Story By John S. Condakes
Monday, July 28, 2008
COTUIT — After what had seemed like an eternity, the boys from Cotuit retook the field on Monday night at Lowell Park and hosted the hard-hitting Harwich Mariners. Coming off of almost a full week of rest, the Kettleers put the ball in the hands of their ace, Nick Hernandez of Tennessee for the eighth time at home this season.
Hernandez did his best to hold the Harwich bats quiet through his six and a third innings of work and the only blemish on his outing belonged to D.J. Lemahieu (Louisiana State). Lemahieu drove a belt-high offspeed pitch from Hernandez over the right field fence to put Harwich up 1-0 after two and a half. Cotuit’s ace finished his outing allowing only five hits with the one run along with two walks, six strikeouts and hit a man.
Harwich starter Willie Kempf of Baylor was just as effective as Hernandez through the first three innings but was unable to silence the Cotuit bats in the fourth inning. Third baseman Jeff Kobernus of Cal Berkeley broke up Kempf’s no-hit bid with a sharp double down the left field line. Clean-up hitting second baseman Matt Holliman of Cumberland drew a walk which set the stage for right fielder Evan Crawford of Indiana. Crawford drove the offering from Kempf into left field for an RBI single to knot the game at one but the Kettleers wouldn’t settle for the tie. Designated hitter Dallas Poulk of NC State broke the tie with authority as he cracked a two run double into the right center field gap to put the home team up 3-1. Left fielder Jeff Schaus (Clemson) followed up with a seeing-eye single into the hole in the right side of the infield to plate Poulk and give Hernandez and the Kettleers a 4-1 lead after four.
The Kettleers added two more in the bottom of the seventh against Harwich’s All-Star pitcher Brian Dupra of Notre Dame. Schaus led off with his second hit on the evening and center fielder Brett Jackson of Cal Berkeley followed with a double to left center to put runners on second and third with one out. Shortstop Michael Gilmartin executed a perfect drag bunt up the first base line and reached first as Schaus slid under the tag of Mariners catcher Tommy Medica (UC Santa Clara) for a 5-1 Cotuit advantage. A strange play occurred when Kobernus attempted the same play but took the pitch off his hand. Jackson came across to plate Cotuit’s sixth run but Kobernus left the game.
“He’s got a blister on his hand and I don’t think he’ll play tomorrow,” said Coach Mike Roberts in a post-game interview of the injured Kobernus.
Cal Berkeley’s Daniel Wolford came on to relieve Hernandez with one out in the top of the seventh and created a bit if a jam for himself but made it out unscathed. Wolford pitched two and two thirds innings of shutout ball allowing only one hit but had some control issues as he walked two and hit two batters. “The Wolf” was able to earn the save as Hernandez picked up his league-leading fifth win of the summer. Cotuit earned a crucial two points to keep them in the playoff hunt in the tightly-packed Western Division. The Kettleers added another young player to the mix as they picked up local product, Brendon Kelliher, from the Sandwich Legion Team. The boys will get back to work at Lowell Park on Tuesday night at 5 p.m. as they host the Bourne Braves for another important two points.