Video recap by Jon Perez
By Jon Mettus
July 5, 2016
CHATHAM — A.J. Balta (Oregon) took off from second to third and Cory Voss (Arizona) hit a grounder right at him. Chatham third baseman Sean Bouchard (UCLA) flinched and lifted his glove too early as the ball rolled right under it and Balta slid into the bag. Balta scrambled to his feet and trotted home.
For Bouchard it was one of two errors on the day and for the Anglers it was fourth and final one of the game. Balta had himself a game, going 4-for-5 with two doubles, two runs and three runs batted in. But it was Chatham mistakes and miscues that aided in five of Cotuit’s seven runs.
The Kettleers (6-16) scored in every inning from the fourth through the eighth and topped Chatham (10-12), 7-1, at Veterans Field on Tuesday night for Cotuit’s first road win which came at the official midway point in the season. Coming into the game, the Kettleers were 0-10 away from Lowell Park.
“I thought we did a good job of a couple of mistakes,” head coach Mike Roberts said. “… You’ve watched us do the same thing (as Chatham) in June. The game will always come down to pitching and defense. You got to stay ahead of the hitters and you got to make the basic plays.”
After Balta singled and Tim Susnara (Oregon) doubled in the fourth inning, Pat Dorrian (Lynn) lofted a fly ball deep enough to right field to send Balta across the plate and Susnara to third. Clay Fisher (UCSB) stepped to the plate and grounded to third in what looked like it would be the final out of the inning.
But Bouchard’s tough day was just beginning. He fell to the ground adjusting to the ball’s last hop and rushed his throw to first. It took two or three hops before the bag and continued past the first baseman into the grass next to the Cotuit dugout. Shortstop Scott Fairchild (Wake Forest) was incorrectly given the throwing error on the play.
Bouchard was on the other end of a bouncing throw to help Cotuit with its next two runs. When Cal Stevenson (Arizona) hit a two-out liner into right field for a single, Alonzo Jones Jr. (Vanderbilt) tried to make it all the way from first to third on the play. Though throw from the outfield beat him to the bag, Bouchard couldn’t pick it out of the dirt. Balta followed up with a standup double to score two.
“We did a pretty good job of capitalizing on their mistakes and I think we played a pretty clean game,” said Balta, who only had five hits in 30 at-bats coming into the game.
In the sixth, Fisher hit another grounder to the left side of the infield that should’ve been an out. Fairchild fielded it this time, but bobbled it and fell to the ground as he made the throw. He watched from his stomach on the infield grass as Fisher beat it out. Quinn Brodey (Stanford) put runners on the corners with a single.
Anglers pitcher Michael Fitzgerald (Northeastern) quickly lost control and walked Devon Gradford (UCSB) and Greyson Jenista (Wichita State) on five pitches each to load the bases and let in a run. Neither batter had to swing at a pitch.
“You win on the road when you become a good club,” Roberts said.
What good clubs do is take advantage of their opponents’ mistakes. The Kettleers did plenty of that in Chatham.