By Courtney Swift
Kettleers Media Intern
August 5, 2012
COTUIT – It seems as if every game against Bourne this season has been a battle. The same was true Saturday as Cotuit beat Bourne 10-7 in game two of its doubleheader. There were four lead changes throughout the game, but some clutch late inning hits put Cotuit on top. “We had a lot of people tired,” Jacob Valdez (San Jose State) said of the doubleheader. But he said the team didn’t let the fatigue get to them. “All we’re going to do is keep fighting though, so we never give up and it worked out in the end.”
The Kettleers took an early 3-0 lead, but Bourne batted through the order in the third as starter Jordan Smith (Western Carolina) ran into trouble. Smith gave up three singles, two doubles and a walk before being taken out of the game. The Braves battled back for five runs to take a 5-3 lead.
Valdez has continued to step up while Tony Kemp is injured. Valdez went 1-2 with a walk in game one, and he was also hit by a pitch. He has gone 5-10 in the last four games with two extra base hits and seven runs batted in. “He has a gorgeous swing,” coach Mike Roberts said. “Somebody’s taught him really well. He’s just a really good offensive player.”
He helped give the Kettleers the lead in the bottom of the third with two runners on. “I’ve been seeing a lot of fastballs,” Valdez said. “Just trying to stay aggressive early in the count, I’m pretty balanced at the plate right now.” He took the first pitch and drove it over the right field fence for his second homerun of the season. The shot put Cotuit on top 7-5. Despite the homer, Valdez injured his groin and left the game after two at bats. He could be out for a few days.
Bourne wouldn’t go down quietly as the club struck again. Colin Moran (UNC) led off the fifth with a solo shot on the first pitch he saw to cut Cotuit’s lead to one. Later in the inning, the Braves tied the score at seven on an error by Mike Ford (Princeton) at first base.
The Kettleers had nearly run themselves out of chance to take the lead in the eighth. Aramis Garcia (Florida International) advanced all the way to third before being tagged out at the plate on a squeeze bunt attempt. The play left Galli Cribbs (San Jacinto) at first base with two outs in the inning.
But the next four batters reached base, helping Cotuit to their 28th win of the season. Adam Nelubowich (Washington State) reached on an error, and Cribbs scored on a single up the middle by Daniel Aldrich (College of Charleston). Ford walked to load the bases for designated hitter Tim Kiene (Maryland).
Kiene gave Cotuit a bigger cushion with a two run single to put the Kettleers back on top for good by a score of 10-7. “I really enjoy watching Aldrich and Kiene come to the plate because they’re big, strong young men,” Roberts said. “They’ve catapulted us definitely offensively. When they’ve been in the lineup together, they’ve done a great job.”
Cotuit held a special pregame ceremony to recognize the host families who open their homes to players each summer. Each Kettleer and his house parents took photos before the game. The team also recognized its positional and pitching MVPs, two awards given to players chosen by their teammates.
The positional MVP was awarded to centerfielder Patrick Biondi (Michigan), and the pitching award was given to Ryan Connolly (Coastal Carolina). “Both of them are solid,” Kiene said. “Everyday you know what they’re going to do, and we have faith in them.”
After sweeping the doubleheader, the Kettleers are now 28-13 on the season with three games left. They have won 20 of their last 23 games, and need just one more win to clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs with the best record in the league.
Bourne (16-25) also played two games Saturday losing both. Cotuit is on the road again Sunday when they take on Brewster at 4:30 p.m. For more post game interviews, visit Official Kettleers on YouTube.