Story by Steve McCarthy
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
CHATHAM – Solid defense and timely hitting were the difference Tuesday as the Cotuit Kettleers handed the Chatham Anglers their first loss of the season 5-3 at a brisk Veterans Field.
The Kettleers improved their record to 2-1-1 with the win. It was their first game without an error, and this time it was their opponent’s pitching staff that fell victim to unearned runs.
“We played error free, and normally when you do that, you come out with a win in the Cape Cod League,” Cotuit assistant coach Scott Gurss said.
Chatham’s three errors created two of Cotuit’s runs, while three Anglers pitchers had otherwise efficient outings.
Zach Maggard (Florida Southern) sent a solo shot high into the fog free night off Anglers reliever Kevin Scanlan (Maine) to put an exclamation point on the offensive attack. He was the first Cotuit player to homer on the young season.
“I was just excited to play, and just went up there with a lot of confidence and just sitting on one pitch. That first pitch I got it,” Maggard said.
Cotuit did not trail the entire way. Chris Bisson (Kentucky) scored on a throwing error by Chatham catcher Phillip Pohl (Clemson) to give the Kettleers a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Two more runs crossed in the fourth on a two RBI double by Kevin Patterson (Auburn).
Zach Cone (Georgia) scored the fourth run in the sixth inning after an error by Chatham third baseman Nick Schwaner (New Orleans).
The Anglers rallied for three runs in the sixth inning off Cotuit reliever Matt Grace (UCLA), but managed just one hit the rest of the way off Ben Rowen (Virginia Tech), Navery Moore (Vanderbilt), and Craig Fritsch (Baylor), who picked up his first save of the season.
Grace left base runners on second and third for Rowen when he exited. The right-hander allowed one to score when he walked two in a row. Maggard ended the threat by catching a difficult pop fly near the Kettleers dugout. He replaced starting catcher Cody Stanley (UNC-Wilmington) in the fourth inning.
Chad Bell (1-0, Tennessee) earned the win for Cotuit. He tossed five shutout innings, and allowed three hits, striking out four and walked two.
‘Our pitching staff is a real key this year,” Gurss said. “We’ve got a lot of arms. We’ve got a lot of good guys. If they keep throwing strikes, we’re going to be in every ball game.”
The Kettleers had seven hits in the game. It was their second highest total of the season behind nine they managed in their win against Falmouth. Tony Plagman (Georgia Tech), playing first base in his second game with the team, was the only Cotuit player with multiple hits as he singled twice.
Jake Thompson (0-1, Long Beach State) pitched the first five innings for Chatham and took the loss. He was responsible for two of the three runs scored during his outing. Scanlan pitched the next three, before closer Parker Bangs (South Carolina) came in for the ninth after starting the game as the designated hitter.
The Kettleers will continue their three game stretch of travelling to Eastern Division parks Wednesday at 7 p.m. when they play the twice rained out Cape League opener in Harwich.