story by John S. Condakes
THURSDAY, July 17, 2008
WAREHAM — Maybe it’s all in the moustache. For the second night in a row, Arizona State’s Jason Kipnis reached base safely three times while filling in in centerfield for the injured Brett Jackson (Cal Berkeley). Kipnis, who now sports some flashy retro facial hair, was nothing less of an offensive sparkplug for the Kettleers as he led them to an 8-3 victory over host Wareham last night at Clem Spillane Field.
Cotuit’s Nate Garcia of UC Santa Clara faced off against Robby Broach of Tulane on the mound. The Kettleers spotted Garcia a 2-0 lead in the second thanks to back-to-back single by left fielder Jeff Schaus of Clemson and Kipnis. The two of them scored on a 2 RBI single by third baseman Jeff Kobernus of Cal Berkeley. Wareham answered immediately in the bottom of the inning with back-to-back doubles from third baseman Raynor Campbell of Baylor and Ryan Pineda of Cal State Northridge. Pineda knocked in Campbell and scored on a wild pitch to knot the game up at 2 apiece.
Kipnis and the Kettleers took control of the game in the fourth. Catcher Joey Lewis of Georgia led off with a walk and shortstop Michael Gilmartin followed with his first of two singles on the night (2 for 5, 2 runs) which sent Lewis to third on a beautifully executed hit-and-run called by Coach Mike Roberts. Right fielder Evan Crawford of Indiana then roped a double to plate Lewis and put runners on second and third for the mustachioed Kipnis. Kipnis crushed an offering from Broach over the fence in left-center field for his first home run of the season to up the score to 6-2 in favor of the Kettleers.
“I almost kinda forgot the feeling of hitting a home run,” said Kipnis of his three-run blast. “I knew it had a chance but I was running hard down the line and wanted to get a double at the very least,” he said.
Garcia worked well with the lead and was pulled after five and a third innings of work allowing three total runs with 3 walks and five strikeouts as he earned the win. Danny Meszaros from the College of Charleston inherited a runner from Garcia and allowed him to score after hitting the first two batters he faced with pitches. Meszaros pitched well in two and two thirds innings for Cotuit but hit an improbable four batters in his outing while striking out five with no walks.
The Kettleers added two more runs in the top of the eighth with a little help from the Gatemen. Gilmartin led off with his second single of the game and Schaus reached on an error. After a pitching change that brought in Zach Brewster (Georgia Tech) in relief of Jimmy Saris (Georgetown), Kipnis reached base for the fourth time on the evening on an error by Campbell. First baseman Kevin Patterson of Auburn walked with the bases loaded to plate Gilmartin and second baseman Matt Holliman of Cumberland was plunked with a pitch from Brewster to force in Schaus to make the score 8-3.
Drew Storen of Stanford pitched the ninth inning for the Kettleers and mowed down the first two batters he faced before giving up a walk and a single to add a little bit of drama. He then retired Connor Rowe of Texas on a groundout to Holliman to seal the victory.
Cotuit improved to 15-13-1 and picked up another important two points in the race for the playoffs in the West. The boys will host their division rival, the Falmouth Commodores, on Friday at 5 p.m. at Lowell Park where the winner will claim sole possession of second place in the Western Division.