By Courtney Swift
Kettleers Media Intern
July 31, 2012
COTUIT – Cotuit won 3-2 in walk off fashion Monday. After giving up a 2-0 lead, the Kettleers were down to their last three outs. Coach Mike Roberts called on pinch hitter Jacob Valdez (San Jose State) with one out and the bases loaded looking for some spark. Valdez drew the four-pitch walk off walk to help Cotuit win their ninth straight.
Valdez could have fallen to the pressure of the situation, but he was able to come through in the clutch for the Kettleers. “You just have to put the ball in play,” Valdez said. “Once he threw at least two balls, I knew I was going to have the best shot I would get.” The walk scored Biondi and secured the 3-2 victory.Ford dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move both runners to scoring position for Tim Kiene (Maryland) who was intentionally walked. That brought up Valdez for the bases loaded, one out situation. “When he walks to the plate, I look at him, and I see a big league hitter, and I see big league confidence” Coach Mike Roberts said. “He didn’t have the chance to drive it in, but he’s mature enough to have the discipline to take the pitches.”
It wasn’t the first point in the game that Biondi and Kemp made a difference. Biondi reached first on a walk to get things started for Cotuit in the second. He then advanced from first to third on an overthrow pick off attempt before Kemp also walked. Kemp advanced to second on a wild pitch, putting two runners in scoring position for Kiene with two away.
Kiene was back in the lineup after re-aggravating his hand last week. But Kiene looked comfortable as he made contact with the first pitch he saw launching a liner off the top of the fence in right center. “I was just getting back, my first at bat,” Kiene said. “I was just trying to see the ball, first pitch I saw it and put a good swing on it.” The ball bounced up in the air before landing back in the centerfielder’s glove. Kiene was credited with a two run double to score Biondi and Kemp and put the score at 2-0.
Brandon Bixler (Florida Gulf Coast) got the start for Cotuit throwing arguably his best outing of the year. He pitched perfectly into the fifth with four 1-2-3 innings. Bixler faced his first test in the fifth getting one out before giving up a solo shot to Chatham’s Alex Calbick (Maine). The homer brought the Anglers to within one run with a score of 2-1.
Bixler got the second out before giving up a walk and single and was taken out of the game. He threw 4 2/3 innings on the day giving up one run on two hits with one walk and eight strikeouts. “He’s a young man who has a world of ability, not a lot of confidence,” Roberts said. “I’m just really pleased for him because he’s always been in the background, and struggled with his control, but today he was the guy.”
Chatham chipped away again in the eighth with Jordan Smith (Western Carolina) on the mound for the Kettleers in relief. Adam Engel (Louisville) reached to lead of the inning on a double to center field. Smith got the first out of the inning before giving up a single to Andrew Knapp (California Berkeley) that scored Engel and tied the score at two a piece until the bottom of the ninth. Smith did get the win despite giving up the one run. He gave up four hits on the night with no walks and one strikeout.
The Kettleers (24-12) have now won nine straight. They continue to hold the best record on the Cape. “When you win it’s kind of contagious, and you’re going to keep doing whatever you’re doing,” Valdez said.
Cotuit is 12 points above second place Falmouth (18-19). The Kettleers hit the road Tuesday against Orleans at 7 p.m. Jordan Ramsey (UNC Wilmington) will take the mound for Cotuit as they look to beat the Firebirds for the first time this season. The club is 0-3 so far this season against Orleans. For more postgame interviews, visit Official Kettleers on YouTube.