By: Sean Bailey, Writing Intern, Providence College
August 11, 2013
BOURNE – Every dog has its day. Through a grueling 44 game regular season, and a post season, it is easy to see how this saying applies to a baseball team. The Cotuit Kettleers have had great games, and terrific moments. The last three playoff games had been apart of a stretch of great games. However, this dog had a bad day Sunday. The Cotuit Kettleers had a forgettable game and a bad day against the Bourne Braves, as they fell 8-1 at Doran Park.
The Kettleers went into the game looking to eliminate the Braves and clinch a spot in the coveted Cape Cod League Championship series. Instead, they are sent back to Lowell Park, staring down a pivotal game three against the team that eliminated the Kettleers the previous post season.
“It is up to the players,” said Manager Mike Roberts. “It is their team. We will do a couple things different in the morning, try to relax a little bit.”
And a major reason why Cotuit has not secured a date in the Championship series against Orleans is due to their defense. In their two playoff losses the Kettleers have made six errors. In their playoff wins they have one error.
“I always like looking at the scoreboard at the end of the game” said Roberts. “When you look at the scoreboard, it was six hits each. We had three errors and you ask how do they score eight runs on six hits? Again, it goes back to defense.”
The Kettleers missed some great opportunities to score early on. In the first Bradley Zimmer (University of San Francisco) drove a ball that took a big bounce over the right field fence for a one out ground rule double. He never left second as Cotuit hit a shallow fly out to center then struck out.
Logan Ratledge (NC State) led off the third with a walk and advanced to second when Danny Diekroeger (Stanford) hit a soft grounder up the middle that he was able to leg out for a single. But, a grounder to third forced out Ratledge at third, then a ground out to third ended the inning.
The Kettleers also threatened in the fourth with a two out single to center by Jake Fincher (NC State). Fincher stole second and Austin Byler (Nevada) drew a walk. A double steal moved them both into scoring position. But they were left there when a strikeout in the dirt ended the inning.
“I thought their starting pitcher did an excellent job. He kept us off balance,” said Roberts, “We did a lot of fishing on balls out of the strike zone low.”
Meanwhile Tommy Kister (The Masters College) was cruising through his first three innings, not allowing a hit and striking out two. But the Braves were able to rough him up in the fourth. A one out walk started the rally. Then Cotuit nearly turned the inning ending double play, as Kister fielded the ball from the mound, fired to second for the out but the turn was not quick enough. The next Brave hit a shallow fly into center that fell just under Zimmer’s glove on a sliding attempt. A second single to center scored the games first run. Then Trent Gilbert (Arizona) drove a ball into the right center gap to score two more runs, swelling the Braves lead to 3-0.
“I thought Tommy did an excellent job the first three innings. We dropped the ball in center,” said Roberts. “Then they score three runs. It was a good game up until that point.”
The Braves bashed more runs in the fifth. Shane O’Connell (URI) hit a grounder up the middle for a single. A high chopper moved O’Connell to second. Then a hard hit grounder ate up the Kettleer first basemen, moving the runners to the corners with one out. Mason Robbins (Southern Miss) stroked a sacrifice fly to right field to plate O’Connell. Then Clinton Freeman (East Tennessee) laced a ball down the right field line for a triple, scoring the fifth Braves run.
Cotuit slightly chipped away in the sixth. Caleb Bryson (Samford) was hit by a pitch with one out. Fincher dropped a bunt back to the mound which moved Byrson to second. Byler then drove a single into center for Cotuit’s first run. Ratledge was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second. But Cotuit couldn’t score them, as the left fielder ran down a shot into the gap.
But the Braves held the Kettleers at bay. And in the bottom of the sixth the Braves orchestrated a three run inning, in which they did not record a single hit. The Kettleers walked five Braves, and recorded an error which lead to the scoring spree. The inning proved killer to Cotuit, as the seven run cushion proved insurmountable.
“Hopefully it will be a beautiful day at four at Lowell Park,” said Roberts. “They played really well against Falmouth in the third game. I think they will have that kind of focus. I told them after the game that anyone can play a regular season game, but the fun of sports is when you get into playoff situations, where you find out who does the little things well.”
The Kettleers season is on the line when they take Lowell Park Monday at 4 p.m.