story by Steve McCarthy
July 11, 2009
COTUIT – The Bourne Braves extended the Cotuit Kettleers’ losing streak to six games Saturday, biding their time until they got to Cotuit’s bullpen before pulling away for a 5-1 win at Lowell Park.
Three Braves pitchers combined to retire the final 21 Cotuit batters after the Kettleers scratched across their lone run in the third inning. Bourne (13-6-2) has now won three straight and leads the Western Division. Cotuit (8-12-2) has dropped to fourth place in the five team division after leading early in the season with an 8-6-2 start.
Right-hander Turner Phelps (3-1, James Madison) picked up his third win, lasting six and one-third innings. He allowed four hits and struck out six without walking a batter. Relievers Cameron Roth (UNC-Wilmington) and Kevin Munson (James Madison) did not allow a hit through the final two and two-thirds of an inning.
“They just do a great job,” Bourne second baseman Pierre LePage said of the Braves pitching staff. “Our starters are getting to the sixth and seventh innings, making quality starts and getting late in the game.”
Justin Grimm (0-3, Georgia) took the loss despite a respectable start for Cotuit, limiting the damage to just two runs through six innings. A second inning error made one of the runs unearned. He struck out eight and surrendered five hits and two walks.
LePage (UCONN, 2-for-5, 2 Runs) led off the game with a triple off Grimm’s first offering and scored two batters later on an RBI-double by Robert Segedin (Tulane). LePage scored again in the seventh inning on a sac-fly by Stefen Romero (Oregon St.).
“I’m kind of an unorthodox leadoff hitter,” LePage said. “I’m really aggressive. I don’t work too many walks. But I think if you jump on the pitch early in the game and set the tone like that, I think it’s more beneficial. Then maybe I’ll get out, but if I do get a hit I think it rallies the team up.”
Braves designated hitter Kyle Roller, after being hitless in his first four plate appearances, put an exclamation point on Bourne’s offensive attack when he took advantage of a Mike Nesseth (Nebraska) fastball left up and drilled it over the right field fence for a solo home run, his fourth of the season.
The trouble for Cotuit came in the seventh inning when manager Mike Roberts went to his bullpen. Submariner Ben Rowen (Virginia Tech) left the only two batters he faced on first and second with a walk and a base hit. After the runners advanced on a pair of passed balls, Navery Moore (Vanderbilt) couldn’t find the strike zone and walked two after a sac-fly by Ben Klafczynski (Kent St.) scored Scott Woodward (Coastal Carolina). Daniel Tillman (Florida Southern) came in with one out and allowed a sac-fly by Romero that scored LePage. Both runs were charged to Rowen.
“Grimm did have a great start,” LePage said. “He’s a great pitcher. But we got to their relievers. We got to their bullpen and were able to close it out.”
The Kettleers tallied just four hits, but several balls hit hard were directed right at Bourne fielders. Kevin Keyes (Texas) hit a sac-fly in the third inning that allowed B.J. Guinn (Cal-Berkeley) to come in from third. Guinn led off the inning with a single, then advanced to third on a hit-and-run.
Cotuit’s first road win of the season came against Chatham on June 16. They hope to find repeated success at Veteran’s Field Sunday in a 5:30 p.m. game.