By Courtney Swift
Kettleers Media Intern
August 7, 2012
COTUIT – The Kettleers showed their resiliency again Monday as they beat the Falmouth Commodores 8-7. Cotuit played from behind after the second inning, but slowly crawled back into the game. But it was a clutch two-out hit in the seventh by James Roberts (USC) that put the Kettleers on top for good.
Cotuit trailed 7-4 heading to the bottom of the seventh inning. But Aramis Garcia (Florida International) got things started leading off with a double to center field. Garcia scored on another double by right fielder Daniel Aldrich (College of Charleston) to bring the Kettleers within two runs.
With two outs in the inning, Tim Kiene (Maryland) walked. That put two runners on for Patrick Biondi (Michigan) who singled to score Aldrich from second and bring the Kettleers within one run. Tony Kemp (Vanderbilt) also walked to load the bases for Roberts. “It makes me be a little more patient, a little more selective,” Roberts said. “I know pitchers are going to try to throw off-speed. I just try to be patient and put a good swing on the ball.” With a 2-1 count, the shortstop hit a two-run single up the middle to help Cotuit take an 8-7 lead.
The two teams scored back and forth in the early innings before Falmouth pulled ahead. The Kettleers led 1-0 after the first, but the Commodores took a 3-1 lead in the second after a bases clearing double by Coty Blanchard (Jacksonville State). Cotuit bounced back to tie the sore at three a piece when Garcia hit a two run homer to left in the third. “Just trying to go up there, and get my pitch to hit,” Garcia said.
The Kettleers’ catcher went 2-3 with a walk on the night. His second hit in the fifth was nearly another homerun, but was caught at the fence in left field. “Aramis comes every day for extra batting practice,” Coach Roberts said. “He’s really worked at it to make the minor adjustments.” Garcia also helped the Kettleers out on defense to get an out in the sixth inning when he helped catch a Commodore in a rundown.
“As a catcher, when the hitter squares to bunt, and with a pitch up like that, and once the batter pulled back, your first instinct is to throw right to first base,” Garcia said. He threw down to first base after the pitch, and Mike Ford (Princeton) and Roberts took care of the runner from there.
Falmouth took a commanding lead in the sixth when Cotuit reliever Cameron Griffin (Stetson) ran into some trouble. He walked the first batter before overthrowing second on a hit back to the mound. The error put runners at first and third with no outs. A single from Ka’iana Eldredge (Kansas) and double from Jonathan McGibbon (Clemson) helped Falmouth add three more runs. The club led 7-4 into the seventh before Cotuit battled back.
The Commodores were backed by a strong pitching performance from starter Mick VanVossen (Michigan State). The righty threw 6 1/3 innings against the Kettleers keeping them off balance. “He did a really nice job with his changeup and breaking ball, and we didn’t do a lot,” Coach Roberts said. VanVossen gave up five runs on seven hits with two walks and two strikeouts before being pulled from the game.
Coach Roberts took some time to give his own starting pitchers some action. Jordan Ramsey (UNC Wilmington) and Adam McCreery (Arizona State) both saw innings on the mound. Ramsey threw 1 1/3 innings giving up just one hit with two walks. McCreery came in for Ramsey to get the final out of the seventh striking out the one batter he faced.
The southpaw also threw 1 1/3 innings and recorded the win for the Kettleers. “We were just trying to get them an inning each tonight,” Coach Roberts said. “Then we’ll decide who’s going to start on Thursday and Friday.” McCreery allowed no hits with one walk and one strikeout.
Lefty Brandon Bixler (Florida Gulf Coast) got the start for Cotuit throwing four innings. Coach Roberts said his role initially in the playoffs would be one-inning stints in relief.
Bixler gave up four runs on five hits with two walks and eight strikeouts. “The biggest challenge Brandon has is being consistent and not walking people where he’s always in a jam every inning,” Coach Roberts said. “He’s just got to have a little better control.”
The Kettleers (29-14) play their last game of the regular season Tuesday in Falmouth at 6:30 p.m. Cotuit has already clinched home field advantage throughout the playoffs. “Playing in front of these fans certainly makes it a lot easier,” Cotuit’s shortstop Roberts said. “Home field is always great.”
Falmouth is now 21-22 on the season, and will face Wareham in the first round of the playoffs. The Gatemen beat Bourne (17-26) Monday, solidifying Bourne’s place in fourth in the league. Cotuit will play the Braves at Lowell Park in game one of the first round Thursday at 4 p.m. For more post game interviews, visit Official Kettleers on YouTube.