By: Nick Solari, Writing Intern, Quinnipiac University
August 4, 2013
COTUIT – Sunday evening at Lowell Park marked the regular season finale of the 2013 Cotuit Kettleers season.
After losing 9-5 in Falmouth the night prior, the Kettleers were locked into the third seed of the Western Division heading into the playoffs. Win, lose, or draw they knew they were headed on the road for Game 1 of the postseason on Tuesday.
Regardless, veteran head coach Mike Roberts knew just how important momentum was this time of year and wanted to play the game the way it was meant to be played: to win.
The Kettleers scored nine runs on 12 hits, blasted a season high four homeruns, and ended the regular season in terrific fashion by trumping the Falmouth Commodores by the final score of 9-3 in a rain-shortened game that ended in the seventh inning.
“I thought our intensity was much better,” Roberts said after the game. “Our focus was a bit better tonight as well. Our guys were all hurt by the loss last night pretty badly, but they did a nice job in bouncing back.”
Due to the outcome of the game, Cotuit and Falmouth will meet in the first round. Falmouth will host the first game of the best-of-three series on Tuesday night.
“Falmouth is certainly an excellent club,” Roberts said. “I thought they played well today, and hopefully we are prepared for the playoffs. We will have to find out come Tuesday.”
Vaughn Hayward (Bryant) got the start on the hill for Cotuit, his first action with the club. Hayward worked the first 4.2 innings, gave up five hits, walked three, struck out two, and did not surrender a run.
The Kettleers got four runs in the first by way of two long balls.
Jake Fincher (NC State), who replaced Bradley Zimmer (San Francisco) in the top of the first due to an injury, hit an infield single to begin things.
The next hitter was first baseman Caleb Bryson (Samford), who was playing in only his third game with the Kettleers. Bryson lifted a 1-0 fastball from Falmouth starter Kevin McCanna (Rice) deep over the fence in left-center to put Cotuit up 2-0.
“I’m just jumping on the fastballs,” Bryson said. “Coach told me last night to just swing, be aggressive, and I would find it in this league. So far I’ve been pretty successful.”
It was Bryson’s third hit in as many games on the Cape, all of which have remarkably been homeruns.
“It’s kind of unusual for anyone to come into the league and do that,” Roberts said, “but we are very appreciative of the effort he’s given us so far. Hopefully he can continue help us into the playoffs, as well.”
The home team wasn’t done in the bottom half of the first, however. Cleanup hitter Hunter Cole (Georgia) singled to left field only two hitters later, putting a runner on for Danny Diekroeger (Stanford).
Diekroeger homered to deep right-center, putting the Kettleers up 4-0. Diekroeger, just like Bryson, also homered in yesterday’s loss in Falmouth.
The Kettleers weren’t finished. After going down quietly in the second, they tacked on three more runs to break the game open in the third.
Cole drew a one-out walk, then Diekroeger singled and both runners advanced on a throwing error to set up Rhett Wiseman (Vanderbilt). Wiseman then peppered a double into left-center, driving in both runs to stretch the lead to 6-0.
Wiseman concludes the regular season with a team-leading 25 RBI’s, and was honored prior to the game as the Kettleers 2013 Offensive MVP.
Cotuit added one more run that inning. Drew Jackson (Stanford) followed Wiseman with a single to put runners on the corners, then Garrett Stubbs (USC) chopped a single over the head of Falmouth first baseman Casey Gillaspie (Wichita St) to make it a 7-0 game.
In the fourth the Kettleers added homers number three and four on the day, both of which were solo shots.
Bryson hit the first to deep left field, his second of the game and fourth in three contests. Mark Payton (Texas) followed Bryson with his first home run of the season, making it the first time all year long the Kettleers have gone back-to-back.
“Everybody just came out ready to go,” Bryson said. “We had 12 hits in seven innings, and we came out and played great. Our pitchers threw well, and we let the bats do the rest.”
Jake Fincher led Cotuit with three hits on the night, going 3-for-4. Bryson and Diekroeger each went 2-for-4, as well.
The Commodores got on the board in the top of the sixth inning when John Hochstatter issued a bases-loaded walk to Cameron O’brien (North East Texas CC). Joeseph Maggi (Arizona) then singled to left to drive in another run, making it 9-2.
Leadoff hitter Leon Byrd Jr. (Rice) then hit into a fielder’s choice, plating the third run of the day for Falmouth.
With the victory Cotuit finishes off the season at 25-18-1. They have an off day before the postseason begins on Tuesday in Falmouth at 7:30PM.