story by Steve McCarthy
August 3, 2009
SOUTH YARMOUTH – It took all nine innings, but with a confident swing by Ben McMahan the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox were finally able to put away the stubborn Cotuit Kettleers 9-8 in walk-off fashion Tuesday at Red Wilson Field.
McMahan (Florida) buried a Ben Rowen (Virginia Tech) fastball into the trees behind the center field fence for his third home run of the season. McMahan splits time at catcher with Micah Gibbs (LSU) and has played in just 22 games.
McMahan’s blast was the only hit of the night given up by Cotuit’s frequently used submariner after entering with two runners on in the eighth inning and stranding them at second and third. Rowen fell to 4-2 with the loss. McMahon was the second batter of the ninth inning, and stepped in after Rowen had fanned three straight batters.
“I just tried to see a pitch that I could hit well,” McMahan said. “That guy’s throwing from almost off the ground, it was kind of hard to see, but I just got a pitch I could drive and did what I could with it.”
Both teams have clinched playoff spots, and relied on relievers to eat up innings and save the arms of their regular starters. The result of the game was more important to the Kettleers (20-18-5), who are still determining their playoff seed. Y-D (27-15-1) has already clinched the Eastern Division’s top seed.
“It was nice that Benny hit that home run so we didn’t have to go deep into our pen,” Y-D manager Scott Pickler said. “We didn’t want to have to use guys.”
The Red Sox held a comfortable 8-2 lead in the sixth inning before Cotuit stormed back with a four run seventh and two run eighth. Cameron Rupp (Texas) belted a pair of two-run home runs to tie the game at 2-2 and 8-8. The Kettleers loaded the bases in the seventh inning before Kevin Keyes (Texas) scored on a passed ball. Rico Noel (Coastal Carolina) then drove in two with a double and stole third before coming in to score on an RBI-groundout by Chris Bisson (Kentucky). Rupp’ s second home run, this time to left field tied the game 8-8.
Kevin Rhoderick (2-0, Oregon St.) pitched a scoreless top of the ninth to earn the win. John Leonard (Boston College) surrendered three hits but no runs in a three and one-third inning pitch count limited start. Recent acquisition Nick Serino (UMass) was tagged for five runs in two and two-thirds innings in his first appearance for the Red Sox. Seth Simmons (East Carolina) was responsible for the other three in two innings of work.
“I wish the guys that threw, threw a little bit better than they did for us so I could use them in the playoffs,” Pickler said.
Y-D scored twice in the first frame against Cotuit spot starter Jeff Walters (Georgia) with a two run single by Steve Chatwood (San Diego). Walters settled in for two more scoreless innings, but was relieved by Navery Moore (Vanderbilt) in the fourth. After Rupp tied the score 2-2 with a shot to center field, Moore allowed three earned runs in the lone inning he pitched. Chatwood scored on a fielder’s choice in the fourth, and the two runners Moore left on before departing with no outs in the fifth both scored on a Brian Hernandez (UC Irvine) single and Josh Rutledge (Alabama) double respectively.
The Red Sox tallied four runs in the fifth inning, as Cotuit reliever Mike Nesseth (Nebraska) fared no better and gave up a two run double to Chatwood. Andres Caceres (Connors St. JC) walked in a run in the sixth inning that marked the end of Y-D’s early flood of scoring.
“We’ve been hitting the ball great throughout the whole summer,” McMahan said. “The pitching’s been great too, just today was a little shaky, but we’re playing good as a team.”
Cotuit will play their final regular season game Wednesday when they host Brewster at 4:30 p.m.