story by Steve McCarthy
July 21, 2010
COTUIT – After being limited to a bunt single through the first six innings, the Cotuit Kettleers rallied in the seventh to beat the Bourne Braves 2-1 and break the tie for first place in the Cape Cod Baseball League’s Western Division.
It is the first time this season Cotuit (16-13-2) has taken the outright division lead and they are riding a five-game winning streak into a stretch of three road games. They are 7-2-1 in their last 10.
“We just all bought in, all came together, and it’s paid off for us,” Cotuit starting pitcher Nick Tropeano (Stony Brook) said.
Bourne fell to 16-15 and has lost two in a row.
The game was called due to darkness with one out in the ninth inning.
Bourne southpaw starting pitcher Austin Stadler (Wake Forest) departed after six innings with the one-hitter intact. He struck out three and walked two. Cotuit’s Deven Marrero (Arizona St.) broke up the no-hit bid in the sixth.
“We were getting no-hit through five innings so I just had to try something to see if we could break it open,” Marrero said. “Fortunately, it did.”
The lefty-dominated Kettleers lineup woke up against right-handed reliever R.J. Alvarez (2-2, Florida Atlantic). Jordan Leyland (UC-Irvine) doubled to lead off the seventh inning and advanced on a groundout before Levi Hyams (Georgia) bunted him in. John Hinson (Clemson) followed with a single into left field and stole second before Marrero brought him around with a two-out base hit to right.
“He threw me a fastball away and I just threw my hands and it dropped out there,” Marrero said.
Tropeano(1-3) finally received some offensive support to earn his first victory of the summer despite ranking second in the league in strikeouts (39). Tropeano went seven-plus innings for his third straight outing, scattering seven hits and striking out four. He did not walk a batter, but hit two.
Tropeano’s lone costly mistake led off the seventh inning when Coastal Carolina’s Daniel Bowman launched a fastball into the trees behind the left field fence.
“I just left a fastball up right down the middle and that’s what a good hitter should do,” Tropeano said.
Tropeano stranded three Bourne baserunners in scoring position with two advancing with one out in innings.
“I love throwing behind this ‘D’,” Tropeano said. “They definitely picked me up a few times and I appreciated it.”
A.J. Achter (Michigan St.) came on to earn the save (3), striking out two.
Thomas Kahnle (Lynn) pitched a scoreless eighth for Bourne.
Marrero and Bourne’s Jason Coats (TCU) were the game’s only players with multiple hits. Bourne out-hit Cotuit 7-5.
The Kettleers will travel to Yarmouth-Dennis on Thursday for a 5 p.m. game.