COTUIT – The battle for Barnstable has been decided. With the 3-1 victory over Cotuit, the Hyannis Harbor Hawks lifted the coveted Barnstable Patriot Cup above their heads on Saturday afternoon.
Both starting pitchers worked with accuracy, tenacity, and proficiency. The product of this was a very quick game, no longer than two hours and fifteen minutes. Each team only scored in one half of an inning. Every other frame was a zero thrown up by the pitchers.
Cotuit starter Kyle Zimmer (San Francisco) faced nine Hyannis batters in the first three innings. He got batters to hit very playable balls and got two key twin killings in the process. Zimmer didn’t allow a run through his first five innings of work.
Jon Moscot (Pepperdine) was equally as impressive. He sprinkled seven hits over seven innings while only giving up the one earned run. He rung up four Kettleers and gave one Cotuit hitter a free pass.
Moscot attributed his gem to the defensive work behind him.
“I felt pretty good, my teammates made a lot of plays behind me. I just kept the ball low in the zone; they kept pounding the ball into the ground. It was a good day all the way around. Good defense and good hitting.”
His coach Chad Gassman was pleased that Moscot was finally able to enjoy the fruits of his labor.
“Jon really deserved this. He pitched great in the beginning and then he had some hard luck. But he’s been pitching great all year. His last two starts he’s been rewarded for his efforts. He’s a competitor, he’s a team guy, and I’m just so happy for him.”
The scoring occurred in consecutive half innings. In the bottom of the fifth, Patrick Biondi (Michigan) drew a the only Moscot walk and then came home on a Alex Yarbrough (Ole Miss) RBI single to right field. Victor Roache (Georgia Southern) could have broken the game open, but his line drive was belted directly into the glove of Justin Gonzalez (Florida State) at third base for the final out of the inning.
Hyannis answered in the top of the sixth by plating their three runs. The inning started off with the hustling Eric Stamets (Evansville) legging out an infield hit. Joey Rickard (Arizona) then boomed a double over the head of Biondi in center field, putting himself on second and Stamets on third. Austin Elkins (Dallas Baptist) then hit a groundball to first base that scored Stamets and moved Rickard over. Joey DeMichele (Arizona State) then chopped a single in-between first and second giving Hyannis the 2-1 lead. After a Kevin Palwecki (Purdue) single, the Boilermaker then got into a run down between first and second on purpose in an effort to score DeMichele at third. The base running was masterful, as Palwecki dragged out the pickle long enough to put DeMichele in excellent position to take off for home and make it safely.
The rest of the game went scoreless, as Ryan Gibson (Oklahoma) and Nick Wittgren (Purdue) pitched effectively in the 8th and 9thinnings for Hyannis. Deven Marrero (Arizona State) and Micheal Yastrzemski (Vanderbilt) did occupy 1st and 2nd base in the ninth inning via back-to-back one out singles, but Wittgren was able to get both Kevin Roundtree (USC) and Jordan Leyland (UC Irvine) to strike out consecutively to end the threat, and give Hyannis Barnstable’s version of the Beanpot.
Coach Gassman told his troops before and after the game that this game had a little bit more riding on it because of what was at steak.
“I told my guys that this game was important for so many reasons. The Patriots Cup is big between both towns, so from that standpoint take it serious. And you know, it gives us one more win in the Western Division and we are fighting for a Western Division championship.”
Cotuit’s Patrick Biondi made this game his own personal highlight real. Eric Statmets led off the 8th inning what looked like double that would surely fall in the right center gap. But Biondi was traveling at Mach 3 speed, spread his body out like eagle’s wings and dove for the ball like a wide receiver. The roar from the crowd when Biondi raised himself off the ground with the ball in hand was the Cape League equivalent of a Connecticut crowd after a Kemba Walker buzzer beater. He made another stellar play in the ninth, breaking forward for a low line drive and sliding to make a catch before it grazed the outfield grass.
“I think I surprised a couple of people on the first one,” recounted the cheery Biondi. “But it was pretty cool, the guys were great about it.”
Unfortunately, web gems don’t count as runs, and this game puts Cotuit in an even harsher position as far as the playoff push goes. Cotuit is still five points behind Falmouth with eight games remaining. Despite the cards being stacked against his club, coach Mike Roberts is still hopeful.
“Your goal is to win every game you play. We’ll see when we add it all up at the end where we are. If we win eight in a row, that’s sixteen points. I think we are very capable of doing that. Nobody on the Cape is more athletic than we are. We just have to that that athleticism and turn it into good plays on the baseball field. But you just have to take it all one game at a time and see where we are at the end.”
Biondi and the club know the daunting task in front of them.
“I think the team knows that for the next week and a half that we have to win seven or eight wins to get in. It’s not like we are playing bad baseball. If we make a couple more routine plays I think we will have a chance to win some of those games.”
Cotuit (12-21-3) will continue their quest for the playoffs tomorrow at Chatham for a 5:30 game.