By Will Kraus, Bates College
Video by Jacob Cohen, Boston University
Photos by Josh Muir, Endicott College
July 16, 2019
A breaking pitch by Evan Justice (North Carolina State) just slipped under the glove of catcher Coltyn Kessler (Kentucky) at home plate, sliding to the backstop and giving Zach Daniels (Tennessee) the opportunity to score from third, sending the Orleans Firebirds faithful into a frenzy as the Firebirds took a 1-0 lead in the eighth inning Tuesday night.
That would be the lone run to score in the contest as Orleans reliever Connor Pellerin (Tulane) came in to shut the door in the ninth.
It was a tough defeat for Cotuit considering they got off to a hot start in the first, with Nick Gonzales (New Mexico State) nearly scoring on a hard hit ground ball that Christian Robinson (Stanford) hit to shortstop Tanner Murray (California Davis).
Unfortunately for the Kettleers Murray fired a bullet to home plate that allowed the Firebirds’ catcher David Avitia (Grand Canyon) to tag Gonzales out just in time to keep the game scoreless.
Cotuit also threatened with runners on second base in the second, fourth, and sixth innings. The Kettleers just couldn’t find a way to get those runners home, however.
Cotuit tried to get another runner into scoring position in the top of the ninth as well. A Matt Mervis (Duke) single up the middle with two outs led to the speedy Donta Williams (Arizona) being put in as a pinch runner at first.
Williams attempted to steal second, diving headfirst but was just tagged out in time to give
Orleans the victory.
“Pitching under these lights I think helps everybody because the lights are poor. You can’t see very well. It’s not surprising that there was just eight or nine base hits tonight.” said Coach Mike Roberts postgame.
On the brighter side Sean Sullivan (California Berkeley) had probably his best start of his
Kettleers career, throwing six scoreless innings, striking out six, and lowering his ERA to 2.86.
“[Sullivan] threw strikes, stayed ahead in the count and had all his pitches going. He had a
great outing.” Roberts commented.
Cotuit had some defensive highlights to remember too.
Casey Schmitt (San Diego State) also made a couple of great plays at third in this one, receiving a bit of help from first baseman Mason McWhorter (Georgia Southern) as well as McWhorter maneuvered tactfully to record the outs.
Gonzales made a clutch play at second to end the eighth inning, saving two runs as Orleans had men on second and third.
Gonzales ranged to his right on a ball rocketed up the middle, throwing across his body to give the Kettleers a better chance in the ninth.
Cotuit (15-13-3) faces Hyannis (6-23-1) at Lowell Park on Wednesday for a 5 PM first pitch.