story by Steve McCarthy
July 19, 2009
COTUIT – A resilient Cotuit Kettleers club battled the odds Sunday to come back in a thrilling eighth inning and beat the Bourne Braves 5-3.
On a night when scoring was at a premium, and the most glaring statistic was each team’s runners left stranded in scoring position (Bourne 6, Cotuit 5), a one out hit-and-run by with runners on first and third was executed by Cotuit’s Tony Plagman (Georgia Tech), as he doubled in Chris Bisson (Kentucky) and Jeff Rowland (Georgia Tech) to break a 3-3 tie.
“They stayed in it, and they fought, and that’s all I asked them to do,” Cotuit pitching coach Scott Gurss said. “I’ve got to give a lot of credit to those guys.”
Cotuit manager Mike Roberts was ejected after the second inning for arguing balls and strikes, leaving Gurss at the helm. Gurss picked up his first Cape League win in his second season with the team.
“The guys tried not to let the umpires get in the way, and they went out and just played baseball,” Gurss said. “They looked like they relaxed, and just knew they had to do it the hard way, and they got it done today.”
The Braves (14-13-2) hoped an RBI-double by Pierre LePage (UConn) in the sixth inning that broke a 2-2 tie from the third would be enough, but a leadoff infield base hit in the eighth by Cotuit’s Cody Stanley (UNC-Wilmington) and three bunts by Bisson, Rowland, and Rico Noel (Coastal Carolina) allowed Stanley to score the tying run.
“When I got the bat I was real confident I was going to get on,” Stanley said. “Right then I figured if the guys behind me – strong hitters – they’re going to get their hits, and we’re going to win.”
The win moves the Kettleers (14-13-4) into a first place tie in the Western Division with the Wareham Gatemen, who lost a 1-0 decision to Chatham Sunday. The Kettleers and Braves entered Sunday’s game tied for second place.
“We came together and played our hearts out,” Stanley said.
Both teams called on their bullpen earlier than preferred, but received quality long relief stints. Ben Rowen (3-1, Virginia Tech) earned the win in relief for Cotuit after pitching scoreless seventh and eighth innings. Daniel Tillman (Florida Southern) jogged in for the ninth with the two run lead and shut the door for his second save (Third overall) in consecutive games.
“When we’re up with two runs, and I look at Tillman’s stats and he hasn’t given up a run all season, I like my odds,” Gurss said. “He was definitely the guy I was giving the ball to.”
Cotuit starting pitcher Ricky Bowen (Mississippi St.) lasted just three innings against his former team. He faced seven batters in the third inning and walked three, including one with the bases loaded. He also allowed a first inning run. Craig Fritsch (Baylor) went the next three innings and allowed one run on two hits and struck out three before Rowen made his fifteenth appearance.
Bourne’s normally reliable set-up man Kevin Munson (0-1, James Madison) was responsible for Cotuit’s three eighth inning runs and took the loss in his team high twelfth appearance. He relieved Seth Maness (East Carolina), who was dominant through the middle innings, striking out four batters in two and one-third innings. Starter Robert Morey (Virginia) gave up two runs in the first inning and lasted four and two-thirds innings. He allowed six hits, struck out four, and walked three.
The Braves took the game’s first lead in the first inning when Robert Segedin (Tulane) drove in Kyle Roller (East Carolina) with an RBI-single.
Bisson did one better for Cotuit in the home half of the inning, scoring Zack Cox (Arkansas) and Stanley with a base hit. Bisson factored in three of Cotuit’s runs, providing two RBI’s and a run scored in a 2-for-4 night. Stanley also had two hits and two runs.
The Kettleers played errorless defense. Bourne’s middle infield committed a pair of errors. Neither resulted in scoring though.
Cotuit will play a pair of road games Monday (Hyannis-7 p.m) and Tuesday (Brewster-5 p.m) before the All-Star Break.