By: Sean Bailey, Writing Intern, Providence College
August 1, 2013
BOURNE – Dry spells occur in every baseball team’s season. There are stretches where teams just seem to be unable to pile up runs. The Cotuit Kettleers have hit their dry spell. The Kettleers were shut out 2-0 by the Bourne Braves Thursday night, the second time in three games they have been shut out. (The Kettleers were shut out 2-0 by Orleans Tuesday night).
“I am trying to let them swing the bat,” said Manager Mike Roberts following the loss, “because we have to pull ourselves out of a funk. We will go back and work on it tomorrow.”
For Cotuit it was a waste of another outstanding pitching performance. Tuesday night it was Evan Beal (South Carolina) against the piping hot Orleans Firebirds, and tonight it was newcomer Dalton Potts (University of Tennessee Martin). Potts made his Cotuit debut, and he did not disappoint. Potts mixed his pitches well and did a fantastic job throwing strikes. Potts fired five innings, allowing two runs, and striking out five.
“I was trying to throw strikes and keep the ball down,” said Potts. “All the guys down here are good hitters.”
Adam Ravenelle (Vanderbilt) relieved Potts with a perfect sixth inning. Then David Schmidt (Stanford) did a terrific job hurling two scoreless innings, striking out two Braves.
“Lately it is pretty obvious that pitching has dominated in games we have played.” said Roberts.
Bourne would gather their first run in the second inning. Clinton Freeman (East Tennessee) lifted a middle in fastball high and deep to center, where it flew over a leaping Hunter Cole (Georgia) and smacked the fence for a double. Potts was able to record a strikeout on an off-speed pitch in the dirt for the second out. But he was unable to completely evade the rally, as Jeff Gardner (Louisville) hit a single off the end of the bat back up the middle to plate Freeman.
The Braves tacked on another run in the fifth. It started with an infield single by Gardner. Then Matt Gonzalez (Georgia Tech) hit a single between short and third. Tim Caputo (University of Rhode Island) loaded the bases with a single into left. That is when Mark Laird (LSU) hit a fly to right field that Bradley Zimmer (University of San Francisco) made a running catch on. His throw to home was cut off, conceding the run, but the Kettleers were able to nab the runner at third to end the inning.
Cotuit’s best opportunity to claw their way back into the game came in the fifth inning. Cole led off with a bloop single to center. Then Danny Diekroeger (Stanford) followed with a drive into left for a single. A wild pitch moved both runners to scoring position with one out. They couldn’t score them though as the next two Kettleers went down by strikeout.
“We need to swing at all three pitches instead of taking strikes,” said Roberts, “We need every pitch near the strike zone to be swung at.”
The Kettleers struck out 14 times against Braves pitching, raising their total to 45 in the past four games. Cotuit struggled mightily to even get runners on, as they only left four runners on base, three of which were left in scoring position.
The first inning Jake Fincher (NC State) managed to get into scoring position but he was thrown out attempting to swipe third. Then in the seventh Zimmer found himself in scoring position. He led off the frame with a single to center. But the next two Kettleers were retired, before Zimmer took second on a passed ball. He was stranded there when the next Kettleer struck out looking.
“My teaching growing up was that if you are going to pull yourself out of an individual, or collective slump, you have to get the bat off your shoulder,” said Roberts, “and not worry about the umpire.”
Cotuit will look for some offense Friday at Lowell Park where they will take on the Eastern Division leading Chatham Anglers. First pitch is 4:30 p.m.