By: Nick Solari, Quinnipiac University, Writing Intern
July 6, 2013
HYANNIS – The Cotuit Kettleers needed to get something going in the top half of the ninth. After leading by a run for the majority of the game, Hyannis tied it at one in the bottom of the eighth on a Brian Miller wild pitch.
Currently in the midst of a three game skid, the longest the Kettleers had suffered this season, they were in desperate need of a run.
After right fielder Jake Fincher (NC State) led of the top of the final frame by reaching on an error and stealing second base, two Kettleers hitters struck out. Hunter Cole stepped up to the plate with two outs and Fincher in scoring position.
Mike Gunn (Arkansas Fayetteville) then threw two wild pitches to plate Fincher and Cotuit got their first win in four days, defeating the Harbor Hawks 2-1.
“It’s always fun to win, particularly in Hyannis tonight,” head coach Mike Roberts said. “We needed a win for our confidence, and we got it.”
After giving up 28 runs in three games, the Kettleers got a desperately needed solid performance from its staff.
Evan Beal (South Carolina) started his first game of the Cape League season, going 5.0 shutout innings. He gave up three hits, walked one, and struck out six.
“Beal was ready to start,” Roberts said. “Pitchers set the tone for the game. When you throw strikes like he did, it puts you in a good place.”
Eric Karch (Pepperdine) went the next 2.1 in relief. He gave up the lone Hyannis run and struck out two.
Brian Miller (Vanderbilt) threw the final 1.2 innings, striking out three and giving up a lone hit. He managed to strand a runner at third base in the ninth inning to end it.
Fincher drove in the first run in the top of the fourth inning, giving the Kettleers a 1-0 advantage at the time. Mike Ford (Princeton) led off the inning with a single to center field, and eventually scored on Fincher’s single between third base and shortstop.
“His aggressiveness runs off on everyone,” Roberts said of Fincher. “His stolen base in the ninth inning was huge, because he was able to score the run. I just like the way he plays the game.”
Steven Duggar led the way for the Kettleers offense with three hits on the day, all of which were singles. He had been hitless in his four games prior to the big night.
“I hit a whole lot better tonight,” Duggar said after the game. “I just made some minor adjustments early on this morning, and it helped.”
Ford was 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. His double in the eighth inning was the only extra-base hit Cotuit got all night long.
Logan Ratledge (North Carolina St) also had two hits, a single in the first and in the ninth. He is now hitting .421 on the season.
With the win the Kettleers move to 12-8 on the season. They have taken the first two games of the Barnstable Patriots Cup against the Harbor Hawks.
The two teams are back in action tomorrow at Lowell Park, 5:00 p.m., the beginning of the Kettleers’ three-game home stand.