By Matt Schneidman
August 5, 2014
FALMOUTH — It was certainly a scenario head coach Mike Roberts didn’t find ideal.
In a game that had no meaning, Cotuit and Falmouth were deadlocked at seven after nine innings and Roberts turned to third baseman Drew Jackson (Stanford) on the hill to rest his bullpen for the upcoming playoffs.
With a two-run lead going to the bottom of the tenth, Jackson walked the first three batters and allowed three runs as Falmouth (26-17-1) rode a Boomer White walk-off single to a 10-9 victory over Cotuit (18-25-1) at Arnie Allen Diamond in the last game of the regular season.
In a back-and-forth game that saw Cotuit squander three different leads, the offense was certainly present, but Roberts was still frustrated with the need to play the game – a makeup from Sunday – that put his team through 10 innings with nothing on the line.
“It’s part of it. It’s 44 games,” Roberts said. “You play what they tell you to play and you go.”
The Kettleers jumped out to an early lead after a Jackson RBI single to left that brought in Brendan Hendriks. Starter Sean Beckman (USC) threw two shutout innings before running into trouble in the third, as Falmouth was able to tack on two runs to take the lead.
In his second-straight appearance, newcomer Andrew Schwaab (Missouri) surrendered a two-run home run to Connor Costello that stretched the Falmouth lead to 4-1.
With playoff seedings already determined, one may have thought Cotuit would play conservative for the remainder of the game, but the next frame proved otherwise.
Seven of the first eight batters in the top of the fifth recorded hits, as the Kettleers batted 11 in the inning to the tune of five runs to take a 6-4 lead.
Although the output at the plate was a positive note to close the season on, Roberts takes it with a grain of salt heading into the games that matter starting tomorrow.
“It’s a long game and everybody is throwing the pitching they have left is not going to pitch tomorrow, so I can’t say one way or the other on that,” Roberts said regarding if the nine runs could be a foreshadowing for his offense.
After a Jake Fincher (North Carolina State) RBI groundout, Cotuit had a three-run lead, but that soon disappeared after a questionable call from home plate umpire Steve Williams.
In the seventh, Reagan Bazar (Louisiana-Lafayette) was called for two-straight balks, one even from his windup, which brought Roberts out for several minutes as he argued persistently with Williams.
The second balk scored a run for the Commodores and they went on to put up two more as the balks kept the inning alive, tying the game at seven.
Both teams were held scoreless in the eighth and ninth and after Cotuit scored twice from a Falmouth error and Jackson Glines (Michigan) RBI sac fly, the game seemed to be decided.
But Jackson struggled in the 10th and was charged with the loss in his first pitching appearance of the season.
“You can’t hurt your playoff situation,” Roberts said of choosing to rest his bullpen. “You just can’t do it. Did the best we could.”
Heading into game 1 of the playoffs against Bourne tomorrow, Roberts doesn’t know if his offense will repeat its production from Tuesday night.
It certainly would be a bonus if it could get Vince Fiori (South Carolina) an early lead, but tomorrow starts a clean slate for the Kettleers.
Said Roberts: “When you go into a playoff game, your goal is you get up early, so hopefully we’ll come out swinging the bat.”
UP NEXT: Fourth-seeded Cotuit travels to Doran Park on Wednesday to face top-seeded Bourne in the first round of the playoffs at 6 p.m.