernus. Schaus delivered a two-out, two run double into the gap in left-center field for the 3-0 Cotuit lead after 2.
The three runs would be all Hernandez would need as he wasn’t touched for a run until the top of the fifth inning. The lefty gave up a two out RBI single to leadoff hitter Trent Ashcraft (East Carolina) to cut the score to 3-1. The Kettleers added some insurance runs in the bottom of the seventh inning when Lewis reached on an error and back-to-back singles by Jackson and Poulk loaded the bases with no outs. Second baseman Jason Kipnis (Arizona State) broke out his slump in a big way with a 2 RBI single to put Cotuit up 5-1 going into the eighth.
Reliever Danny Meszaros (College of Charleston) allowed a solo home run to Chris Dominguez (Louisville) with two outs in the eighth making the score 5-2 but he retired the next four batters to preserve the win and earn a save. The Cotuit defense was also stalwart today as they did not commit an error for the first time in what has seemed like a decade.
Hernandez’s win improved his record to 4-1 on the season and has solidified his position as ace of the Cotuit pitching staff. “I was hitting my spots pretty well with Joey Lewis back there giving me a big target, he really caught the ball well,” said Hernandez. “I felt pretty good with everything today,” he said. Hernandez’s eight strikeouts were a season high for the Kettleers. The win not only broke a three game losing streak but the Kettleers had been a dismal 2-8 before Tuesday’s victory. Cotuit will travel to Bourne on Wednesday to take on the Braves as they continue to chase Hyannis for the top spot in the West. The first pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.