By Matt Schneidman
July 7, 2014
COTUIT — Grant Kay (Louisville) walked up to the plate in the bottom of the seventh as darkness crept over the trees at lightless Lowell Park.
There were two outs, nobody on base, and the game was tied at eight. It looked as if Cotuit would have to “kiss its sister” for the second-straight night.
Kay smiled and told Falmouth catcher, Cameron O’Brien (West Virginia) that he’d have to hit a home run to prevent the game from ending in a deadlock.
He then took a 2-2, inside pitch over the left-field fence and home-plate umpire Tony Letizio signaled for a walk off to give the Kettleers (10-12-1) a dramatic 9-8 win over the Commodores (12-10-1) in seven innings on Monday night. In a back-and-forth game where Cotuit’s pitching faltered, it was the bats, and Kay specifically, that rescued the hosts.
“I wasn’t really sure if I got it or not,” Kay said of his home run. “I think the wind helped me out a little bit.”
In his second at-bat, Kay turned on the ball and sent it to the same spot as the walk off, but it hit the very top of the metal fence in left for a double. On the day, he went 4-for-4 and is now hitting .538 in six games with Cotuit, including eight hits in his last nine plate appearances.
“I’m going up there and just trying to hit the ball hard,” Kay said. “Early in the game, I tried taking some pitches just to get back in the rhythm of having a good day yesterday.”
The Kettleers jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first on a John Norwood (Vanderbilt) RBI single, and increased that lead to 6-1 after a five-run second inning in which Falmouth committed three errors.
After Falmouth was able to cut into the lead by scoring two runs in the third, Tres Barrera (Texas) led off the bottom half by launching the ball off the scoreboard in left-center to give Cotuit a 7-3 lead.
Barrera went 0-for-4 in his Cotuit debut two nights ago, but a 2-for-3, 2 RBI performance on Monday showed that he is getting into a groove at the plate after just arriving three days ago.
“The only time I really get in trouble is when I stark thinking,” Barrera said of his approach at the plate. “Last game I got off the plane and came straight here, so of course a little lag.”
But then, as it’s done more often than desired, the pitching staff was unable to produce as efficiently as the bats.
The Commodores scored three in the fourth to narrow the deficit to one.
After Kay led off the bottom of the fourth with the double off the top of the fence, he eventually came around to score when Barrera drew a walk with the bases loaded to give the hosts an 8-6 lead.
But Falmouth scored a run in each the fifth and sixth to tie the game.
Kay’s seventh-inning walk off not only gave the Kettleers their first win in five games, but it also bailed out the pitching that put them in danger of tying a second-consecutive game.
“It was good as a team to get through that tie because yesterday was kind of brutal,” Norwood said. “You just continue to play and continue to put up runs and stop them from scoring.”
And while Cotuit wasn’t necessarily able to stop Falmouth from scoring, the scorching hot bats of the Kettleers picked them up.
Kay, Norwood and Barrera combined for eight of the Kettleers’ 12 hits, and gave Cotuit just enough firepower at the plate to squeeze out a win.
“Our offense right now is really clicking,” Kay said. “We’ve got a dangerous offense so I think we’ll ride that out.”
UP NEXT: Cotuit hosts Bourne (15-8) at 5 p.m. at Lowell Park on Tuesday.