By Courtney Swift
Kettleers Lead Writer
June 14, 2012
COTUIT—It was a game of impressive pitching and timely hitting that led the Cotuit Kettleers to a 3-2 victory over the Hyannis Harbor Hawks Thursday night at Lowell Park. Kyle Finnegan (Texas State) was given the ball for the Kettleers on opening day. Coach Mike Roberts gave Finnegan the start because of his experience and many innings pitched during his school season for Texas State. And he did not disappoint.
“It’s kind of a dream come true,” Finnegan said. “It’s always been a dream of coming to the Cape, and I feel very fortunate.” As the innings went on, it became clear that Finnegan and Harbor Hawks starter, Sean Manaea (Indiana State) were ready to duel.
Manaea held Cotuit to no hits through five innings. “It’s that inner competitiveness,” Finnigan said. “The other pitcher has a better inning than you so you want to one up him.” Finnegan also pitched five scoreless but gave up two runs on two hits in the sixth.
Manaea faced his own trouble in the bottom half of the sixth, giving up two runs when Patrick Biondi (Michigan) hit a line-drive double just inside the left field line to score Jacob Valdez (San Jose State) and Aramis Garcia (Florida International). Biondi came in to replace Alex Johnson (Miami of Ohio) in the sixth and went 2-2 on the night.
Cameron Griffin (Stetson) came in for Finnegan in the seventh throwing 1.1 scoreless innings, but it was Dan Slania (Notre Dame) that pitched under pressure and got out of a tough eighth inning. “You just have to attack the batter,” he said. “And if he gets it, he gets it.” But the Harbor Hawks batter didn’t get it, and Slania was able to get out of the bases loaded jam unscathed.
Timely hitting helped the Kettleers yet again in the bottom of the eighth when centerfielder Jacob May (Coastal Carolina) came up to bat. May made good contact throughout the game but finally got the hit the Kettleers needed with a line drive double to left field to score the speedy Biondi and give Cotuit the 3-2 lead.
The one run lead would be all the Kettleers would need as Slania came back out to close out the ninth. Other Kettleers of note include Jacob Valdez (San Jose State) who went 1-1 on the night. He was the first base runner for the Kettleers this season, and also collected the first hit for the team. Galli Cribbs Jr. (San Jacinto College) made some dazzling plays at shortstop to hold go-ahead runners.
“I have 28 guys I have confidence in,” Roberts said. “And that’s what a coach should have, no reservations in this league. We are a team.” Lefty Adam McCreery (Arizona State) will take the mound Friday for Cotuit when they take on Chatham at 7 p.m. at Veterans Field.