Story by Steve McCarthy
photos by Rick Heath
Sunday, June 14, 2009
COTUIT – It took an extra inning, but the Cotuit Kettleers won their home opener 3-2 Sunday on a walk off hit by Cody Stanley.
The UNC Wilmington catcher stepped in with two outs in the tenth inning and drove his third hit of the game over the head of Falmouth left fielder Conner Mach (Missouri) to bring in Kevin Patterson (Auburn) from second base.
“It was exciting,” Stanley said. “I came to the plate. I guess I knew what I wanted to do. I knew what pitch I wanted to hit, saw it and hit it.”
Mach had misplayed a fly ball by previous batter Cory Vaughn (San Diego State) to advance Patterson, who reached on a walk.
Stanley was one of four Kettleers with multi-hit games; a night after the team had just three hits in their 5-4 season opening loss to Wareham. He and right fielder Zach Cone (Georgia) each went 3-for-5 with an RBI apiece.
“Everybody felt more confident,” Stanley said. “It’s good to get that first game done with, and come back and battle our tails off and encourage each other. That was the biggest thing tonight. We picked each other up in everything and came together as a team and we won it.”
Stanley also scored the team’s second run in the sixth inning, and complimented his offensive output by gunning down two base runners attempting to steal second. Cotuit manager Mike Roberts was equally impressed by Stanley’s defensive play as his clutch hitting.
“Those guys are at the top of the order that are running, and you don’t know what’s going to happen because there’s some very good left handed hitters behind those guys,” Roberts said.
It appeared to be a pitcher’s duel from the start as Cotuit’s Justin Grimm (Georgia) threw six shutout innings while allowing a lone hit in the sixth, and Falmouth’s Jordan Cooper (Wichita) struck out six in seven innings of work. Grimm’s fastball touched 96 MPH on the radar gun multiple times in his outing.
Cone got the Kettleers on the board first with an RBI groundout in the first inning that plated Chris Bisson (Kentucky). Cotuit had a 2-0 lead heading into the seventh after Stanley scored from second on a single to right field by Brendon Kelliher (George Washington), but Falmouth bounced back to tie the game against Cotuit reliever Craig Fritsch (Baylor).
Recent roster addition Drew Gagnier (1-0, Oregon) picked up the win in two innings of relief for Cotuit. He forced Falmouth’s Matt Grasso (Notre Dame) to line out to Bisson at shortstop in the ninth inning, who doubled up Mach leading off second base to end the inning, then struck out the side in the tenth. Chad Sheppard (0-1, Northwestern St.) took the loss for Falmouth after entering in the ninth inning.
Daniel Tillman (Florida Southern) pitched a scoreless eighth inning for Cotuit in his first appearance. Falmouth’s Shane Ferrell (Marshall) did the same in his second game pitching out of the bullpen.
The Kettleers committed two errors as they did the night before. This time it did not cost them any runs, but it is an area Roberts said will be of focus heading into upcoming games.
“If we can clean up our defense, I think we’ll certainly be a much better team,” Roberts said.
Lowell Park will host Cape League action again Monday at 5 p.m. when the Kettleers host the Bourne Braves.