By: Matt McHugh
June 28, 2017
The Cotuit Kettleers (7-6) bounced back from last Sunday’s doubleheader with a 3-0 road win over the Harwich Mariners (5-8). The win evens up the season series between the two teams at one game apiece, with Harwich winning the first game in Cotuit 6-3.
After Dylan King (Belmont) was scratched late Monday night, left-hander Zane Collins (Wright State) was tabbed as Tuesday’s starter and was sharp in his 4.1 innings, allowing three hits and striking out four. Previously this year, Collins had one shaky start at Y-D on June 22, but earned the win in both games of the Brewster doubleheader on June 18 – when he was working out of the bullpen.
“Zane’s a veteran college starting pitcher,” coach Mike Roberts said. “He showed his experience on the mound by getting us off to a great start.”
Collins departed with two on and one out in the fifth inning, giving way to submariner David Inman (Florida Southwestern), who generated a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning unscathed.
“Our coaching staff does a great job with regards to taking a look at what they did against us in the first game,” Roberts said. “We had a plan to go with the left-hander then a righty. With men on base, having Inman to get a ground ball really worked out well.”
On offense, the Kettleers had no trouble getting baserunners, but stranded six runners through the first four innings without picking up a run. But in the 5th, they had an excellent opportunity with runners on the corners and one out for third baseman John Cresto (Santa Clara). With a 2-0 count, Roberts gave the sign for his no. 3 hitter to drop down a bunt for a squeeze play. Cresto got it down perfectly, and was able to beat it out for an infield single to give Cotuit the lead.
“I don’t think I bunted once during school, but I was taught to get it down,” Cresto said. “I’m ready for that opportunity, it’s just different.”
The Kettleers only had one more tough jam in the rest of the game, and that game with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth inning. Inman gave way to right-hander Clark Cota (UNC Wilmington), who generated a popout and a strikeout to maintain the 1-0 lead.
“In that situation, you just have to erase everything going on outside,” Cota said. “I like to think that it’s a start of an inning. Stay in control, stay in the moment and execute pitches.”
Cota finished off the game for the Kettleers, retiring 11 of the 12 batters he faced to earn his second save of the season. One big reason for Cota’s success – the sequence of pitchers for Cotuit in the middle innings. Starting with a left-hander (Collins), followed by a submariner (Inman) and then a hard-thrower in Cota, the Kettleers were able to mess with the Mariners’ timing.
“I saw one guy, as soon as I picked my leg up he put his foot down,” Cota said. “I could tell that they were trying to make an adjustment, and it worked out in my favor tonight.”
The Kettleers will look to stay above the .500 mark as they host the Orleans Firebirds at Lowell Park on June 28. The Mariners will stay at home to face Y-D.