By Jon Mettus
June 16, 2016
FALMOUTH — The Kettleers couldn’t pull off back-to-back wins and lost to the Falmouth Commodores, 3-2, at Guv Fuller Field on Sunday. Cotuit has lost four out of the five of one-run games it has played this season.
Alec Byrd makes debut
Left-handed pitcher Alec Byrd (Florida State) was activated on Sunday and entered in relief with runners on the corners and two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning.
He got out of the jam with one pitch and lasted the rest of the game, striking out four batters and walking just one in 2 1/3 innings of hitless and scoreless baseball. Byrd struck out the last four batters he faced — two looking and two swinging.
“When you get a Florida State pitcher, I guarantee you they will be poised, they will know the situation and they will know how to pitch,” Roberts said. “I’ve never had one that didn’t, so it didn’t surprise me at all.”
Roberts originally didn’t want Byrd to come in until later in the game, but needed him to get the Kettleers out of the sixth inning.
“I had everything working,” Byrd said. “I was hitting with breaking balls, fastball command was pretty good, so it felt good to be back here.”
Byrd played in nine games (one start) for the Hyannis Harbor Hawks in 2014. He gave up 17 hits and 11 runs in 14 2/3 innings, while also walking nine batters and striking out 11.
Cal Stevenson returns
Cal Stevenson (Arizona) had missed the last two games because of an illness, but made his way back into the lineup for the latter part of Sunday’s game.
Stevenson was slotted to start, but the outfielder said he still didn’t feel well prior to the game. He thought he felt well enough to play late in the game though, Roberts said.
Roberts plugged A.J. Balta (Oregon) into the leadoff spot solely for when Stevenson would eventually replace him.
Once in the field, Stevenson didn’t appear to be hindered. He was doubled up when he tried to steal on a pitch that was hit for a fly out to right. He also made a running play for a foul ball when he was in left field that he ultimately could not get to.
“He said he felt better after the game after playing,” Roberts said.
Small ball scores two
The Kettleers effectively used sacrifice hits and bunts to lead to two runs against the Commodores.
In the fourth, Balta reached on an infield single and moved to second on a throwing error. Greyson Jenista (Wichita State) hit a grounder to the right side of the infield to move him to third. The next batter, Quinn Brodey (Stanford), dropped down a bunt. Balta reached home just ahead of the flip to the plate for Cotuit’s first run.
In the eighth, Jack Klein (Stanford) and Tim Susnara (Oregon) both walked to open the inning. Josh Shaw (St. John’s) bunted to the pitcher for the out, but was able to move Klein and Susnara to third and second, respectively. Stevenson chopped a ground out down the first base line that scored Klein.
“We got to get it done one way or another,” catcher Albee Weiss (Cal State Northridge) said. “We’re not swinging the bats the way we want to. … We’re going to do everything we can to win so small ball is going to come into play, absolutely.”