COTUIT – Occasionally players will go up against their college teammates in the Cape League. Sometimes they even face more than one. Rarely does a player ever battle four teammates in one game. And almost never does that one player hit the game winning RBI to beat the foursome.
Well, guys like Kyle Wren (Georgia Tech) almost never come around.
He capped off a theatrical bottom of the ninth inning with a walk off sacrifice fly to centerfield to beat Brandon Thomas, Daniel Palka, Mott Hyde, starting pitcher Matthew Grimes (all from Georgia Tech), and the rest of the Wareham Gatemen 5-4.
When asked about beating his teammates, a small but telling smile broke across Kyle’s face.
“It feels good, it is kind of weird, but it was cool because I hadn’t seen them in a long time and they were all congratulating me after the game, it was just cool to see them and have some familiar faces up here.”
Wren completed a blockbuster of a ninth inning that began with the pinch-hitting Stefan Sabol (Oregon) blasting a single right past the face of reliever Andy Flett (Louisville). Cotuit catcher Kevin Roundtree (USC) then got on base with a walk. Wareham manager Cooper Farris then switched Flett with the righty Steve Perakslis (Maine). The first batter he faced, Kevin Mager (Rollins), drew a crucial walk in a long and effective at bat.
“I watched the pitcher warm up, and he was a little wild, so I took the first two balls till he threw a strike, he found his groove a little bit, then he went curveball away, curveball away in his last two pitches that allowed me to take first,” explained Mager.
Coach Mike Roberts praised Mager after the game. “That was the key to the inning,” said Roberts. “Tremendous at bat.”
The next batter Logan Vick (Baylor) blistered a groundball up the middle to score Sabol and Roundtree cutting the deficit to 4-3. It was Vick’s first at bat as a Kettleer.
“If I got a pitch I liked, I was going to swing at it,” Logan said. “It feels good to get that first hit out of the way.”
Ryon Healy (Oregon) bunted Mager and Vick into scoring position bringing Patrick Biondi (Michigan) up with a chance to win the game. Biondi grounded one to shortstop, where his teammate Derrick Dennis (Michigan) questionably threw home instead of getting the second out at first. To add insult to injury, Mager beat the throw home tying up the score at 4. It also allowed Vick to move up to third.
Then Wren came to the dish. He tried to lay down a few bunts, Biondi took second on defensive indifference, and the count went full. Wren cracked one to his fellow Yellow Jacket Brandon Thomas in centerfield, getting Vick home to complete the comeback.
The Gatemen took advantage of two rocky opening innings from Cotuit starter R.J. Fondon (Flordia International). Brandon Thomas led off the game with a double, later being brought home by a Max Muncy (Baylor) sacrifice fly. William Carmona (Stony Brook) got on and then got hit home by a Daniel Palka single.
In the second inning Matt Hyde blasted a stand up triple on a ball that was absolutely killed to left center field. Gatemen John Field (Arizona) then walked. In a very mechanically unsound throw over to first, Fondon threw one well in front of first basemen Cody Stubbs (Walter State). The ball skipped past the bag and out of play. Hyde was awarded home giving the Gatemen a 3-1 lead.
Wareham got a fourth run in the seventh. Rob Refsnyder (Arizona) got the inning started with a triple, knocking Fondon out of the game. Mason McVay (Florida International) got two immediate outs, but eventually gave up a John Field single that scored Refsnyder making it 4-1.
Cotuit scored their initial run in the first inning off a Micah Johnson (Indiana) RBI. He fisted a ball to shallow center to score, guess who, Kyle Wren.
Wareham enjoyed a sound start from Matthew Grimes. He gave the Gatemen six strong innings, allowing six hits, no walks, striking out five, and only giving up the one earned run.
Unfortunately for Wareham, his effort was futile.
Coach Cooper Farris appreciated Grimes’ contribution. “He threw really well, got ahead of the hitters, didn’t walk anybody.”
“We gotta come back and play again Thursday, you know, there are 39 more of these things, so we just gotta keep grinding,” Farris articulated. “We did everything we need to do in the first eight inning, just didn’t do it in the ninth.”
Mike Roberts is excited to see what this will do to the team’s harmony.
“It builds team comradery, to bring people off the bench, and want people to be successful. It’s so early in the year so that makes me hope this win gives us cohesiveness as a team.”
Cotuit will test that cohesiveness against the Bourne Braves tomorrow at 6 PM. The game will be played at Doran Park.