story by Steve McCarthy
July 15, 2009
COTUIT – The day before the Cotuit Kettleers starting rotation cycled back to the beginning, manager Mike Roberts hoped a combination of relievers could eat up innings. Roberts got more than he expected Wednesday from right-hander Ricky Bowen, as Bowen dueled with Yarmouth-Dennis ace Chris Sale for five innings and earned the 3-0 win with just two hits allowed.
Bowen (1-0, Mississippi St.) retired twelve batters in a row between a pair of singles surrendered in the first and fifth innings. He struck out two batters and walked one. It was his second appearance since joining the team after being released by the Bourne Braves. Bowen was a regular starter for Bourne in 2008.
“Coach and I have been doing some extra work, and have been putting in a lot of extra hours,” Bowen said. “It’s just good to see it pay off.”
Jeff Walters (Georgia) pitched the final three innings of scoreless relief to secure Cotuit’s win. Y-D loaded the bases with one out in the ninth inning, but a 6-3 double play on a grounder up the middle left the trio stranded.
Walters also made his second appearance for the Kettleers as a late acquisition. According to Roberts, his debut was hindered by a minor muscle problem in his arm.
“We really had not seen the Jeff Walters that Justin Grimm knows, and Zach Cone knows, in regards to the guy that pitched at Georgia, so it was really nice to see him throw so well,” Roberts said.
Sale (Florida Gulf Coast) fell to 3-2 with the loss. He lasted six innings, and was responsible for the first two Cotuit runs on three hits. He struck out four and hit two batters.
With Y-D’s offense contained, the Kettleers manufactured runs with aggressive base running. The first came in the second inning on a first-and-third steal attempt. Chris Bisson (Kentucky) got caught in a rundown between first and second and bought enough time for Cory Vaughn (San Diego St.) to slide into home safely.
The next inning Zach Cone (Georgia) doubled home Rico Noel (Coastal Carolina) from second on a drive that carried to the center field fence.
Noel’s speed figured in Cotuit’s third run more apparently. With Noel on first, Tony Plagman (Georgia Tech) executed the hit-and-run, and Roberts waved Noel around third after reading the lazy throw in from the outfield.
“Rico is just an outstanding base runner, as well as base stealer, and for him to score that run in that fashion, I thought took a lot of pressure off the team and off of Jeff (Walters),” Roberts said.
Cotuit reliever Matt Grace (UCLA) forced the first two outs of the sixth inning before Navery Moore (Vanderbilt) induced a pop fly in foul territory that Noel ranged to catch for the final out.
Chase Dempsay (Houston) and Kevin Rhoderick (Oregon St.) each pitched an inning of relief for Y-D, with Rhoderick allowing Cotuit’s final run. Dempsay struck out the side in the seventh inning.
Vaughn was the game’s only player with multiple hits, recording two singles of Cotuit’s six total hits.