story by Steve McCarthy
July 5, 2010
FALMOUTH – With their fifth straight win Monday night, the Cotuit Kettleers leapfrogged the Falmouth Commodores and the Hyannis Harbor Hawks in the Cape Cod Baseball League’s Western Division standings and now trail division frontrunner Bourne by a single point.
Cotuit defeated Falmouth for a second straight night, this time holding on for a 5-4 decision at Guv Fuller Field.
“It’s huge for us, especially since we came off a pretty big losing streak,” said Cotuit left fielder Michael Yastrzemski (Vanderbilt). “It’s tough to be on the other side of that, but you’ve got to just snap out of it real quick and it will be fine.”
The Kettleers (9-10-1) and the fifth place Wareham Gatemen were the only two Western Division teams to win on Monday. Bourne has 20 points to Cotuit’s 19. Falmouth (9-11) and Hyannis remain tied with 18.
Cotuit will host Eastern Division foe Harwich on Tuesday in the only scheduled Cape League game featuring a Western Division club.
The Kettleers built a 5-1 lead Monday, which proved to be just enough of a cushion as the Commodores mounted a late-inning charge.
Cotuit out-hit Falmouth 8-7 and pulled away in a three-run sixth inning. The Kettleers committed four errors, resulting in three unearned runs.
Austin Wood (1-0, St. Petersburg JC) went five and two-thirds innings in his third start for Cotuit and finished with a season-high seven strikeouts. He allowed two hits, walked three, and was not responsible for the lone run that crossed against him.
“I felt a little more wild than I did the other night, but I was still just working on keeping the ball down,” Wood said. “It was nice once we got a few runs and settled down a little bit.”
Brady Rodgers (Arizona St.) finished the game in relief for Cotuit and earned his first save of the summer. He allowed two earned runs and was touched for five hits. He also struck out five.
The Kettleers were without league RBI and home run leader C.J. Cron (Utah), who departed after Sunday’s game to participate in the Team USA Trials, but they found a way to win with small-ball. Cotuit’s speedy new-look lineup legged out three bunt singles and stole six bases. Yastrzemski swiped three bags in a game for the second time this summer and leads the team with seven steals in 10 attempts.
“It’s really important to know that even though our RBI leader and big power hitter is gone, that everyone else can just step in,” Yastrzemski said. “Everyone in the league is real good. It’s not like we’re depending on one person.”
Newcomer Caleb Bushyhead’s (Oklahoma) bunt pushed Yastrzemski across with Cotuit’s first of two runs in the second inning. Jordan Leyland’s (UC Irvine) sac-fly plated the other.
Cotuit’s first two runs were charged to Falmouth starting pitcher Matthew Stites (2-1, Jefferson County JC), who went four and two-thirds innings and took his first loss of the summer.
Nick Maronde (Florida) spelled Stites for an inning, but it was a big one for the Kettleers. Curt Casali’s (Vanderbilt) RBI single got things going, and Chad Wright (Kentucky) scored from second after stealing third and inducing a low throw from Falmouth catcher Andrew Susac (Oregon St.) that ended up in left field. Casali advanced to third on the play and scored on a passed ball.
Falmouth’s Kyle Bluestein (Jacksonville St.) lined a single to left field in the fifth inning which got under the glove of Yastrzemski and rolled to the fence, allowing Bluestein to end up at third base standing. Bluestein scored on Kyle Van Tungeln’s (TCU) sac-fly.
The Commodores managed just two hits through the first seven innings, but adjusted to Rodgers in the eighth. Van Tungeln led off with a double and scored on K.C. Serna’s (Oregon) single. Serna’s hit also caused a two-base error and he trotted in on a Kevin Medrano (Missouri St.) sac-fly.
Falmouth notched two more hits in their final at-bat and Susac scored to make it a one-run game, but Van Tungeln was left stranded on first as Cotuit first baseman Leyland squeezed a pop fly in foul territory for the final out.
Falmouth relievers Scott Weismann (Clemson) and Matt Summers (UC Irvine) held Cotuit’s bats in check over the final three-plus innings.