Video highlights by Jon Perez and Halley Harris
By Matt Feldman
July 15, 2016
HARWICH – Two-and-a-half hours of baseball had already been played between Cotuit and Harwich Friday, but as Tim Susnara (Oregon) walked to the plate in the 11th inning, the scoreboard in right field at Whitehouse Field was blank.
After ten straight scoreless innings of baseball from both sides, the board had been reset for the 11th inning. The zeros from every inning had been deleted, and the scoreboard operator started over from the first inning.
And with Quinn Brodey on third base and two outs in the inning, Susnara had a chance to finally put a run on the ominously bare scoreboard .
Susnara drilled a 1-1 pitch from Mariner hurler Zach Schellenger (Seton Hall) right back up the middle. Schellenger ducked as the ball whizzed past his face and into centerfield. As Brodey jogged in from third base, Schellenger knelt in front of the pitcher’s mound, watching as the scoreboard in right finally lit up with a run.
Susnara’s timely hit was the spark for Cotuit Friday night, starting an 11th inning rally which saw the Kettleers (11-17-1) score two late runs and top the Harwich Mariners (17-10-2), 2-0, at Whitehouse Field in Harwich.
It was strong pitching that kept Cotuit in the game Friday, with a trio of Kettleers’ arms blanking Harwich in the 11-inning thriller. Colton Hock (Stanford), Cotuit’s starter Friday, helped the Kettleers escape out of multiple jams early.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, with the bases loaded and two outs, Hock caught Nick Delesandro (Purdue) looking with a breaking ball to escape the inning. Hock pounded his glove twice and screamed, “let’s go,” as he walked off the field, nodding to Roberts as he neared the dugout.
“Every once in a while I think (celebrating like that) is warranted,” Roberts said. “When (Hock) does that, he’s not doing it for any reason other than he’s pleased he’s successful.”
But parallel to the pitching, it was failures to capitalize on multiple offensive opportunities through the first nine innings that forced the Kettleers to have to enter extra innings to begin with.
“Pitching was phenomenal today, Hock, Lehman, (Rigby), everyone threw lights out and that’s how they have been,” Susnara said. “We just have to pick the bats up a little earlier so we don’t have to use as many of those arms.”
It wasn’t until the 11th inning that Cotuit was finally able to generate enough offense to score runs.
After Brodey singled into left field to lead off the 11th, Susnara laced a two-out double later in the inning up the middle, scoring Brodey. After Brodey ran through the plate, he high-fived a celebrating Cal Stevenson (Arizona) and chest-bumped his Stanford teammate Hock.
“(Schellenger) was just throwing fastballs, that’s what I was sitting on,” Susnara said. “And it happened to work out for me.”
In the next at bat, Jason Delay (Vanderbilt) doubled into left field, advancing Susnara to third. A Pat Dorrian (Lynn University) single would score Susnara and bring the tally to 2-0 Cotuit, before a Ryan Hagan (Mercer) groundout ended the inning.
Minutes later, in front of a deathly-silent crowd as the clock ticked past the third-hour, Cotuit closer Ryan Rigby (Mississippi State) induced a game-ending groundout right back at him. After Rigby made the flip to Jenista at first base, Hagan and Clay Fisher (UC Santa Barbara) shoulder-bumped in the middle infield, celebrating the Kettleers’ fourth straight win.
“That’s as good a baseball game as you’re going to see in the Cape League,” Roberts said. “I am so pleased for these guys that have worked so hard. Throwing strikes, playing defense, getting some clutch hits, that’s what a team does.”