Video recap by Jon Perez
By Jon Mettus
July 16, 2016
BOURNE — When Ross Achter (Toledo) looked in at Justin Yurchak (Binghamton) from the mound, it seemed what happened next was nearly inevitable.
Cotuit held leads in the eighth and ninth innings only to blow them both. It loaded the bases one half inning early, only to come up empty. Now, Yurchak was at the plate with the bases loaded and the score knotted at five runs in the bottom of the 11th inning.
Yurchak blooped a single into center field and Willie Yahn (Connecticut) ripped off his helmet before he even crossed the plate. Achter walked over to catcher Cory Voss with a puzzled look in his face as the Bourne team charged onto the field and celebrated by first base.
Despite coming back to take two one-run leads late in the game, the Kettleers couldn’t figure out a way to win. They lost to the Braves, 6-5, in an 11-inning and nearly four-hour long game.
The loss snapped Cotuit’s four-game winning streak — its longest season. The Kettleers have now played 22 innings and almost seven hours of baseball in the last two days.
“This is a game, obviously, we needed to get under our belt,” Cotuit head coach Mike Roberts said. “We don’t have many games that we can not win and go where we’d like to go.”
The first time Cotuit took the lead in the game, Cal Stevenson (Arizona) slid across the plate, fist pumped and started yelling to his teammates.
It was the eighth inning. Tim Susnara (Oregon) hit a single to center that the fielder muffed, allowing two runs to score. Stevenson’s helmet was pulled halfway off his head as he rounded second and third and eventually crossed the plate.
It looked like Susnara had picked up his second game-winning hit in as many days.
But Eddie Muhl (George Washington) threw one ball before Connor Simmons (Georgia Southern) took over in the bottom of the eight. Connor Wong (Houston) responded with a triple. A wild pitch in the dirt through catcher Jason Delay’s (Vanderbilt) legs tied the game.
“There were several ways in that ballgame where I could have helped the club,” Roberts said. “But I don’t think I did a very good job.”
The next time, it was Quinn Brodey (Stanford) with a dink liner into right field. Clay Fisher (UCSB) scored. The celebration was more subdued. The biggest praise Brodey got was when Susnara tapped him on the helmet when the inning was over.
They knew what might happen next.
After a leadoff walk, Roberts stepped out of the dugout and yelled, “You’ve got to earn it,” to his players, referencing the win that was just three outs away.
But another wild pitch moved the runner to second. A fly out to center moved him 90 feet away from home. Two more walks loaded the bases and a grounder to second that Ryan Hagan (Mercer) bobbled while playing in were just enough to even the score again.
It didn’t matter that Stevenson, the player with the best on base percentage on the team, was the one at the plate when Cotuit loaded the bases in the 11th. That third clutch hit, or a even walk, could not be found.
“That’s a game we could have won,” Brodey said, “should’ve have won.”