By: Sean Bailey, Writing Intern, Providence College
July 12, 2013
(Greg Mroz with Falmouth writer Meredith Perri recapping the game RECAP PODCAST)
COTUIT – The Falmouth Commodores had been a thorn in the Cotuit Kettleers side. The last two games these Western Division rivals squared off Falmouth had mashed their way to 21 combined runs, out slugging, pitching, and fielding the Kettleers. But, that all changed Friday evening at Lowell Park, as Cotuit removed the thorn, handling the Commodores 5-1.
“This was a really important win,” said starting pitcher Evan Beal (South Carolina). “This is a good team and they had blown us out the last couple times we played them.”
The first inning looked eerily similar to those blowouts. Beal gave up a walk, then an infield single, and a bloop single to right center to load the bases with no outs, and the heart of the Commodores potent offense due up. However, Beal was determined to escape the inning, and not allow Falmouth to gain an early lead on Cotuit again. He struck out the next batter looking on a cutter. The next one was set down on a slider on the outer half of the plate looking. The final hitter struck out swinging on a cutter, ending the inning.
“I was just trying to mix it up, keep the ball down,” said Beal of the jam. “I didn’t want to elevate anything, let them get the ball up in the air. I didn’t want to give up cheap runs. They had to earn it.”
Which is something the Commodores couldn’t do against Beal, who went on to pitch six scoreless innings, allowing only one more hit, while striking out five. In fact he retired the next nine hitters, and only allowed four runners the rest of the outing.
“Evan showed something that teammates look for, coaches look for, that scouts look for,” said Manager Mike Roberts following the game. “That is, can you throw the ball well enough in a tough situation. Particularly, early in the ball game if you’re not a closer, against a really good club. And Falmouth has swung the bat great lately. That really set the tone for us, by him pitching his way out of it that first inning.”
Cotuit seized the momentum, and rode it in the home half of the first inning. It started with an infield single by Rhett Wiseman (Vanderbilt). A passed ball moved Wiseman to second, where Mike Ford (Princeton) did the rest, lacing an RBI single to center and giving Cotuit the early lead. After a strikeout and a walk, Drew Jackson (Stanford) came up and hit a single to center, scoring Ford from second. Logan Ratledge (NC State) then drove a ball deep into left, but the leftfielder ran the ball down in front of the wall, then nearly doubled off Danny Diekroeger (Stanford) off second base, but he just beat the throw back on a slide. That was vital for the Kettleers because Jake Fincher (NC State) came up and promptly ripped a single into right center to score Diekroeger. Then Hunter Cole (Georgia) came up and hit a grounder to third that was backhanded. However the throw to first pulled the first basemen off the bag, scoring Jackson, and spotting Cotuit an early 4-0 lead.
“We were fortunate with the first hitter,” said Roberts following the game. “We were able to bunch together a couple base hits, and the game really flowed from there.”
Cotuit tacked on another run in the fifth. It started with a Ford single through the middle. Then a single to right by Diekroeger moved Ford to third, and Jackson brought him home from there with a bloop single into shallow center, giving Cotuit a five run lead.
Falmouth’s only chance came in the ninth inning. It started with an infield single on a broken bat. After a fly out to center, the next batter hit a line drive single into right. Finally, Troy Stein (Texas A&M) doubled off the wall in left, scoring Dylan Davis (Oregon State), and perching Commodores on second and third. Eric Karch (Pepperdine), who pitched three innings in relief, survived the hiccup and retired the next two Commodores, one via strikeout and the other via fly out to center to end the game.
“Today the focus was good. We were a little more crisp in every way,” said Roberts. “It is interesting how baseball goes each day, you see the flow really good with a pitcher like Evan on the mound, a couple of hits and a couple of good defensive plays. Today we played nine really good innings.”
Cotuit looks to put together nine more really good innings at Lowell Park against Hyannis at 5 p.m. tomorrow.