By: Nick Solari, Writing Intern, Quinnipiac University
July 8, 2013.
COTUIT – Heading into the halfway mark to its season, Cotuit had struggled lately to get both clutch hitting and solid pitching for a full ballgame. They had lost four of their last five, and were in need of a victory to get back on track both physically and mentally.
Three Kettleers homered, the pitching staff held the Mariners in check, and a 6-2 victory was just what coach Mike Roberts thinks the team needed on Monday night at Lowell Park.
“We did decide to make some adjustments to the team in regards to the lineup and also some adjustments mentally,” Roberts said after the game. “We talked to the team today about what the summer is about here in Cotuit. They were very receptive, and I saw what I thought was a very mature team on the field today.”
Mike Ford (Princeton), Hunter Cole (Georgia), and Drew Jackson (Stanford) were responsible for the three long balls Cotuit hit.
Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the third, Mike Ford launched a solo shot to right field. He got a hanging curveball from Harwich starter Dillon Peters (Texas) on a 1-1 count, and blasted his third home run of the season.
Hunter Cole’s long ball was next. After a Yale Rosen single (Washington St), Cole struck a two-run long ball, his first of the season. With one swing of the bat he put the Kettleers up 3-1.
“We tried to shorten his swing a bit,” Roberts said. “He did a good job of it today with both the walk and the homerun. I was really pleased that Hunter was able to go out and have success.”
Cole had dealt with his share of struggles. Prior to tonight’s game he was hitting .236 on the season.
“I felt more confortable out there today, a little more relaxed at the plate,” Cole said. “I worked on my hand placement a lot heading into today’s game, and the hard work paid off.”
Harwich clawed back with a Nick Howard RBI triple to make it 3-2 in the sixth, but Cotuit’s offense answered.
Jake Fincher (North Carolina St) singled to begin things in the bottom half of the eighth inning. After advancing on a balk, he stole third and scored on a throwing error by Harwich catcher Brett Austin (North Carolina St) to make it 4-2.
Drew Jackson blew the game open for the Kettleers. He blasted a two-run homer to deep left field to give Cotuit a 6-2 advantage, one that they would hold on to for good.
“I’m not sure if it’s because his parents are in town, or what,” Roberts joked of Jackson’s hit. “I know that I’m never shaking his hand again, though, because he almost broke my right thumb rounding third.”
Ben Smith (Coastal Carolina) went the first four innings on the night. He gave up five hits, one run, two walks, and struck out four.
Patrick Corbett (Coastal Carolina) came in relief for Smith, as he usually does. Corbett earned the victory, pitching four innings. He gave up two hits, one run, walked one, and struck out four. He gave up his first earned run of the season, and now has a 0.73 ERA in 12.1 innings on the summer.
“Smith and Corbett have thrown the ball well back-to-back in games for us all season. “I thought that was the best Corbett has thrown all year.”
Brian Miller (Vanderbilt) threw a scoreless ninth to shut things down.
“Miller looked really comfortable in the ninth, as well,” Roberts said. “You go as your pitching goes, and our pitching was good tonight.”
With the win Cotuit moves to 13-9 on the season, and Harwich falls to 12-10. The Kettleers are back in action tomorrow on Tuesday, July 9.