By Matt Schneidman
August 7, 2014
BOURNE — After Cotuit’s regular season finale against Falmouth, head coach Mike Roberts emphasized the importance of getting early leads in playoff games.
That’s exactly what the Kettleers did after a Kyle Lewis (Mercer) RBI sac fly in the first, but it was an issue that at times plagued Cotuit during the regular season that came back to haunt them on Thursday.
The bats pounded out 12 hits, with four players recording multi-hit games, but there were only three runs on the board to show for it. Cotuit stranded 12 runners on the day en route to a 5-3 loss against Bourne in Game 1 of the Western Division semifinals at Doran Park.
“You’ve got to execute when people are out there,” Roberts said. “We struggled doing that the entire year.”
The visitors’ early one-run lead didn’t last long as starter Vince Fiori (South Carolina) was tagged with three runs in the second, capped off by a Richie Martin two-RBI triple to dead center.
The Kettleers had a chance to break into the deficit in the third but stranded runners on second and third as Tres Barrera (Texas) flew out to center to end the threat.
After Bourne starter Travis Bergen threw a scoreless second and third, the Kettleers tied the game in the fourth after back-to-back RBI hits from Logan Taylor (Texas A&M) and Jackson Glines (Michigan).
In the fifth, with a chance to reclaim the lead, the visitors put two on with two outs but were unable to bring them around once again.
“When there’s guys on, you’ve got to get them in,” Glines said. “Get them over, get them in, so it’s definitely frustrating but we hit the ball well.”
In the bottom half, the Braves’ bats made the Kettleers pay.
As Cotuit pitching has struggled with at times this year, a strong offensive inning in the fourth was followed shortly thereafter by a letdown on the other end.
Fiori struck out Martin looking to begin the sixth, but then allowed three-consecutive singles to load the bases. Blake Allemand stepped up to the plate and single in the go-ahead run, which would also turn out to be all the Braves needed to pull out the win.
The Cotuit bats went silent for the final five innings, and although a baserunner got on in four of the last five, they were left stranded, which turned out to be the theme that brought about the demise of the visitors in Game 1.
“We hit a few balls relatively hard, a couple balls that were sacrifice flies that went up, but we seem to hit the baseball hard without people in scoring position,” Roberts said. “We struggle hitting the ball in the grass with people in scoring position.
“It’s kind of been a season-long scenario.”
With Bourne holding a 1-0 series lead, Cotuit will turn to converted starter Jeff Kinley (Michigan State) in a win-or-go-home scenario at Lowell Park on Friday.
Kinley has only allowed one run in 11 innings during his two starts and Roberts will look for the same if his team is to keep its hopes of a repeat championship alive.