story by Steve McCarthy
July 27, 2010
COTUIT – The Cotuit Kettleers have been waiting for a closer to emerge from their pitching staff all summer. It looks like Ryan Duke is the man for the job.
The junior flamethrower from the University of Oklahoma came on to record the final four outs — five if you count the potential game-ending strikeout that culminated with a passed ball allowing Wareham’s Zach Wilson (Arizona St.) to reach — as the Kettleers took a 2-1 decision Tuesday from the Gatemen.
Cotuit (18-15-2) was the only victorious Western Division team Tuesday night, and extended their lead over second-place Bourne to four points heading into the All-Star Break. The Kettleers will return to action on Thursday when they host the Braves.
Wareham fell to 16-19-1 but continues to trail Bourne by a single point.
Duke struck out three of the five batters he faced in picking up his second save. He has made four appearances since arriving in Cotuit at the start of the month.
“Just handing the ball over to him, you know it’s over,” Cotuit starting pitcher Nick Tropeano (Stony Brook) said.
The save gave Tropeano (2-3) his second win of the summer. Both have been by the same score. Tropeano went seven innings and has thrown at least that in each of his last four starts. He allowed six hits and struck out two while walking three. Wareham’s run was unearned.
“I’ve faced that lineup a couple of times,” Tropeano said. “I just tried to attack hitters and let my defense do the work.”
Tropeano was locked in a battle with Wareham starter Josh Urban (Texas), who settled in after allowing a first-inning run and lasted six innings, allowing six hits, three walks and striking out three. He was responsible for both Cotuit runs.
Cotuit’s Chad Wright (Kentucky) came around to score in the first inning on Jordan Leyland’s (UC-Irvine) RBI double after singling for the first of a game-high three times. The Kettleers managed just three hits over the next four innings.
Cotuit field manager Mike Roberts called on Zach Cone (Georgia) to pinch hit with two-outs in the sixth inning and Michael Yastrzemski (Vanderbilt) standing on third. Cone laced an RBI single into left field which ended up being the game-winner.
“I was just swinging first-pitch no matter what,” Cone said. “That’s what turns games around, if you get guys in with two outs.”
Wareham loaded the bases in the sixth inning with a double and back-to-back walks, but Tropeano induced an inning-ending groundout to third.
“I had some command issues with my changeup, but I got right back on it,” Tropeano said. “I kept on throwing it, got a feel for my fastball, and I was right back there.”
Tropeano exited after hitting Wilson to lead off the eighth inning. David Colvin (Pomona-Pitzer) allowed Wilson to advance on a pair of singles before scoring on an error by Cotuit shortstop Deven Marrero (Arizona St.). Marrero committed two errors in the game.
Wareham reliever Devin Burke (Duke) held the Kettleers in check over the final two innings, surrendering three hits.
Nico Rosthenhausler (Oklahoma St.), Max Muncy (Baylor), and Adam McClain (Memphis) each had two hits for the Gatemen.