Story By John S. Condakes
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
COTUIT — The longballs were flying but it wasn’t enough to beat the visiting Bourne Braves as the local nine belted three home runs on the evening but ended the game in an 8-8 tie. The Kettleers sent Paul Applebee (UC Riverside) to the mound to take on a newly-shuffled Braves lineup as they lost everyday shortstop Dusty Coleman of Wichita State to a major league contract. The Kettleers brought in Brendon Kelliher (George Washington) to add some depth in the infield and outfield and he was dressed for the game donning the number 6 but did not play. The Sandwich hometown hero just came off his freshman campaign and will look to contribute for the Kettleers for the remainder of the season.
Applebee faced some minor difficulties in the early going of the contest but got himself out of trouble with two outstanding pick off plays. The Kettleers responded with a leadoff homerun from cleanup hitting second baseman Matt Holliman (Cumberland). The blast was his first of the season and gave the home team a 1-0 lead after two. Applebee continued to have success against the Braves until the fifth inning when he was touched for four runs after five consecutive hits. The lefty was then able to induce a 6-4-3 double play off the bat of Bourne’s designated hitter Brandon Bantz of Dallas Baptist and struck out first baseman Kyle Roller (East Carolina) to end the threat with the score 4-1 in favor of Bourne.
The Cotuit bats struck back with three more in the bottom of the fifth. First baseman Kevin Patterson (3 for 4, HR, 2 RBI) of Auburn got the rally going with a leadoff double and was driven in by catcher Joey Lewis of Georgia on Lewis’s first round-tripper of the summer.
“It felt unbelievable,” explained Lewis. “I was just trying to hit one solid and luckily it happened to leave the yard,” he said. Lewis bomb brought the score to 4-3 in favor of Bourne. Center fielder Brett Jackson of Cal Berkeley continued the momentum with a walk and was immediately moved over on a textbook sacrifice bunt by shortstop Michael Gilmartin of Wofford. Jackson advanced to third on a wild pitch by Bourne starter Bryce Stowell of UC Irvine and scored on a sacrifice bunt by third baseman Jeff Kobernus of Cal Berkeley to knot the game up at 4 after five.
Bourne came back with four more in the top of the sixth off the combined efforts of Applebee, reliever John Lambert (NC State) and fellow Wolfpack Sam Brown. Brown was finally able to stop the bleeding after the Braves sent nine hitters to the plate.
The Kettleers struck back with two more in the sixth when Patterson belted the third dinger of the night with right fielder Evan Crawford (Indiana) on third base after a leadoff single, wild pitch and advanced on a groundout. Patterson’s shot cut the Bourne lead to 8-6. Closer Drew Storen of Stanford was brought out for the top of the eighth and found himself in hot water with runners on first and second with one out. Bantz crushed a pitch to right that had Crawford a bit out of position but he readjusted and made an off-balance catch. Bourne left fielder Marc Krauss of Ohio made a huge baserunning error and was caught in no-man’s-land by Holliman who flipped it over to Patterson for the unconventional yet effective 9-4-3 twin killing to end the threat.
Cotuit once again battled back in the bottom of the seventh as they loaded the bases with no outs on three consecutive hits from Jackson, Gilmartin and Kobernus. Holliman added his second RBI of the night on a fielder’s choice to make the score 8-7 and left fielder Jeff Schaus of Clemson joined the party with a sacrifice fly to knot the score up at 8. Storen pitched a scoreless ninth to secure a point for the Kettleers but they couldn’t push the winning run across as they fell 1-2-3 to Bourne closer Eric Pettis of UC Irvine. The Kettleers will take a break from playing baseball tomorrow night as they will attend a Red Sox game at Fenway Park and All-Stars Patterson, Seth Blair (Arizona State) and Nick Hernandez (Tennessee) will be recognized along with the rest of the Cape League. The next contest will be against the rival Hyannis Mets on Thursday night in Hyannis with another important two points at stake as the two teams vie for the playoffs.