story by Steve McCarthy
July 30, 2010
COTUIT – Since the Cleveland Indians selected 6-foot-6 right-handed pitcher Cole Cook in the fifth round of the Major League Baseball Draft in June, Cook had been sitting at home in Los Angeles playing XBox while in contract negotiations with the club. He decided he’d rather be throwing a baseball, and just over two weeks ago was assigned to the Cape Cod Baseball League’s Hyannis Harbor Hawks (13-24), where he has earned a pair of victories in three starts for the last place team.
On Friday, the Pepperdine product was perfect through four innings facing the first place Cotuit Kettleers (18-17-2) and went six-plus innings to earn the 4-2 win at Lowell Park. The teams will meet again Saturday at 1 p.m. in Hyannis.
Cook (2-1) called his 15 strikeouts in his previous 11 innings absurd and weird, and got back to inducing weak swings with his changeup and a pair of double plays late in the outing. Both Cotuit runs crossed in the seventh inning after Cook left a pair of baserunners aboard for reliever Drew Verhagen (Oklahoma), who surrendered a triple to Michael Yastrzemski (Vanderbilt).
“I was lucky that my ball was down today and I could work that changeup and it was effective enough to get swings,” Cook said.
Cotuit cleanup hitter Jordan Leyland (UC-Irvine) broke up Cook’s bid at a perfect game to lead off the fifth inning and doubled to chase him from the game. Cook finished with four hits allowed, two strikeouts, and a walk.
“(Leyland) is a very, very good hitter,” Cook said. “I figured he’s a big righty, if I can get him to ground out then that will give me seven innings. Hats off to him, he hit a ball very hard.”
Verhagen and closer Dallas Gallant (Sam Houston) one-hit the Kettleers the rest of the way to squelch the rally. Gallant picked up his eighth save.
Cook worked with a 70 pitch limit and threw 47 of them for strikes. He bounced back from a six-run second start.
The Harbor Hawks gave Cook a 3-0 cushion with timely hitting. Cody Stubbs (Tennessee), a 6-foot-3, 220-pound first baseman with one steal on the summer, legged out a two-out infield single in the second inning to bring in the first run from third.
Jeff Lusardi (Missouri) served in the second spot of Hyannis’ batting order in place of regular A.J. Petterson (Minnesota) and came through with an RBI single up the middle in the fifth.
“I feel like every day I’m somewhere else in the lineup,” Lusardi said. “Wherever (Coach Chad Gassman) puts me I’ll play my hardest and hopefully get the job done each time.”
The Harbor Hawks opened the sixth inning with a Charley Thurber (Tennessee) double and a Dan Sheppard (Iowa) single and Hector Crespo (Appalachian St.) bunted Thurber in.
Cotuit starter Matt Andriese (UC-Riverside) was replaced after Sheppard’s hit and took the loss (1-2).
Brooks Pinckard (Baylor) walked the first batter of the eight inning and paid for it on Sheppard’s RBI single off Pinckard’s replacement, A.J. Achter (Michigan St.). Achter finished the game.
Sheppard had a game-high three hits to pace the Harbor Hawks.
“We’ve been hitting the ball well lately and unfortunately don’t have much to show for it,” Lusardi said. “Tonight we had some key hits and came together as a team.”