By Ben Fischer
University of Maryland
July 26, 2018
COTUIT – All good things must come to an end. For the Cotuit Kettleers, their season-best four game win streak game to an end on Thursday with a 7-5 loss to the Bourne Braves.
The game was locked in a pitchers duel for much of the evening, as Cotuit starter Seth Shuman (Georgia Southern) and Bourne pitcher Jared Lasko (UMass) traded zeroes through the first four innings.
Cotuit finally broke through in the bottom of the fifth inning, when left fielder Peyton Burdick (Wright State) scored from second on a single to right field by first baseman Zach Biermann (Coastal Carolina).
But the Braves struck right back and tied it in the sixth on a double by shortstop Tyler Fitzgerald (Louisville). Two batters later, third baseman Jared Triolo (Houston) tripled to deep left centerfield, driving in Fitzgerald and chasing Shuman from the game. Triolo came in later that inning on a passed ball.
Cotuit cut the deficit to one in the bottom of the sixth in controversial fashion. With second baseman Corey Wood (Coastal Carolina) at bat, a 2-2 count and two outs, Lasko threw a fastball that just missed the inside corner. After walking almost all the way off the field on what he thought was strike three, Lasko was forced to return to the mound to deliver a 3-2 pitch. Wood deposited the full-count offering into the woods behind the right field fence for his second home run of the season.
Wood called the 2-2 offering “a pretty good pitch,” that “might have been a strike.” He added that after the pitcher’s dramatic return to the mound he was looking for the pitch he ended up hitting out, another fastball in.
Bourne re-extended their lead in the seventh inning, pushing across four runs on a two-run single, a bases-loaded walk and a bases-loaded fielder’s choice.
Cotuit narrowed the gap slightly in the bottom of the frame on an RBI single to right field by right fielder Will Robertson (Wright State). Cotuit added two more in the ninth on a home run to left field by Burdick.
The Kets brought the winning run to the plate in the ninth, as first baseman Michael Toglia (UCLA) came up with runners on first and second and two out. However, Braves reliever Andy Archer (Georgia Tech) induced a sharp groundout to second to end the game.
The Kettleers hurt themselves on the basepaths, losing two runners in key spots. In the fifth, Toglia lost his footing retreating to third base and was picked off by catcher Lyle Lin (Arizona State). In the sixth, center fielder Duke Ellis (Texas) was picked off at first base during the at-bat in which Wood had his home run. Coach Mike Roberts called his team’s baserunning “disappointing,” saying it was “a shame,” to squander opportunities on a day where the Kets’ bats continued to roll.
The win moves Bourne up to four points back of Cotuit for the final playoff spot in the West. Cotuit’s loss coupled with Falmouth’s win over Wareham puts the Kettleers two points back of the Commodores for third in the West.
Cotuit heads to Orleans Friday to take on the Firebirds. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Eldredge Park.