story by Steve McCarthy
July 20, 2009
HYANNIS – The Cotuit Kettleers (15-13-4) remain in a first place tie in the Western Division with the Wareham Gatemen after starting pitcher Jake Buchanan hurled a three hit shutout Monday for his second straight complete game, and the Kettleers beat the Hyannis Mets 3-0 at McKeon Park. Wareham beat Brewster by the same score in Monday’s early game at Brewster’s Stony Brook Field.
It was the sixth and final regular season meeting between the cross-town rivals. The Barnstable Patriot Cup was clinched by the Mets after the fifth game and was presented to the new owners prior to Monday’s game.
Buchanan (NC State) lowered his league leading 0.67 ERA with the win (2-1) and is the only Cape League pitcher with multiple complete games. He struck out a season high 11 batters, and walked just one. The lone walk was quickly negated as Hyannis’ Casey Johnson was gunned down on a steal attempt by Cotuit catcher Cody Stanley (UNC-Wilmington).
“I feel like my changeup was really good tonight,” Buchanan said. “It was starting off in the strike zone and really diving there late. It hasn’t really done that, but I guess tonight I had a really good feel for it.”
The Mets (12-17-1) had two hits in the third inning and one in the seventh, but could not advance a runner into scoring position. Only three contacted pitches made it out of the infield.
“This game could have been a lot different if we didn’t have good starting pitching,” Cotuit third baseman Chris Bisson said, “When you can only muster up three runs of offense, you’ve got to count on your pitching to get you a ‘W’.”
Buchanan struck out the side in the second and fourth innings, and sat down two more to start the fifth. He leads the Kettleers pitching staff with 32 strikeouts in six appearances. After struggling through his sophomore season at NC State with a 2-6 record and 6.54 ERA, Buchanan slid under the radar on his way to becoming one of the Cape League’s most dominant arms.
“I think coach (Mike Roberts) has done a really good job with pitch calling,” Buchanan said. “At school I didn’t really throw that many changeups, and here that’s been probably my main pitch and the key to my success-just keeping batters off balance, and just getting ground balls, and not trying to strike everybody out.”
Hyannis starting pitcher Austin Hudson (Central Florida) dueled with Buchanan through five and two-thirds innings. The two runs he allowed in taking the loss (3-2) both came in his final inning of work, but he surrendered just three hits through the first four innings.
Hudson has followed a similar path as Buchanan in that his spring statistics were not attractive. He was 0-2 with a 10.98 ERA in 16 appearances (10 in relief) as a junior, but entered Monday’s game with a 3.27 ERA in 33 innings for the Mets.
Kevin Keyes (Texas) scored the first Cotuit run on an RBI-single by Stanley after Keyes led off with a base hit and advanced to second on a groundout by Zack Cox (Arkansas). Stanley then scored from first on a double down the right field line by Bisson. Bisson tried to stretch the two-out hit into a triple as third base was left un-covered, but got caught in a rundown and made it back to second safely.
“The third baseman disappeared, and the shortstop just came out of nowhere and just came up behind me and threw the ball,” Bisson said. “I just put the brakes on and ran back, and nobody was at second so I just kept going.”
Rico Noel added an insurance run in the Kettleers final at bat. He walked and advanced to third on an errant pick-off attempt by Hyannis reliever Kevin Brandt (East Carolina) that found its way into the Cotuit bullpen. A sac-fly by Brandon May (Alabama) brought him in.
Brandt pitched two and two-thirds innings of relief and allowed Cotuit’s final three hits of eight total. Jimmy Messer (UNC) retired the only two batters he faced in the ninth.
May and Jeff Rowland (Georgia Tech) each had two hits for Cotuit. Bisson’s double was the game’s only extra base hit.