July 29, 2017
COTUIT – The cold air seemed dead. Dense and impenetrable. During Cotuit’s batting practice prior to their game against Falmouth, balls that should have left the park showered the outfield. It was like the balls were attached to a rubber band that couldn’t stretch any further.
“Did I think anyone was going to hit one out of here today,” Cotuit head coach Mike Roberts said. “No. But I thought his swing was much better in this ball game than it’s been in a while.”
But in the fourth inning, Gian Martellini (Boston College) got hold of a hanging changeup from Falmouth starter Tyler Blohm (Maryland) and towered it over the left field fence to put Cotuit on top 2-1.
Martellini’s home run proved to be the difference in the ball game as Cotuit (19-18-1) narrowly edged Falmouth (20-19-1) 2-1 on Saturday evening at Lowell Park. Both offenses underwhelmed as the two sides combined for just nine hits and three runs, while striking out a combined 17 times. The win inched Cotuit one step closer to clinching a playoff berth. A win on Sunday against Falmouth and a Hyannis loss to Bourne would lock a spot for the Kettleers.
The win over Falmouth kept Cotuit within immediate striking distance for the number one seed in the West Division.
Falmouth opened the scoring in the second inning. Chase Cohen (Georgia Southern) walked Logan Davidson (Clemson) to put a runner on first. Josh Breaux (McLennon CC) then lined a ball into deep right center field, beyond the outstretched glove of a sprinting Greyson Jenista (Wichita State). Breaux’s double scored Davidson, but Cohen then retired the next three batters, leaving Breaux on base.
Cotuit responded in the fourth inning. Brett Kinneman (NC State) ripped a one-out double down the right field line and into the right field corner for a stand-up double. After a Michael Toglia (UCLA) strikeout, Martellini capitalized on a hanging changeup over the plate, launching it into the trees behind left field.
“During batting practice we were squaring up balls that weren’t going anywhere,” Martellini said. “Maybe mine got caught in a jet stream somewhere.”
After Martellini’s home run, the pitching duel commenced, as the two sides held each other to no runs for the rest of the game. He finished 1-3 with one run and two RBIs. His offensive impact decided the game, but his defensive impact may have been even more important.
Cotuit pitchers chose to fight for swing-and-miss put-away pitches, rather than pitch conservatively, and much of that was because of Martellini.
“99.5 percent of those calls were his,” Roberts said. “This was one of the games where the pitcher-catcher pitch selection was right on. It was about as good as we have had all year.”
Cotuit will travel to Falmouth on Sunday for a rematch with the Commodores before a road doubleheader on Monday.
- A 1-2 day with two walks, moves Griffin Conine back into the top five in Cape League batting average. Conine now sits fifth at .324. He no longer leads the league though in either home runs or RBIs. Chandler Taylor (Alabama) of Brewster has nine home runs and Stephen Scott (Vanderbilt) of Orleans has 30 RBIs.
- Four of Cotuit’s final six games come against teams with winning records, including a home-and-home finale with Y-D, who is 8-2 in their last 10 games.
- Terrin Vavra finished 0-4 in his return to the lineup after missing Cotuit’s last game against Harwich with shoulder discomfort.
- Michael Toglia became the second player for Cotuit this season to go 0-4 with four strikeouts in a game. The first was John Cresto (Santa Clara).
- Michael Byrne (Florida) continues to fool batters. In 10.1 innings he has yet to give up a run. In addition he has 10 strikeouts to only four walks and hits apiece.
- Every Cotuit pitcher had at least one strikeout for every inning pitched.