story by Steve McCarthy
June 29, 2010
CHATHAM – For the third time in five games Tuesday, the Cotuit Kettleers led 2-0 into the late innings only to wind up on the short end of a walk-off 3-2 affair.
Chatham Anglers third baseman Mark Ginther (Oklahoma St.) dropped the game-winning double just inches from the right field foul line at Veterans Field in Chatham to bring in Ricky Oropesa (USC) from second, who reached on an error to lead off the ninth inning. Aaron Westlake (Vanderbilt) moved Oropesa over with a one-out single up the middle.
“I knew (Cotuit reliever Michael Devine) had sink on the ball, so I didn’t want to ground into a double play,” Ginther said. “I was just looking to drive the ball to the right side and get the game over with in the ninth.”
The Anglers (9-4-1) are three points back of the Eastern Division-leading Brewster Whitecaps while Cotuit (4-10-1) is one point above the cellar of the West.
Cotuit starting pitcher Austin Wood (St. Petersburg JC) was perfect through five innings before Chatham’s Jason Martin (San Jose St.) roped a base hit into left field to lead off the sixth. Wood struck out just three batters, but induced seven fly
“I wouldn’t say I was overpowering today, but I was just trying to keep hitters off balance and get them out front,” Wood said.
Martin advanced on a sac-bunt and was plated for Chatham’s first run on a double by Brian Humphries (Pepperdine). Humphries also scored after an errant throw to third by Cotuit catcher James McCann (Arkansas) on a steal attempt.
Wood was a closer for his junior college team, but expects to move into the starting rotation when he transfers to the University of Southern California this fall. His experience in close games was a bonus in his second start and third appearance for Cotuit.
“I’m still trying to work up my innings a little bit, but I felt good,” Wood said.
Wood was emphatic in crediting his defense for his solid outing, but just one of Chatham’s three runs was earned. The Anglers managed just five hits to Cotuit’s seven.
Devine (VMI) surrendered the game-winning swing, but the unearned run went on the line of A.J. Achter (Michigan St.), who took the loss (1-1). Achter came on to get the third out in the sixth inning and allowed two hits over the next two and one-third.
“I knew (Achter) was going to come in and do well,” Wood said. “Unfortunately it didn’t turn out for him.”
Zack Jones (San Jose St.) pitched the final two innings for the Anglers to pick up the win (2-0). He allowed one hit and struck out two.
Chatham starting pitcher Mike Dennhardt (Boston College) went six innings and allowed Cotuit’s two earned runs on five hits. He struck out five and did not walk a batter.
Cotuit’s Zach Cone (Georgia) doubled in the third inning and scored on a C.J. Cron (Utah) groundout after stealing third. Jordan Leyland (UC-Irvine) drove in Cotuit’s second run in the sixth inning with a broken bat single to shortstop.
Chatham’s lethal 3-4 punch of Oropesa and Joseph Pavone (UConn) was held hitless on the evening. Ginther had two hits to lead the Anglers.
“Everyone just has to pick each other up throughout the game,” Ginther said. “That’s why I think we’re so good right now.”
Levi Hyams (Georgia) went 2-for-4 as Cotuit’s only batter with multiple hits.
The Kettleers will visit Wareham’s Spillane Field on Wednesday for a 7 p.m. game.