June 10, 2011
COTUIT – On a not quite so perfect day for baseball in Cape Cod, the Kettleers played one of the wackier games in recent memory. The tilt featured back-to-back homeruns (one of which was a grand slam), a hero who arrived on the Cape less than 24 hours ago, a put out that was scored 9-6 (yes, the right fielder Jimmy Bosco (Arkansas) literally threw out someone at second on a line drive,) and oh yeah, the baseball game ended in a 7-7 tie.
The Chatham Anglers were up 6-1 in the third inning, and 7-5 going into the bottom of the ninth when designated hitter turned closer Zach Jones (San Jose State) tried to shut the door on the Kettleers and gain the save. The Kettleers and Jimmy Bosco would have nothing of that. Bosco worked the count, walked to first, and then stole second. Catcher Luke Maile (Kentucky) also earned a walk, giving Alex Yarbrough (Ole Miss) the opportunity to bunt them both into scoring position. Right fielder Mike Biondi (Michigan) lasered a ball that seemed like it was going to spit up the middle, but Jones channeled his inner Pele and kicked the ball down to keep it from escaping. With two outs and two strikes, centerfielder Kyle Wren (Georgia Tech), who literally arrived from Atlanta yesterday, blasted a dandy of a hit to just shallow enough to center field for the ball to pop out of the diving glove of Chatham’s Brent Hopkins (Rhode Island College). The hit drove in pinch running Stefan Sabol (Oregon) and Bosco. After the score was knotted at 7, Torsten Boss (Michigan State) struck out to end the “lack of sunshine” shortened game.
“The outfielders just parted the sea for me out there,” explained Wren. “When I saw the gap that they left me, I just tried to put it there.”
Left handed Cotuit starter DJ Snelten (Minnesota) displayed good damage control in the second inning by only giving up one run after having bases loaded and only one out. Unfortunately, Chatham opened up the floodgates on the freshman Golden Gopher in the third. Temporary player Matt Fleishman (Villanova) cracked a grand slam over the left field wall. In the very next at-bat catcher Sean Reilly (Rollins College) decided he wanted a homer over the left field fence as well, putting the Anglers ahead 6-1. Snelten’s day was done after that inning.
The rest of the game, the Kettleers were determined to chip away and make something of a bleak situation.
“It was ugly at times,” said Cotuit manager Mike Roberts. “But my guys did what I told ‘em, and that was to go play like you were playing wiffle ball when you were kids. I was really proud of the guys coming back like they did.”
They worked around a decent pitching performance by the Angler named Tim Cooney (Wake Forest). Cooney went 5 2/3 innings allowing only five hits, three earned, and two walks to go along with his two strikeouts.
DH Victor Roache (Georgia Southern) went 2 for 4 with two towering doubles and an RBI to help the cause. (He and his 225-pound frame make the bat look like a chop stick when he holds it.) Biondi and Micah Johnson (Indiana) both stole bases and scored runs in a crucial 6th inning to cut the deficit to 1.
Cotuit’s Paul Schwendel (Emory) did his part by throwing three innings of scoreless relief of Snelten. Comedian turned right-handed pitcher Daniel Stallsmith (Furman) also pitched the seven and part of the eighth while only giving up one run.
Part of the scrappiness of Cotuit was the product of a tragic moment for Chatham first baseman Matt Conway (Wake Forest). Conway was stretching out at first to try and beat out a speedy Micah Johnson when his right knee buckled and he fell to the ground with less motion than a LeBron James fourth quarter point total. During the apparent hush that fell over Lowell Park when Conway hit the ground, Torsten Boss, who was on second, took third while he was down. Boss didn’t notice that Conway was in pain, so his swipe was not out of bad sportsmanship. After laying motionless for what seemed like at least ten minutes, his teammates lifted him onto their shoulders. Conway, who never put an iota of pressure on his knee, was shrugging off a single tear from his eye before leaving the ballpark. Roache hit Boss home in the following at bat.
As far as Chatham goes, Matt Fleishman who went 2 for 5 with the slam was the topic of discussion.
“No he’s still a temporary player and we’ll figure things out as our contracted players come back from the regionals and super regionals,” stated Chatham manager John Schiffner. He also was pleased with how his guy handled the bats. “We had 13 hits we didn’t do that in about three weeks last year, so we hit it well tonight.”
Fleishman showed professionalism and appreciation of getting his shot. “I just wanted to come down here and have good at bats today. I know that the pitchers and players are great down here in this league so I want to go out there and play my best.”
“It was a fastball 2-2 a little in but I was just up there with bases loaded when I was just trying to drive a ball and he got ahead of my early and I saw a pitch I liked and drove it.”
The Kettleers will play at Brewster on Saturday June, 11th at 5:00.