By: Nick Solari, Writing Intern, Quinnipiac University
July 25, 2013
ORLEANS – The Kettleers began Thursday night’s game in Orleans playing under a light rain. As the game progressed, the rain became heavier. Ultimately, the final two and a half innings were played under steady amounts of water.
The rain, culminated with the outcome of the game, was just enough to put a damper on the night for Cotuit players, coaches, and fans alike.
The Firebirds offense put up seven runs on nine hits, Jared Miller (Vanderbilt) threw six shutout innings, and the Kettleers fell by the final score of 7-3 at Eldredge Park.
“It’s one of those games that you hate to lose. It was an ugly night, and you just need to discard it and get ready for tomorrow,” head coach Mike Roberts said after the game.
Cotuit starting pitcher Christian Cecilio (San Francisco) did not allow a base runner until the fourth inning when he issued a two-out walk to Jordan Luplow (Fresno St). He went 4.0 innings full innings without surrendering a base-hit. Austin Davidson singled in the top of the fifth, breaking the Firebird’s drought.
“I’ve been feeling great the last couple of times I’ve been throwing the ball,” Cecilio said. “I’ve been able to command my fastball. That’s the most important thing. The rain wasn’t too bad while I was out there.”
The Kettleers southpaw went 6.0 innings on the night and gave up only two hits, one run, and struck out four.
“He (Cecilio) threw really well. Both starting pitchers did,” Roberts said. “Left-handed pitchers have been pretty effective in this league all year. I was really pleased with the way Christian threw the ball tonight.”
Unfortunately, Cecilio was outmatched by Miller, a lefty as well. The Orleans starter fanned 10 Kettleers total in six innings of work, allowing only two hits himself.
The first Kettleers threat against Miller came in top half of the third inning. Drew Jackson (Stanford) led off the inning with a base hit and later advanced on a passed ball. Nolan Clark (Concordia) then singled to right with one out, and Roberts elected to hold Jackson at third. Orleans starting pitcher Jared Miller then struck out Bradley Zimmer (San Francisco) with a curveball in the dirt, and got Danny Diekroeger (Stanford) to pop out to first base to end the inning.
Orleans got on the board in the bottom of the fifth when shortstop Vince Conde (Vanderbilt) laid down a squeeze bunt to bring in Jordan Betts (Duke) and make it 1-0 Orleans.
The Kettleers tried doing the same a half inning later. Leadoff hitter and center fielder Bradley Zimmer, who just arrived back from Team USA, reached on a fielder’s choice with one out in the inning. He then got caught in a pickle between first and second base, but Orleans first baseman Betts failed to catch the pickoff throw. Zimmer advanced to third base. He then broke for the plate on the next pitch in what looked to be a squeeze play, but Diekroeger (Stanford) missed the bunt side and Zimmer was tagged retreating back to third for the second out.
‘You know they are going to try and squeeze in the fifth inning, and you know we are going to try and do the same in the sixth,” Roberts said after the game. “We didn’t know if we would get the full game in, it does effect the way I manage.”
Orleans then grabbed another run to make it 2-0 on an Austin Davidson (Pepperdine) RBI double off of reliever David Schmidt (Stanford).
Nolan Clark (Concordia) helped the Kettleers grab one back in the top of the eighth when he singled in Rhett Wiseman (Vanderbilt), but Orleans struck for five more runs off Schmidt in the bottom half of the inning to make it 7-1.
Clark reached base a team-high three times for the Kettleers, two hits and a walk.
Due to the shortage of pitchers Galli Cribbs Jr. (Clarendon) pitched the final two outs of the eighth inning. It was the first time Cribbs Jr. has thrown since Little League Baseball.
Wiseman and Mark Payton (Texas) each drove in a run in the top of the ninth, but Cotuit couldn’t rally to tie the game up.
Kettleers (20-15-1) play the Firebirds (18-18) again tomorrow night at Lowell Park. The game begins at 5:00.