Story By John S. Condakes/CAA Asst. Web Editor
TUESDAY, August 12, 2008
COTUIT — Next stop, a date with Harwich. After a bit of a wait due to Monday’s rainout, the Kettleers won the decisive game three over the visiting Falmouth Commodores in another tight battle by a score of 3-2. It was nothing less than an exiting game to watch as fans from both sides hung on every pitch through all nine innings. In the end, it was Cotuit’s pitching staff that got the better of the Falmouth bats as they had done numerous times during the regular season.
Brandon Cumpton (Georgia Tech) got the call from Coach Mike Roberts to start this intense contest and he delivered a fantastic outing. In the top of the first, Cumpton issued a free pass to leadoff man Joey Wong of Oregon State but then induced a double play by catcher Trevor Coleman (Missouri) and struck out center fielder A.J. Pollock (Notre Dame) to retire the side without any damage. The Commodores struck first blood in the top of the second against Cumpton as he walked right fielder Ryan Jones (Wichita State) with two outs. Designated hitter Michael Thomas of Southern ripped a double into the left-center field gap to plate him for an early 1-0 advantage.
The Kettleers’ bats picked up their pitcher immediately in the bottom half of the inning thanks to second baseman Dallas Poulk. The NC State infielder led off with a walk and advanced to third on a hit and run executed by third baseman Jeff Kobernus of Cal Berkeley. Designated hitter Joey Lewis knocked in Poulk with a fielder’s choice to knot the score at 1 after two.
Cotuit took the lead in the bottom of the third with another rally against Falmouth starter Chad Bettis (Texas Tech). Shortstop Michael Gilmartin of Wofford got it going with a one out single and advanced to third on left fielder Jason Kipnis’s (Arizona State) single with two outs. Right fielder Evan Crawford hit a perfect soft liner into the hole between first and second to plate Gilmartin and give the home team a 2-1 lead after three.
Cumpton cruised through the fourth and fifth but was relieved by future NC State Wolfpack John Lambert in the top of the sixth. “I was getting tired so coach pulled me,” he explained in a post-game interview. “My stuff was working pretty well but I wouldn’t say it was my best outing.” Cumpton finished with five innings pitched allowing one earned run on two hits with two walks and five strikeouts as he earned the win.
The Kettleers tacked on another run in the sixth that would prove to be the game-winner. Crawford reached on a walk and was moved over to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Poulk. Number seven then used his incredible speed to swipe third base but the throw got away from Falmouth third baseman Kevin Nolan (Winthrop). Roberts seized the opportunity to send Crawford home and he dashed across the plate with Cotuit’s third and final run putting the good guys up 3-1 after six.
Cal Berkeley’s Daniel Wolford subdued the Commodores’ attack through an inning and two thirds allowing no runs, no hits, no walks and recording a strikeout. He then gave way to Stanford’s Drew Storen who, as always, took care of business against the Commodores. Storen yielded a leadoff double in the top of the ninth to first baseman Darin Ruf (Creighton) and would later allow him to score but it wouldn’t matter as he got left fielder Brian Fletcher (Auburn) to fly out to Brett Jackson (Cal Berkeley) in center field to seal with series for the Kettleers.
Playoff action continues tomorrow at Lowell Park as the Western Division Champions welcome the Harwich Mariners for a 3 p.m. contest. Arizona State’s Seth Blair will make his playoff debut for the Kettleers against Harwich’s Chris Manno of Duke.