story by Steve McCarthy
August 9, 2010
COTUIT – In the sixth inning of Monday’s Cape Cod Baseball League Western Division Final opening game, the Cotuit Kettleers had to be getting a little antsy.
All three of their hits off Wareham starting pitcher Jack Armstrong (Vanderbilt) came in a two-run third inning and the Gatemen had just tied it at 2-2 in the fifth.
A two-run double down the left field line by Zach Cone (Georgia) sparked a four-run, five-hit rally over the next two innings as the Kettleers drew first blood at home in the best-of-three series with a 6-2 win.
The series will shift across the canal to Wareham’s Spillane Field on Tuesday at 7 p.m. Game three, if necessary, will be back at Lowell Park on Wednesday.
“I feel like the first game is always the big one,” Cone said of the short series playoff format.
The Kettleers remain unbeaten in the playoffs after both teams swept the quarterfinal round. Jordan Leyland (UC-Irvine) had his third straight multiple hit game out of the leadoff spot and scored twice while driving in a run. Deven Marrero (Arizona St.) and Joey Hainsfurther (Baylor) had two hits each and Hainsfurther drove in a pair of runs on a double in the seventh inning.
Three Cotuit runs were scored by leadoff hitters of innings.
“We had trouble with that before playoffs started, not getting enough people on,” Cone said.
The sixth inning spoiled an otherwise quality start for losing pitcher Armstrong. He allowed four runs, three earned, on five hits and struck out four over six innings. Hainsfurther’s two-run double came off Andrew McKirahan (Texas).
“We capitalized on the mistakes today,” Leyland said.
Cotuit reliever Matt Andriese (UC-Riverside) got into a load of trouble in the sixth inning after spelling starter Nick Tropeano (Stony Brook), but managed to escape unscathed. The Gatemen had the bases loaded with one out when Adam McClain (Memphis) hit a sharp liner to Cotuit right fielder Chad Wright (Kentucky), who fired to first to double-up Derek Dennis (Michigan).
“That was probably the game-changer for them right there,” Leyland said. “It could have been a different ballgame from there on.”
Andriese ended up with the win with his single inning of work. A.J. Achter (Michigan St.) came on for the next two and a third and Ryan Duke (Oklahoma) closed it out with a game-ending strikeout.
Tropeano was responsible for both Wareham runs. He struck out five and walked two in the no-decision. It was the fifth time Tropeano started against Wareham this summer.
Wareham’s John Andreoli (UConn) was driven in with the game’s first run after a leadoff triple in the third inning. Cotuit shifted the momentum in the home half of the inning with RBI singles by Leyland and Marrero. Wareham’s Zach Wilson (Arizona St.) came through with a two-out RBI double in the fifth to tie it at 2-2.
Wilson and Max Muncy (Baylor) each had two hits to lead the Gatemen.