story by Steve McCarthy
July 31, 2009
COTUIT – University of Texas Longhorns Cameron Rupp and Kevin Keyes punctuated a five run fifth inning for the Cotuit Kettleers Friday, launching back-to-back home runs to straight away center field as the Kettleers rolled against the Wareham Gatemen 8-2 in a darkness shortened seven inning contest at Lowell Park.
Zach Cone (Georgia) and Kevin Patterson (Auburn) added a two-run homer and solo shot respectively to complement Rupp’s two-run blast and Keyes’ solo shot. The Kettleers showed no residual effect of Wednesday’s 13-1 loss to the Western Division leading Bourne Braves.
“To bounce back from a loss like that and win the way we did was pretty good,” Rupp said. Rupp recalled hitting a home run in the same inning as Keyes at school, but never back-to-back.
The Kettleers (18-17-5) are now tied with the Gatemen (18-16-5) for the second spot in the Division. Pitching coach Scott Gurss picked up his second Cape League win as acting manager in place of Mike Roberts, who was serving a one game suspension after his second ejection of the season on Wednesday. “I couldn’t be happier with the way the guys played,” Gurss said. “I told the guys to relax…have fun. The wind’s blowing out – good day to swing it – hit it in the air.”
Patterson started the offensive charge in the third inning, teeing off on Wareham starting pitcher Eric Pfisterer (Duke) to left-center field for his team leading fourth home run of the season. Pfisterer (3-1) was the game’s losing pitcher after allowing Cotuit’s first six runs in four and two-thirds innings. He allowed seven hits, struck out six and walked one.
Cotuit’s Zach Maggard (Florida Southern) singled in Rico Noel (Coastal Carolina) for the second run of the inning.
Wareham bounced back with two of their own in the following inning. Derek Dietrich (Georgia Tech) led off with a double, then scored on Ryan LaMarre’s (Michigan) RBI-single. LaMarre moved over to third after George Springer (UCONN) was hit by a pitch and Alex Dickerson (Indiana) grounded to first. The Kettleers attempted to turn a 3-6-3 double play on Dickerson’s grounder, but shortstop Chris Bisson’s (Kentucky) return throw was errant, allowing LaMarre to score.
Cotuit hitters took advantage of a strong, swirling wind in the fifth inning. Gurss also noticed a pattern in Wareham’s pitch calling. “I saw that Pfisterer was throwing fastball, changeup early in the count,” Gurss said. “I gave our signals to guys saying swing it early in the count, and that’s what they did and we got a lot of runs today.”
Cone drove in Noel after a leadoff single with a towering shot into the trees behind the left-center field fence. Maggard then drew a walk to set up Rupp, and Keyes matched Rupp’s power after a Wareham pitching change brought in right-hander Bruce Kern (St. Johns).
“I was sitting first pitch fastball and he threw it to me,” Keyes said. “Today on a windy day like this, you hit a ball in the air it’s going to go anyways. I hit the ball in the air and it just kept carrying, and I’m just glad it was a home run.”
Cone’s third RBI of the game came on a groundout in the sixth inning that scored Noel from third. Noel walked, then used his speed on a hit-and-run executed by Bisson to move over to third.
Cotuit starting pitcher Seth Blair (3-2, Arizona St.) battled through the elements and a couple of long waits in the dugout between innings to earn the win. He went the distance, allowing four hits, struck out three and walked four. Just one of Wareham’s runs was earned. “He got a little cold there because we probably spent a little too long hitting – but can’t complain there,” Gurss said. “He came in and he beared down and we played defense behind him, and that’s what happens when you’ve got good pitching, and good defense, and good hitting, you normally come out with a win.”
The Kettleers return to Bourne on Saturday for a 5:30 game matching Justin Grimm (0-4, Georgia) against Seth Maness (2-0, East Carolina).