By: Sean Bailey, Writing Intern, Providence College
August 3, 2013
FALMOUTH – Going into the night the Cotuit Kettleers were in the midst of an epic fight for the Western Division crown. In game 43, the Kettleers found themselves one point back from Hyannis and Falmouth for first place. Through six and a half innings it looked like Cotuit would emerge from the fracas in first. Instead they left Falmouth guaranteed a third place finish, after losing to the Commodores 9-5.
“The players gave a great effort but, we struggled,” said Manager Mike Roberts following the game. “When you look at the number of mistakes we are making each game, especially when you are playing a good team like Falmouth. We need to concentrate a little more, and cut out some mistakes.”
The Kettleers were able to jump ahead early in the top of the second. Danny Diekroeger (Stanford) led off the inning. He took a belt-high fastball and drove it to deep right, where it carried up and out of the park, spotting the Kettleers a 1-0 lead.
Falmouth knotted up the score in the bottom of the fourth. Adam Ravenelle (Vanderbilt) allowed a lead off walk, forced a fly out to center, then gave up a single into right before he was lifted in favor of Wesley Cox. (Texas San Antonio) Cox fired a series of breaking balls to strikeout the next Commodore, making it two outs with runners on first and second. But Cotuit couldn’t totally evade damage, as Connor Hale (The State College of Florida) with a broken bat single into right field, scoring one Commodore.
The Kettleers regained the lead in the sixth. With one out Jake Fincher (NC State) struck out, but the ball kicked away from the catcher, allowing the speedy Fincher to reach first. This was vital because Diekroeger belted a long fly ball to center that smacked off the wall, just shy of his second home run. Fincher motored his way around the bases, sliding safely into home, giving Cotuit a 2-1 lead.
“I was trying to keep it simple,” said Diekroeger of his run making swing, “I tried to get a good pitch, I got some good hitters counts which worked in my favor.”
Their lead was extended in the seventh. With two outs Caleb Bryson (Samford) strolled to the plate. He had struck out three times on the evening thus far. But the fourth at bat was special, as he hammered a deep home run over the left center field fence. Bradley Zimmer (University of San Francisco) worked a two out walk. Rhett Wiseman (Vanderibilt) followed with a rocket into the right center gap, hitting off the base of the wall for a double, bringing home Zimmer and a 4-1 lead. Then Fincher smacked a hard grounder past the third basemen, perching runners on the corners. Fincher stole second setting runners in scoring position. Wiseman would then score on a wild pitch, giving Cotuit a 5-1 lead. A lead which seemed insurmountable at the time.
But this was a tale of collapse for the Kettleers. The bottom of the seventh would prove to be too disastrous to overcome, as the Commodores pounded out five runs.
“When you lose a ball game like that it is the coach’s fault not the players’,” said Roberts. “I made some adjustments that did not work out.”
Two one-out singles in the hole at short put runners on first and second. Then Rhys Hoskins (Sacramento State) smashed a shot off the left center wall for a two run double. He advanced to third on a passed ball, and came home off a Casey Gillaspie (Witchita State) single up the middle, narrowing the lead to 5-4. Joel Seddon (South Carolina) struck out Dylan Davis (Oregon State) on a series of breaking balls for the second out. Two walks followed, which loaded the bases. The inning then looked to be over on a lazy fly to right, but the ball popped out of the glove and allowed two Commodores to score and they took a 6-5 lead.
Cotuit had all the signs of a rally building in the top of the eighth. Jared Walsh (Georgia) pulled a single into right to lead it off. After two outs Drew Jackson (Stanford) hit a bloop single into right. But he was picked off at first by the catcher Troy Stein (Texas A & M) to end the inning.
Falmouth’s lead would balloon sky high in the bottom of the eight. They would add three more runs, securing the 9-5 victory.
“We need more intensity,” said Roberts, “How much do you love the game? How bad do you want to play? What is your focus? Can you focus every pitch? This is a team game and every player depends on their peers. We just got to play better as a team. We still got games to go and as long as we got games to go we will work on it.”
Cotuit will look to extract some revenge for the final game of the regular season, as they take on the Commodores at 4:30 p.m. at Lowell Park.