By Matt Schneidman
July 6, 2014
On Thursday, Jeff Kinley (Michigan State) angrily bit his glove as he trotted off the mound in the ninth after giving up the game-tying run with two outs against Falmouth, a game that Cotuit eventually lost in extra innings.
On Sunday, with the game tied at five heading to the ninth, head coach Mike Roberts went to the lefty again.
This time, Kinley threw two scoreless innings despite allowing two runners to reach base in each. Although the Kettleers (9-12-1) tied Harwich (13-8-1) by a score of 5-5 at Lowell Park on Sunday night, Kinley’s timely pitching prevented the hosts from suffering their fourth-straight loss.
“I felt really good,” Kinley said. “I was commanding my offspeed a lot and the changeup, so that helps a lot. I was kind of pitching behind hitters, starting them off with a changeup a lot so that helped.”
In the ninth, Kinley induced a fly ball to start the inning but surrendered singles to the next two batters.
With one out, runners were on first and second with the big bat of Sal Annunziata (Seton Hall) coming to the plate. It was looking as if an all-too-familiar scenario where Cotuit would fall in the last inning was coming back to haunt it from three nights ago.
But Kinley did what he does best and got Annunziata to ground into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.
“I thought he did really well,” Roberts said. “He got ground balls. He’s not a strikeout pitcher. He’s got to get ground balls and that’s what he got.”
Kinley got himself into a similar debacle in the 10th after allowing runners to reach first and second after retiring the first two batters of the inning.
This time, the ground-ball pitcher got a much-needed strikeout to prevent the visitors from scoring in what would end up being their last at-bats as darkness ended the game after Cotuit was unable to score in the bottom half.
“I’d say every once in a while I get a strikeout, which is nice,” Kinley said. “But mostly groundballs, flyouts here and there and double plays are really good to have.”
And although Kinley was unable to continue his momentum into a third inning as the umpires called the game amidst his 11th-inning warmup, it was still a strong bounceback performance for the team’s go-to closer.