By Mike Walsh
Kettleers Media Intern
July 3, 2012
FALMOUTH – Is there a stronger group of power hitters in the Cape Cod Baseball League this year? Maybe there’s something in the host families’ water. Perhaps the air has just been thinned out by the new wind turbines installed east of the canal. No matter the reason, the Cotuit Kettleers once again fell victim to the long ball last night, 3-1.
No team in the CCBL has been affected by this season’s influx of home runs more than Cotuit. The Kettleers staff had given up 19 round-trippers on the season. Number 20 came with one on and one out in the sixth inning at Guv Fuller Field when Falmouth second basemen Casey Turgeon (Florida) popped a Dusty Isaacs (Georgia Tech) pitch over the center field wall, giving the home team a 3-0 lead.
Turgeon’s two run shot proved to be the difference Tuesday night as Cotuit’s offense, which had just posted 12 runs the night before, was held to just one.
It was a rarely seen pitcher’s duel throughout as Falmouth’s Craig Schlitter (Bryant) shut-out Cotuit through five innings, striking out seven. A host of relievers finished off the Kettleers after that.
Getting his first start of the summer, Tim Mayza (Millersville) was almost equal to the task but allowed one run on a sacrifice fly in 3 2/3 innings.
“Tim threw the ball really well. He ended up with a lot of 3-2 counts which fatigued him quickly,” said head coach Mike Roberts. “I am still pleased with how he and Dusty
Mayza mirrored his coach’s comments saying, “A couple of those 3-2 counts, I eliminate them and then I can stay out there longer.”
With two on and two out, Mayza was relieved by Isaacs who quickly disposed of the next hitter.
“The best thing I can do there is just focus on the batter. Tim threw well all game and I really wanted to get that out for him,” said Isaacs of extinguishing the Falmouth threat.
After a 1-2-3 fifth inning, Isaacs issued a free pass to the leadoff man in the sixth. That proved costly as two hitters later, Turgeon blasted the decisive home run. To his credit, Isaacs did not let it get to him and calmly retired the side.
“You learn fast around here. If you make a mistake up in the strike zone, they are going to hit it,” said Isaacs of the home run. “After that I really focused on shooting the knees with my fastball and getting my secondary stuff working when ahead in the count.”
Isaacs mowed down the Commodores in innings seven and eight, striking out five of the six hitters he faced.
“Working ahead in the count, I went change-up first pitch to a lot of guys. Once I got up 0-2, I tried to get some guys chasing a breaking ball,” added Isaacs of his strike outs.
Cotuit’s lone run came in the seventh when Patrick Biondi (Michigan), who reached base four times, was hit by a pitch to lead off. He then stole second and advanced to third on the over-throw. Following a Cael Brockmeyer (CSU Bakersfield) walk, Jacob Valdez (San Jose St) shot a long fly ball that was just deep enough for Biondi to tag and make it home safely.
Outside of that seventh inning, the bats could never get into full gear. Cotuit put men on base in all but two innings, but were unable to break through. The Commodore pitchers, aided by three pick-offs, continually stemmed the Kettleer rallies.
Things were disastrous at the top of the order as hitters one, two and three went a combined 2-for-11 at the plate. Two of the team’s top hitters, Raph Rhymes (LSU) and Aramis Garcia (Florida Int’l) were befuddled in the batter’s box all night and combined to strike out eight times.
“Their pitching was just better than our hitting,” said Roberts. “I wish every game would be 1-0, 2-0 the rest of the year. That is when you find out who can play with the little aspects; defense, offense, base-running. We didn’t do any of those things well this evening.”
The loss drops Cotuit to 7-9 on the season. They will get a chance to exact a measure of revenge on Falmouth when the teams meet again at 5pm on Independence Day in the friendly confines of Lowell Park.