Story By John S. Condakes
THURSDAY, JULY 10, 2008
COTUIT — It was an old fashioned pitchers’ duel. Thursday night’s contest between the Kettleers and the Wareham Gatemen had all the makings of a good one after Wareham’s 4-0 victory on Sunday. The Kettleers were looking to dish out some serious payback after almost being no hit by Wareham’s Brandon Workman of Texas on Sunday and they succeeded with a 2-0 win over the visiting Gatemen to remain in a three-way tie for first place in the West with Bourne and Hyannis.
Four Cotuit pitchers took the mound for Coach Mike Roberts in the game and Mario Hollands of UC Santa Barbara was the first to get a crack at the Wareham bats. Hollands looked solid in two innings allowing no runs, two hits, two walks and a strikeout. Workman surrendered a single in the first to third baseman Mike Bianucci of Auburn ending all hope of throwing a no hitter this time around. Bianucci continued his success against Workman going 1 for 2 and is now 2 for 3 against Wareham’s ace and once again filled in for the injured Jeff Kobernus (Cal Berkeley) who is still recovering from a bruise on his knee from a foul ball three days ago and may return this week.
Zach Von Tersch (Georgia Tech) entered the game in the third inning in relief of Hollands and pitched well in four innings of work. He allowed runners to reach first and second in three of his four innings but each time escaped without a runner advancing to third. Von Tersch’s line went four innings pitched with two hits, no runs, three walks and two strikeouts for the win. “I haven’t thrown since Sunday,” said Von Tersch. “The fastball was working for the most part and every now and then the change-up and slider worked too so it was nice,” he said of his performance in the win.
The Cotuit offense struck against Workman in the bottom of the fourth inning when center fielder Brett Jackson of Cal Berkeley deposited a pitch over the right field fence for his third homer of the season to put the Kettleers up 1-0. The run would be all the Cotuit pitchers would need but catcher Robert Stock of USC provided some breathing room in the seventh as he drove in shortstop Michael Gilmartin (Wofford) with a two-out RBI single for the 2-0 lead. The run was charged to Wareham reliever Josh Slaats of Hawaii who allowed one run on two hits with a walk and a strikeout in his two innings of work.
In the sixth inning, Roberts was ejected for arguing balls and strikes by the home plate umpire. It was the first ejection of the season for Roberts and he continuously yelled at the umpire that he should not “take it out on [his] players” as he furiously left the field.
The Gatemen made it interesting against Cotuit’s Danny Meszaros (College of Charleston) as he gave up a leadoff double to shortstop Shea Vucinich of Washington State but stranded him at third base with a spectacular inning that included a reflex catch on a line drive by Meszaros and a called third strike to end the inning. Meszaros then walked clean-up hitter Aaron Baker of Oklahoma to start the eighth but bore down to strike out the last two batters to retire the side. He finished with one hit, two walks and three strikeouts in two electrifying innings of work.
Drew Storen of Stanford came on in the ninth to slam the door shut against the Wareham batters. He didn’t allow a runner to reach base and had one strikeout for the save. The game marked the first appearance for newcomer Matt Holliman of Cumberland who was added to the roster on Tuesday. Holliman flew out to deep center in his first at-bat showing glimpses of how he led his team in home runs during the spring. He also aided in moving over Gilmartin to third base in the eighth before Stock drove him home.
The win was the third in a row for Cotuit and marked the first shutout of the season for the pitching staff. The Kettleers will travel to Falmouth to face the Commodores on Friday night at 7 p.m. for another crucial two points in what has become a neck-and-neck race for first place in the West.
Wednesday night’s game was the first time Roberts used the exact same lineup on consecutive nights all season. The win was the second in a row for Cotuit and they will return home on Thursday to tangle with the Wareham Gatemen in hopes of avenging almost being no-hit last time. Game time is set for 5 p.m.