By Sam Blum
July 6, 2014
COTUIT – Mike Roberts shrugged as an exasperated expression came over his face. It wasn’t a fourth straight loss for Cotuit, but it wasn’t the elusive win he’d hoped for either.
Instead, after 10 back-and-fourth, intense innings, the score was still 5-5. And the lightless Lowell Park was too dark to continue.
“You just kissed your sister,” Roberts said of the result. “It’s like you didn’t play.”
Cotuit and Harwich traded the lead three times before two eighth inning runs for the Mariners tied the game at five. And despite numerous late-inning opportunities for both sides, the score remained the same.
The moment following Logan Taylor’s (Texas A&M) ground out to the pitcher to end the 10th, the umpires and coaches huddled between home plate and first base for a moment. Then the home plate umpire walked toward the press box, waved his arms and said, “That’s it.”
“I’ve actually never been in one of those before,” said Ian Rice, who collected four hits. “I don’t really know what to do after the game. Don’t know if I should shake hands with the other team or what.”
The Mariners had runners at second and third in the eighth inning with one out. A single by Brendon Sanger, scored one, but Sal Annunziata stayed at third with one out.
With the score 5-4, Matt Winn grounded out to third and was just ahead of a double play chance that would have ended the inning. That left runners at the corners with two outs and Adam Whitt (Nevada) pitching.
Skye Bolt popped a harmless fly to shortstop. It was exactly what the Kettleers needed to get through the eighth inning and set up a save situation for closer Jeff Kinley (Michigan State).
But the ball popped in and out of shortstop Drew Jackson’s (Stanford) glove. As he tried to recover from his mishap, he fell on the ground as Lowell Park fell silent.
The score was 5-5.
“I’ve taken so many pop-ups in practice and whatnot,” Jackson said. “I didn’t read it well off the bat, I thought it was more to me. I kind of crashed in and it got off the heel of my glove.
“If I caught that popup, we would have won.”
The very next ball was a grounder to Jackson, who said he fielded it nervously. But he calmly tossed to second to send the game to the bottom of the inning
“That’s what baseball does,” said Jackson, who turned four double plays, “it will find you when you struggle.”
Early in the game, the Kettleers were playing the same brand of baseball that has cost them their last three games. A hit by pitch and wild pitch brought in two second-inning runs that turned a 1-0 Cotuit lead into a 3-1 deficit.
But Rice singled to score a run in the second. And wild pitch and Taylor single in the third gave the lead right back to Cotuit.
Trey Wingenter (Auburn) left after pitching 4 1/3 innings and allowing three runs. Ashton Perritt (Liberty) pitched two scoreless innings. And then Whitt came in for the seventh, and was taken out after the game tying eighth inning.
“I’d like to be nice to the guys, and just be Mr. Positive,” Roberts said, “but pitching needs to be better. Everybody can score runs in this league, that’s not a problem. We’ve got to go out and play defense.”
In the bottom of the ninth, Cotuit had a chance to get another run. With runners at first and second and one out, Grant Kay laced his fourth hit of the game into left field.
Colin Shaw (Texas) who was pinch-running, was a dead duck at home plate. But Roberts still sent him. He was thrown out well ahead of the tag.
“It’s not a gamble,” Roberts said, “You send him. You don’t wait on another base hit.”
Cotuit never had the opportunity to get another hit.
And when the game ended, despite all of the action, it was as if it had never been played.
Up next: Cotuit hosts Falmouth in a makeup game at Lowell Park tomorrow at 5 p.m.