By Dylan Wolter
August 2, 2015
Not often does a team lose a game on the same night as clinching a playoff spot. The Cotuit Kettleers (17-27) had everything on the line Sunday night with a simple goal. Win and they’re in, lose and potentially go home. Even in a loss, the Ketleers were able to secure a playoff spot due to a Falmouth loss in extra innings.
The game itself was not a particularly nice way to put an end to the regular season. Cotuit jumped out to an early one nothing lead in the second inning on a Tim Susnara (Oregon) homerun. Susnara has been on a tear of late, recording six RBI’s in his last two games.
Jonathan King (Georgia Tech) took the hill for the Kettleers on Sunday night. King missed his last start and has been eager to get back out there. The rust was there for King, as he didn’t seem to have his best stuff. In the third inning with runners on first and second base, Connor Beck (TCU) hit a ground ball that hit the third base bag and into the outfield. One run would score and the game was tied until the fourth inning.
After a leadoff double and a bunt to get him to third, the Gateman were set to take the lead. Connor Beck struck again with a broken bat RBI single into right field to take a 2-1 advantage. King used his competiveness to battle and fight through the tough innings.
With King still in the ballgame by the sixth inning, Wareham took advantage of the tiring starter. With a man on second and no one out, King walked the next two hitters. The next hitter tapped an infield single that Spencer Gaa (Bradley) was unable to make a play on. With the score now 3-1 and the bases still loaded, a sac fly to right would increase the score to 4-1. After another walk to load the bases again, Head coach Mike Roberts came out to take King out of the ballgame. Although the stats indicate a poor start, Roberts was pleased with what he saw from the left hander.
“I just thought he did a really good job,” remarked Roberts, gleeful of his team in the playoffs, “Jon has really improved this summer.”
With Nick Lewis (Baylor) now in the ball game, a wild pitch made the score 5-1 on the first batter. The hitter, Kramer Robertson (LSU), roped a triple into left center field that rolled all the way to the wall. Two more runs scored and Wareham blew the score wide open, making it 7-1.
Branden Berry (Cal St. Northridge) made things a little more interesting in the top of the seventh with two runners on base. Berry got a pitch he could drive, up in the zone. He launched the ball into the first set of bleachers in the left field stands. He claims he knew it was gone off the bat and was happy to have gotten his team back in the ball game.
The final score would end 7-4 in favor of the Gateman, but with the loss came a huge win in the form a playoff berth. The team all huddled together; players, coaches, interns, and bat boys watched on a tiny iphone screen held by Jack Klein (Stanford), cheering desperately for a Falmouth loss. The loss came to fruition, and Kettleers fans and players celebrated their spot in the playoffs.
It was a rollercoaster ride of a night, full of mixed emotions and hope hung by a thread. The loss was sour, certainly, since a win would have secured a spot with no reason to worry about the Falmouth score. The pain of defeat was short lived; however, until moments after the final pitch, the Falmouth Commodores lost the ball game.
Branden Berry claimed that he has never experienced such a back and forth night, admitting, “We were paying attention to the scores throughout the game. I can definitely tell you I’ve never learned that we went to the playoffs via a loss. It was interesting.” Coach Roberts is certainly looking forward for his team to do some damage in the postseason.
“We are excited to have the opportunity to play in the playoffs,” said Roberts who was finally able to breath a sigh of relief, “It’s always fun to be a part of that.” Roberts was still disappointed in his team’s effort on Sunday night pointing to the sixth inning. In the Inning Josh Rojas (Hawaii) failed to get a bunt down with a man on second and then Will Haynie (Alabama) was picked off at second base to end the inning.
“I’m just the type of coach who gets disappointed from the cleanliness of the game,” said Roberts after the bitter sweet night unfolded, “We’re happy to be in but I’m still striving to play nice and clean because we have the pitching to do well.”
Cotuit will face a similar foe in the first round, a team they have had little success against in the Hyannis Harbor Hawks. Hyannis swept the Kettleers in six games this year in dominating fasion. Cotuit knows they will have their work cut out for them but as Branden Berry put it, “Anything can happen. With everyone on the same page and with the same mindset, we’ll be good to go.”
The Kettleers will travel to Hyannis tomorrow for the first game of the playoffs at 6:00 pm.