By Zach Kaplan
Penn State University
August 5, 2018
WAREHAM– Timely hitting has been a consistent strength for the 2018 Kettleers, and Sunday looked to be another possible example of that as Cotuit began to storm back in the ninth inning.
Peyton Burdick (Wright State) hit a two-run home run to cut Wareham’s lead to 3-2. Then, the Kettleers got two straight singles from pinch hitter Adam Oviedo (TCU) and Will Robertson (Creighton), followed by an intentional walk to Michael Toglia (UCLA) to load the bases.
But with an 0-2 count, Trey Jacobs (UNC Pembroke) grounded over to third, and Austin Shenton (FIU) fired over to second to barely get the final out of the game, as Cotuit lost 3-2 in Game 1 at Spillane Field on Sunday night.
“Great playoff game, but we made a mistake that cost us two runs and we couldn’t get them back,” said Mike Roberts postgame. “That happens, but I hate that we gave them two runs on an error tonight.”
Griffin McLarty (Charleston) got the loss for Cotuit, but made one of his best starts of the season. McLarty went five innings on Sunday, allowing one earned run on three hits while striking out seven.
“I felt like I mixed well,” said McLarty postgame. “Threw a lot of change-ups today, and when I threw my fastball, I thought I commanded it well. Other than that, I just competed to stay in the game and give our team a shot. We struck late, but just came up a little short today.”
The Kettleers had prime chances to score throughout the game, as they went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position before the ninth inning rally.
They watched Zach Humphreys (TCU) advance to third on two passed balls in the third, but stranded him. Cotuit had runners on first and second with only one out in the fourth, but two straight pop-ups ended any scoring threat.
It was a similar story in the sixth, as Jacobs and Mike Salvatore (Florida State) stood on second and first base respectively, but got stranded as well.
With Cotuit’s inability to hit with runners in scoring position, those in attendance at Spillane Field knew it was only a matter of time before Wareham tacked on runs.
And that is precisely where Shenton stepped into the fold, leading off the fourth with a solo home run to right field, making it 1-0 Wareham.
Cotuit would hang around with Wareham until the seventh inning.
After a costly Cotuit error allowed former Kettleer Jakob Goldfarb (Oregon) to reach safely, Oliver Dunn (Utah) launched a two-RBI single to right that would score both Goldfarb and Isaac Collins (Creighton) to extend Wareham’s lead to 3-0.
So now it turns into a must-win pair of games for the Kettleers. Zane Collins (Wright State) will get the ball to start Game 2, while Wareham counters with Derek West (Pittsburgh).
Cotuit will return back to Lowell Park on Monday for Game 2 of the best-of-three in what could be the final game of the 2018 Kettleers season. First pitch is set for 3:00 p.m.