Story By John S. Condakes
Monday, August 4, 2008
CHATHAM — Paul Applebee (UC Riverside) pitched another solid six innings for the Kettleers but still couldn’t earn the win after he gave up a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the sixth but the Cotuit bats picked up the slack to propel themselves to a 4-2 win over the hosting Chatham Athletics on Monday night at Veterans Field. Applebee gave up a lead off single shortstop Kyle Seager (UNC-Chapel Hill) in the bottom of first but recovered to retire the next thirteen batters in a row.
The Kettleers opened the scoring against Chatham starter Matt Zoltak (Clemson) in the top of the fifth after they threatened with runners on in the second, third and fourth innings. Catcher Robert Stock of USC got it going for the Kettleers with a one out single through the right side of the infield and then stole second off of Zoltak’s slow delivery to put himself into scoring position. Stock then advanced to third base on a passed ball against Chatham catcher Ben Mercurio of Maine. Center fielder Brett Jackson put the finishing touch on Stock’s trip around the bases as he knocked him home with a two-out RBI bunt single to put the good guys on top 1-0 after four and a half.
First baseman Joey Lewis (Georgia) got it going in the top of the sixth with a leadoff single and moved over to second base on a sacrifice bunt by left fielder Jason Kipnis (Arizona State). Kipnis was called out on a diving effort by Chatham first baseman Evan Ocheltree of Wake Forest after he went diving head first into the bag but he got the job done in moving Lewis into scoring position. Right fielder Evan Crawford of Indiana knocked in Lewis with a one-out RBI single to put the Kettleers up 2-0.
The Athletics wasted no time erasing the deficit as they put back-to-back-to-back hits together with one out in the bottom of the sixth to tie the score at 2 after six innings. Cotuit retook the lead in the top of the eighth thanks to some timely hitting. Crawford walked with two outs and easily stole his eleventh base of the season in as many tries to put himself into scoring position. With the pressure on with two outs, second baseman Dallas Poulk (NC State) drove in Crawford with a clutch RBI single to put the Kettleers up 3-2. Poulk’s single was misplayed in the outfield and he ended up on third base when all was said and done after the ball was thrown out of play. Coach Mike Roberts argued that Poulk should have been awarded home plate after the ball went out of play but the umpires disagreed. Luckily Poulk scored on a wild pitch by Carmine Giardina (Central Florida) who suffered the loss for Chatham to put the Kettleers up for good at 4-2.
“I was just trying not to do too much with the pitch he gave me,” said Poulk of his RBI single.
Georgia Tech hurler Zach Von Tersch relieved Applebee and pitched a solid two innings as he earned the win. Von Tersch gave way to Daniel Wolford of Cal Berkeley who slammed the door shut on the A’s in the bottom of the ninth as he struck out the final two batters to earn the save. The win paired with losses by both Hyannis and Falmouth leapfrogged the Kettleers into a tie for first place with the Mets as they continue their quest for a playoff birth. Cotuit’s local nine will return to action Tuesday at 7 p.m. as they visit the Gatemen in Wareham.