By Matt Feldman
July 6, 2016
COTUIT – Down 2-1 to the Kettleers with runners on first and second in the bottom of the sixth inning, Hyannis was in a jam. Harbor Hawk manager Chad Gassman decided to call right hander Lucas Gilbreath (Minnesota) from the bullpen to get his team out of it.
It didn’t work.
On a two-ball count, Quinn Brodey (Stanford) turned on Gilbreath’s next pitch, sending a no-doubter into the top of the trees in right field. It was Brodey’s first home run of the season and scored three runs for the Kettleers.
“(Gilbreath) had just come in the game. I figured he would be trying to get fastballs over (the plate),” Brodey said.
Brodey’s home run was the exclamation point on a game which saw the Kettleers post ten hits and top Hyannis, 5-1, Wednesday at Lowell Park. Brodey had five RBIs in the win, accounting for all five Cotuit runs.
Just two nights after seeing his first appearance of the season— a loss at Falmouth— Rio Gomez (Arizona) was given the start Wednesday night for Cotuit. The left hander allowed just one run on one hit, striking out seven.
“He’s got baseball sense, and he knows how to pitch,” Roberts said. “He did a marvelous job for us today. He was just like (Justin) Hooper to me.”
In the top of the fourth inning — in the midst of a perfect game through three — Gomez floated a high changeup to Harbor Hawk slugger Zach Rutherford (Old Dominion). Rutherford smashed it to straight away centerfield, over the head of Cal Stevenson (Arizona) and into the trees just beyond the 397 foot sign.
While fans in centerfield scrambled through the woods to find the ball, Cotuit head coach Mike Roberts slowly walked out to the mound, motioning for a left hander out of the pen for Cotuit. As Gomez began the slow walk back to the dugout, Connor Simmons (Georgia Southern) jogged in from the bullpen.
The home run was the only hit Gomez gave up in his three and two-thirds innings of work, and it was the only run the Harbor Hawks mustered all game.
“I always feel confident no matter the count, lefty, righty, I feel good,” Gomez said. “(The home run) was just a changeup that got hung. Obviously I didn’t want to leave it up, but it just didn’t have any break.”
But down 1-0 to Hyannis in the bottom half of the fourth, the Cotuit offense responded.
After Pat Dorrian (Lynn University) and Clay Fisher (UC Santa Barbara) reached base with two outs, Brodey smashed a single into right field, scoring both base runners. An Albee Weiss (Cal State Northridge) strikeout ended the inning, but not before the Kettleers took the lead, 2-1.
“He has a beautiful swing, and he’s a really strong guy,” Roberts said. “I’m very happy for him, because he was a guy that didn’t drive the ball well at Stanford at all, but he’s beginning to drive the ball really well up here with the wood bat against really good pitching.”
Still leading in the bottom of the sixth, Brodey launched a three-run home run into deep right field. As he rounded third base, Dorrian and Fisher stood waiting at home plate with their helmets raised towards Brodey, smiles on their faces.
Up 5-1 after six innings, the Kettleers had all of the insurance runs they would need. Jared Padgett (Mississippi State) closed out the game for Cotuit, throwing the final three innings and allowing no runs on no hits.
“We were in a lot of close ball games in the beginning,” Brodey said. “(Now) we’re working hard, putting good at bats together, our pitchers are throwing really well. I think it’s all just coming together at the right time.”