story by Steve McCarthy
August 1, 2010
COTUIT – Cotuit Kettleers pitcher Bobby Shore (Oklahoma) struck out eight over seven innings Sunday and was nearly untouchable by the Orleans Firebirds in the last five of them. Unfortunately for the Kettleers, he was not their starting pitcher.
Joe Loftus (Vanderbilt) belted a solo home run in the second inning off Austin Dicharry (Texas) and Kevin Muno (San Diego) scored on a passed ball after leading off the third with a double while six Orleans pitchers combined to one-hit the Kettleers in a 2-0 shutout at Lowell Park.
“We’re a team that when we jump out in front, we play pretty good,” Loftus said. “We like to get ahead and our pitching staff kind of closes the door for us.”
Dicharry (0-1) made his first start and second appearance for Cotuit, lasting just two innings before being replaced by Shore after Muno’s double. Dicharry allowed a hit in each inning of work and walked one while striking out two. He threw just two pitches in his first appearance and hit a batter.
“People were staying on all of (Dicharry’s) pitches and hitting him pretty well,” Loftus said.
The Kettleers showed the effects of playing 18 innings in two different Cape Cod towns on Saturday and only Jordan Leyland (UC Irvine) had an answer against the Orleans pitchers. Leyland singled off Burny Mitchem (Dayton), who worked the fourth inning and ended up with the win (3-1).
Leyland advanced to third after his one-out hit on a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly but was left stranded as the only Cotuit baserunner to get past first.
Orleans won its seventh straight game to improve to 22-18-1. Cotuit (19-19-2) fell out of a first-place tie in the Western Division with Bourne, which split a doubleheader Sunday.
Loftus went 3-for-4 and boosted his batting average to .217 after starting the day at .179. Muno had two hits out of the leadoff spot of Orleans’ eight total.
“The last couple of games I wasn’t trying to do too much,” Loftus said. “I’ve been making solid contact and that’s been paying off.”
Nolan Belcher (South Carolina) made his first start of the summer after five relief appearances since arriving from the National Champions. He dealt three no-hit innings and struck out three.
“We were trying to let a couple of our starters get another days rest, that’s why I started,” Belcher said. “We knew we were going to have to piece together some innings, but it worked out well.”
Kenny Long (Illinois St.) followed Mitchem for two innings and Will Clinard (Vanderbilt), Mitchell Lambson (Arizona St.) and Marcus Stroman (Duke) each worked an inning. Lambson struck out the side in the eighth and Stroman picked up his 10th save with a perfect ninth.