By: Sean Bailey, Writing Intern, Providence College
July 24, 2013
COTUIT – Baseball is a game with three basic facets; hitting, defense and pitching. Rarely, a team is able to excel at all three in a game. The Cotuit Kettleers got the whole package Wednesday. Pitching, defense, and hitting were stellar as they beat the Brewster Whitecaps 5-4.
“Defense did pick us up today,” said Manager Mike Roberts following the game. “You got to look at each increment of the ball game, and we were fortunate that we won 5-4.”
The first looked shaky for the Kettleers however. Scott Heineman (Oregon) led the game off with a single, then stole second, and advanced to third on a wild pitch. That brought the infield in early. Trevor Mitsui (Washington) then laced a rocket line drive to short, but Drew Jackson (Stanford) leaped and snared the missile, preventing a run. Evan Beal (South Carolina) settled from there and forced a ground out to end the inning.
“You go back and look, and just early in the game the line drive that Drew (Jackson) caught in the first inning, which was an absolute missile, saved a run,” said Roberts.
Beal did not need too much more help after that. He was really dialed in after a poor performance against Chatham. He went seven shut out innings, striking out seven hitters, and scattering three hits. His slider was on point, as he recorded six of his seven strikeouts with it, and he regularly went to the pitch.
“I really kept the ball down, and mixed my pitches well,” said Beal, “I made sure I got over the front side and that I didn’t pull off and stayed down through the ball, which kept it down.”
Cotuit ran out of the gates quickly, nabbing a run in the first. Mark Payton (Texas) started with a one out bunt single that dribbled perfectly down the third base line. Then Logan Ratledge (NC State) smacked a double to left center, with Payton taking third. The hot hitting Rhett Wiseman (Vanderbilt) came to the plate and dropped a bloop single right in front of the right fielder scoring Payton from third. The Kettleers would leave Ratledge and Wiseman at second and third though, with a pop out to shallow center, not nearly deep enough to score Ratledge, then a ground out to second.
The Kettleers benefited from Brewster miscues to tack on their second run in the fourth inning. After two quick pop outs to open the inning, Drew Jackson (Stanford) worked a walk. Then Jared Walsh (Georgia) pulled a single into right field. The throw from right to third went wide of third, allowing both Walsh and Jackson to advance to second and third. And then Matt Pirro (Wake Forest) recorded his second balk of the ball game, scoring Jackson from third.
Cotuit were clutch with two outs again in the fifth. Payton worked a one out walk. Then after a pop out to second, Payton stole second. That is when Wiseman collected his second RBI of the day, smashing a double that one hopped the right center wall. Jake Fincher (NC State) then drove a single through the middle to score Wiseman and open Cotuit’s lead to 4-0.
The lead further swelled in the eighth. Danny Diekroeger (Stanford) led off the inning with a sharp single to center, which the center fielder misplayed, allowing Diekroeger to hustle into second. Payton then collected his second bunt single of the day with a bunt towards third, moving runners to the corners. Ratledge pulled the ball into left to drive Diekroeger in and give Cotuit a 5-0 lead.
“The last few games we are definitely stringing some hits together,” said Roberts of the runs.
The Whitecaps nearly pulled off a miraculous comeback in the ninth. Down five runs the Whitecaps hit two singles to open the inning, then recorded a walk to load the bases. Joel Seddon (South Carolina) then came in to try to stymie the bleeding. But he walked in a run, then gave up a single to left to score two runs. He jammed the next batter, forcing a 4-6-3 double play, that also plated a run, cutting the Kettleers lead to 5-3, with two outs and a runner on third. Then there was a bloop single into right, making it 5-4. But Seddon settled down, and struck out the last batter with a wicked curve to end the game.
The Kettleers resume action Thursday at Orleans at 7 p.m.