By Ben Fischer
University of Maryland
July 24, 2018
COTUIT – With a one run lead, two outs and a runner on second in the top of the ninth inning, Kettleers closer Stephen Schoch (UMBC) intentionally walked Bourne Braves first baseman Spencer Brickhouse (Eastern Carolina) to pitch to catcher Lyle Lin (Arizona State).
Lin hacked at Schoch’s first pitch and appeared to have given Bourne the lead with a bullet into the left centerfield gap. But Cotuit center fielder Duke Ellis (Texas) ran the fly ball down just shy of the fence, sealing the Kettleers third consecutive win and pushing them three games ahead of Bourne in the West division standings.
While the Kettleers only need to stay above fourth place to seal a playoff spot, coach Mike Roberts said that the Kettleers are more focused on who is ahead of them rather than who is behind.
“We’re trying to catch Falmouth,” Roberts said. “We’re want to go upwards. Bourne is chasing us, but you want people chasing us.
The Kets used a solid defensive performance from start to finish, dodging bullets and stranding Braves on base to hang on to the key win.
Shortstop Michael Salvatore (Florida State), made two key defensive plays in the first two innings. With one out and the bases loaded in the first, Salvatore (Florida State) ranged deep into the hole to snare a grounder and start a 6-4-3 inning-ending double play. In the second inning, Salvatore cut out the middleman, ranging towards the middle to scoop up a chopper and start an inning-ending 6-3 double play.
Bourne got a key double play of their own in the bottom of the frame when shortstop Austin Prato (UConn) caught a low line drive and doubled Cotuit center fielder Duke Ellis (Texas) off first base. Bourne got a second important twin killing in the fourth inning when Kettleers’ right fielder Will Robertson (Creighton) grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to kill a two-on, nobody-out rally.
Salvatore continued his all-around big day in the second when he hit a booming RBI triple into the left-centerfield gap to put the Kettleers up 1-0. Salvatore scored during the next at-bat on a balk by pitcher Zachary Peek (Winthrop).
Cotuit doubled their lead in the third on a two-run home run down the right field line by first baseman Michael Toglia (UCLA). The blast was Toglia’s second in the last two games and pushed his batting average back over .200.
“It was nice last night to put a good swing in my last at bat and it carried into today and I got a good swing on it today,” Toglia said.
Bourne cut into the Kets’ lead in the fifth on a one-out, solo home run to left centerfield by Prato and brought in another run in the ninth inning on a sacrifice fly by third baseman Jared Triolo (Houston).
Cotuit goes on the road on Wednesday, heading to Brewster to take on the Whitecaps at 5 p.m. at Stony Brook Field.