By: Sean Bailey, Writing Intern, Providence College
June 30 2013
COTUIT – What a difference a day makes. For the Cotuit Kettleers, the change was astronomically positive, as they rebounded from a disheartening 4-3 walk off loss at Bourne to beat the Braves 6-1 at Lowell Park. The Kettleers had been unable to secure a win against Bourne on the season until Sunday. Cotuit had been no hit by the Braves, and then outplayed them for eight innings Saturday before breaking down, making critical errors in the ninth that allowed the Braves to steal the win. Sunday, they sought to finally beat Bourne. And they did so behind strong pitching and defense.
“Our concentration today was pitching and defense,” said Manager Mike Roberts after the game, “We felt like if we can play better defense we will have a chance to win.”
For Cotuit, starter Christian Cecilio (University of San Francisco) provided more than enough of the pitching, as he cruised through 7 1/3 innings, the longest outing of any Kettleer. Cecilio left Bourne batters looking bedeviled. He moved the ball in the zone, kept it down, and forced 15 groundouts on the night, while scattering five hits.
“I just tried to keep the ball down, and get ahead of hitters,” said Cecilio following the game, “I made them hit the pitch I wanted, and tried to make them feel uncomfortable at the plate.”
The Kettleers nearly broke open the game in the second inning. However, they were only able to score one after loading the bases with no outs on a Tim Kiene walk, a Nolan Clark (Concordia) single into left, and a Steven Duggar (Clemson) walk. Kevin Bradley (Clemson) hit a high groundball to third, which the third basemen bobbled, allowing Kiene to score, but he was able to recover to retire Bradley at first for the first out. A groundout to third, and a fly ball to center ended the threat for Bourne.
Another run would come Cotuit’s way in the fourth. Again the scoring was ignited by a Kiene walk. After a pop out and a fly out, Bradley came to the plate and laced a double to deep center, one hopping the wall, and bringing Kiene home from first.
Cotuit had another juicy situation in the fifth. However, they were only able to score the tiniest drop of juice from a potentially ripe opportunity. The Kettleers loaded the bases off a Rhett Wiseman (Vanderbilt) walk, a single into deep short by Logan Ratledge (NC State), followed by a Mike Ford (Princeton) walk. Jake Fincher (NC State) drove home the only run of the inning on a walk. The next two Kettleers went down looking on consecutive strikeouts, one off a slider over the outside, and one off a ferocious fastball. A fly out to centerfield would end the inning.
“We had a couple of situations where clutch hitting wise, we would have liked to have done better,” said Roberts.
Clutch hitting may have failed, but Cotuit did not fail to smack a homerun. Ratledge would ensure this, launching a long homerun down the leftfield line in the sixth, swelling Cotuit’s lead to 4-0.
“My first two at bats, I had a couple of long at bats, but didn’t get the result I wanted,” said Logan, “The last one I came up aggressive approach and got a good pitch and put a good swing on it.”
The homer was followed by a sharp lineout to shortstop. Then Fincher knocked a single between shortstop and third. Kiene then was hit on the wrist. A double steal by Fincher and Kiene perched Kettleers at second and third. Clark popped a shallow fly to right, but with Fincher’s speed it was deep enough to score Cotuit’s fifth run.
The only adversity Cotuit faced came in the eighth inning. A slow moving grounder ate up Ratledge for an error, putting a runner at first. After a deep fly out to centerfield, a batter was hit, putting runners at first and second. A bloop single to left loaded the bases of Braves. A grounder was then hit to second, which Ratledge made a great diving stab on, but his throw was late, scoring one. Eric Karch (Pepperdine) came in from the bullpen to replace Cecilio. He wiggled out of trouble well, and received some help from the defense, specifically shortstop Gali Cribbs Jr. (Clarendon) Cribbs made a diving catch ranging towards the middle of the infield on a line drive, saving a run. A grounder was then hit towards Cribbs again, who flipped to Ratledge at second to set down the Braves.
Cotuit would add another in the eighth off a dropped ball in centerfield, setting the final score of 6-1. The Kettleers will be at Lowell Park on Tuesday to take on the Brewster Whitecaps at 5 p.m.