story by Steve McCarthy
photos by Grace Archambeault
Monday, June 15, 2009
COTUIT- Fans at Cotuit’s Lowell Park were treated to an extra inning for the second straight night Monday, but this time the Kettleers heroics did not arrive on time as darkness decided a 2-2 tie with the Bourne Braves.
Cotuit had a base runner in the tenth inning after Rico Noel (Coastal Carolina) singled, but with two outs Bourne closer Stephen Harrold got Brian Harrison (Furman) to ground out to second to end the game.
With offensive production lacking, Cotuit tied the game 2-2 in the seventh inning on back-to-back squeeze bunts that scored Cody Stanley (UNC-Wilmington) and Zach Cone (Georgia), who were on base after a double and single respectively to lead off the inning.
Cone (2-for-4) was the only Cotuit player with a multi-hit game. The Kettleers had six as a team.
“Tonight was one of those finesse offensive games that we had to just scramble a little bit,” Cotuit manager Mike Roberts said.
In each of the Kettleers three games this season their defense has committed multiple errors. Twice the errors have cost them wins. Four mishaps Monday resulted in both runs allowed in the first inning.
“When you get ground balls, that’s all you can ask from a pitcher,” Roberts said. “We’re flipping the ball around a little bit, and we’ve got to be ‘more polished’ than that.”
It took three innings before Cotuit recorded their first base hit. Bourne starting pitcher Stephen Porlier (Oklahoma) allowed one run through six innings, giving up two hits and striking out four, and faced one batter over the minimum.
It was Porlier’s first and only start of the Cape League season, as he decided to continue a family tradition and join the U.S. Marine Corps after his name was not called in last week’s MLB Draft. The 23-year-old right-hander’s arm has been surgically repaired four times during his career and he no longer envisions a career in professional baseball. Porlier will leave the Cape Thursday to complete a medical evaluation in Virginia, then report to Officer Candidates School (OCS) in October.
“Over the years, with the past surgeries that I’ve had, it’s longer to recover and you can’t do what you used to do,” Porlier said. “Just to go out there and to be able to compete today, and to have a great defense behind you, it was pretty much a fairy tale ending.”
Porlier”s teammate at Oklahoma, Michael Rocha, allowed the second Cotuit run after he replaced Porlier following Stanley”s leadoff double.
Jake Buchanan (NC State) allowed five hits and struck out four in six innings of work for Cotuit, and was not responsible for either of Bourne’s runs.
Four Kettleers relievers preserved the tie in the final four innings, anchored by Max Russell (Florida Southern), who pitched the last inning and two thirds and did not surrender a hit. He walked two batters in the tenth inning but forced a ground out to end the scoring threat.
“We certainly hurt ourselves defensively in the first inning like we did at Wareham,” Roberts said. “I thought our four pitchers, three of them had not been out in the Cape League, did an excellent job.”
Stanley once again showed off his arm in his second start behind the plate. He caught two runners off base and gunned down two potential base stealers breaking for second. Stanley threw out two Falmouth base runners on Sunday.
Shortstop Chris Bisson (Kentucky) committed two of Cotuit’s errors in the first inning, but stole two bases after singling in the fourth to give him the team lead with nine on the season.
The Kettleers will face four Eastern Division opponents before the weekend, starting with a 7 p.m. game Tuesday in Chatham.