By Jon Mettus
June 25, 2015
HYANNIS — Hyannis’ Jacob Noll (Florida Gulf Coast) crossed the plate and sprinted toward second base, where his teammates were mobbing Ben DeLuzio (Florida State). The players in white jerseys jumped up and down together. A few in maroon looked back as they exited the field.
Errol Robinson (Mississippi) grabbed an orange cooler filled with water from the Harbor Hawks’ dugout and emptied it onto DeLuzio’s head.
The Kettleers had tied the game at one in the seventh inning, but in the bottom of the ninth, DeLuzio hit a walk-off single to win the game. Cotuit (4-11) completed its first error-free game since June 14 at Yarmouth-Dennis, but lost to the Harbor Hawks (9-6), 2-1, at McKeon Field on Thursday, extending its six-game slide.
“It’s better,” head coach Mike Roberts said. “There’s no question it’s better. … Let’s just say we took a baby step.”
For the first six innings, the game was a duel between left-handed pitchers Jon Woodcock (Virginia Tech) and Nick Deeg (Central Michigan).
Deeg, Hyannis’ starter, allowed runners on the corners to start the game, but stranded them and didn’t allow a runner past first until the seventh.
Woodcock, Cotuit’s starter, ran through the bottom of the first inning with just eight pitches, but missed on one in the second inning, allowing JaVon Shelby (Kentucky) to lift it over the Yellow Pages sign hanging on the fence in left field.
“I was throwing a fastball to make sure I didn’t fall to 3-0 on the leadoff guy and I just left it over the middle,” Woodcock said. “He put a good swing on it.”
In the bottom of the sixth, Roberts removed Woodcock from the mound in favor of Justin Dunn (Boston College). Woodcock received an ovation from the crowd as he walked to the dugout.
“They’re switching pitchers because they’re scared,” a young fan yelled from the stands, but Dunn got out of the frame and the Kettleers went on the attack in the next half inning.
Kort Peterson (UCLA) hit a ground ball that rolled inside the bag past a diving first baseman for a single. Peterson stole second then advanced to third on a groundout.
Jack Klein (Stanford) hit a soft line drive to second that landed in the dirt and rolled out to the grass. Shelby slid to grab it, but he never made the throw to first and Peterson scored to tie the game, 1-1.
It was the first earned run Deeg had surrendered in his 22 innings pitched all year.
Dunn pitched through two more innings of increased heckling from two young fans, but a single and a wild pitch had Roberts going to the bullpen in the bottom of the ninth.
Matthew Kinney (Florida State) stepped on the mound and induced a fly out for the first out of the inning. He intentionally walked Shelby to put runners on first and second before Colby Bortles (Mississippi) grounded out to second. Spencer Gaa (Bradley) bobbled the ball before throwing to first, though, and the runners moved to second and third.
With two on and two outs, DeLuzio hit the 1-2 pitch into the gap in left-center field to win the game for Hyannis.
“I like one run games,” Roberts said. “I hope every game’s a one run game. Then you find who can play, who can make good decisions and those type things. Tonight we made a bad decision. … I had the right guy on the mound. He just threw the wrong pitch.
“You can’t throw, with first base open, a fastball in that situation. But it happens and we’ll just keep trying to get better.”
The Kettleers (4-11) will try to end their losing streak when the Wareham Gatemen (7-8) come to Lowell Park at 5 p.m. on Friday.