By Matt Schneidman
June 18, 2014
Brendan Hendriks (San Francisco) stood at the plate in the eighth inning with the bases loaded and no outs, Cotuit trailing 5-3.
A four-run first inning from Bourne put the Kettleers in a hole from the get-go, but this was their chance to finally break through after gradually crawling back throughout the game.
But Hendriks softly lined the ball to second baseman Billy Fleming (West Virginia), who tagged second to double off Jameson Fisher (Southeastern Louisiana) after catching the ball inches from the bag. Cotuit’s biggest chance of the night fell through, along with its chances of taking a lead, as the Kettleers (4-3) fell 5-4 to Bourne (5-2) at Doran Park on Wednesday night.
“Even though the second baseman landed on the base, that play easily, we should execute in a positive manner,” head coach Mike Roberts said. “When the ball is in the air in the infield, which way do you go?
“Back to the base.”
Cotuit took a 1-0 lead three pitches into the game but quickly fell behind, 4-1. Bourne starter Ryan Kellogg struck out seven over his six innings of work, but the Kettleers were able to chip away, scoring one run in the third and one in the sixth.
Roberts has repeatedly stressed the importance of coming through in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings, and heading into that chunk, Cotuit found itself trailing 5-3.
Up until Wednesday, the Kettleers had scored 16 of their 21 runs on the year in the fourth inning or earlier, but it would need late-game scoring to pull out yet another close game.
After failing to get on the board in the seventh, Cotuit loaded the bases with no outs in the eighth.
But as Fisher headed back to the dugout after being doubled up, it seemed as if the life had been drained from a suddenly resurgent away crowd as the biggest chance slipped away, even with runners still on the corners.
“It’s just a weird play,” Fisher said. “The kid made a heck of a play. Maybe should’ve got back sooner than that. I don’t know, it’s just one of those weird plays.”
The Kettleers were able to manage one run in the inning after a Logan Taylor (Texas A&M) RBI grounder in which shortstop Richie Martin Jr. (Florida) was unable to get the force out at second.
After A.J. Minter (Texas A&M) shut down the Braves in the bottom of the eighth, Jeremy Taylor (East Tennessee State) led off the ninth with a walk and was moved over by a Drew Jackson (Stanford) bunt.
Taylor moved to third on a Kyle Holder (San Diego) sacrifice fly, but he would only go that far as Caleb Whalen (Portland) grounded out to end the game.
For Cotuit, Wednesday night was its fifth one-run game of the season so far, and the third one its come up short in.
“The thing about (one-run games) is it keeps us in the game,” Whalen said. “We’re not really lulling to sleep, so we’ve got to stay in it and try to come back or win every time.”
Although Cotuit yet again fought until the very last pitch, the missed opportunities in the eighth and ninth inning prevented the visitors from extending their winning streak to five games.
“We tried to scramble back,” Fisher said. “We got some good hits, put some guys in position but we just didn’t come out on top.”