By Jon Mettus
June 7, 2015
BOURNE — The Kettleers players were standing at the edge of the dugout up against the fence. Most of the pitchers were doing the same beyond the right field fence, except Justin Dunn (Boston College), who was warming up to close out the bottom of the ninth.
With a runner on second, two outs and the game tied in the top of the inning, Matt Albanese, the leadoff hitter, stepped in for his final at-bat. A line drive hopped off the bat and into right field. Spencer Gaa (Bradley) rounded third and for a brief moment the crowd was quiet.
The throw home skied over the catcher’s head and into the netting behind the plate. The Cotuit players and fans threw their hands in the air and cheered. The Bourne crowd was silent.
“It’s something I’m kind of comfortable with, kind of not,” Albanese said of batting leadoff, “but it worked out today.”
After falling behind 3-0 in the first three innings, the Kettleers (8-15) came back to beat the Bourne Braves (10-11-2), 4-3, at Doran Park on Monday. Cotuit was able to score two runs in the top of the ninth inning to snatch the victory from the Braves and is now tied with Falmouth for fourth place in the West Division.
“When you talk about a team effort, yeah, I thought tonight was a real team effort,” Roberts said.
Through the first three innings, the Braves had seven hits and scored a run in each of the innings. But after Matthew Milburn (Wofford) settled down on the mound for the fourth inning for Cotuit, Jack Anderson (Penn State) entered in relief and completely shut Bourne down.
He pitched 3 1/3 innings of scoreless one-hit ball to earn the win.
“The key was Jack Anderson keeping us in the ball game,” Roberts said. “He did a marvelous job in the middle.”
The Kettleers started slowly at the plate, managing just two hits in the first four innings, but when the Braves removed starting pitcher Keegan Akin (Western Michigan) in the fifth, Cotuit took advantage.
Brett Stephens (UCLA) knocked in a run on a fielder’s choice and in the seventh, Branden Berry (Cal State Northridge) hit a first-pitch leadoff blast over the left field fence to bring the Kettleers within one.
“I was looking to be aggressive early in the at-bat,” Berry said. “He threw me a 0-0 hanging curveball and I saw it really well out of his hand.”
The ball carried over the banners hanging on the fence. Bourne left fielder Reid Humphreys (Mississippi State) flipped over the fence and into the bullpen trying to rob it.
“I’m glad the wind was blowing just enough to take it over,” Roberts said.
Cotuit entered the top of the ninth trailing, 3-2, but Kort Peterson (UCLA) smacked a ball into right field. “Get out of here, get out of here,” someone yelled from the crowd, but it landed in the warning track for a leadoff triple.
Two batters and a new pitcher later, Spencer Gaa (Bradley) made the most of his pinch-hitting opportunity and lined a single into right field to tie the game. Kettleers athletic trainer Craig Moody tossed a cup of water in the air in celebration.
After a Will Haynie (Alabama) ground out moved Gaa to second, Albanese’s single scored him for the game-winning run.
Dunn surrendered just one hit in the ninth to complete the save.
“It was awesome,” Berry said of the comeback. “There was an energy that it’s been awhile since I felt on this team … It was a great feeling and I’m excited to get back after that.”
Cotuit (8-15) will host the Wareham Gatemen (11-11-1) on Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Lowell Park.