Cotuit celebrates, collapses
Harwich hammering puts Kettleers one down in playoffs

August 14, 2008


Written by Kathleen Szmit
The question on everyone’s mind regarding the Cotuit Kettlers’ week is, “What happened?”

Kathleen Szmit photos
ALL WET – Cotuit Kettleers head coach Mike Roberts is given the ceremonial dousing of Gatorade by pitcher Nick Hernandez following Cotuit’s defeat of Falmouth to clinch a spot in the 2008 CCBL championship playoffs.

After capsizing the Commodores 3-2 on Aug. 12 to earn a spot in the Cape Cod Baseball League playoffs, the Kettleers fell apart in Game 1 against Harwich, suffering an 11-2 hammering on their home turf.

With Seth Blair on the mound for the Kettleers, confidences were high in the stands. One of the last times Blair faced the Mariners he pitched a nine-inning 4-0 shutout, but not this time.

As the game got underway, it was apparent that Blair was not his usual self – and not in the top form fans had grown accustomed to.

In the second inning Blair allowed three runs on three hits from the Mariners, putting Harwich into a 3-0 lead, then allowing five more runs in the third to give Harwich an 8-0 cushion.

Though the pitcher settled down briefly in the fourth, Harwich plated two more runs in the fifth, bringing the score to 10-0.
Alex Sogard stepped in for Blair in the sixth and attempted to regain some control, but a throwing error by Cotuit first baseman Kevin Patterson allowed another run to Harwich, now at 11-0.

Sogard kept Harwich contained after that, retiring the side quickly in both the eighth and ninth innings, but the damage was done.
A two-run homer from Robert Stock in the seventh was all Cotuit could muster in the dustup, as solid fielding from Harwich thwarted all other attempts at scoring.

It was an entirely different ball game the previous afternoon when Cotuit felled Falmouth 3-2 to claim its playoff position.
Brandon Cumpton was the starting pitcher for the Kettleers, showing his strength at the start of the game.

In the first inning Cumpton quickly saved face after walking Joey Wong, Falmouth’s first batter, by forcing Trevor Coleman to ground into a beautiful 6-4-3 double play before ending the inning by striking out A.J. Pollock.

Falmouth hit the scoreboard first in the second, causing concern, but Cumpton refocused and held them scoreless until his reign ended after the fifth inning. Cumpton allowed only three hits and one run while striking out five in five innings of work for Cotuit.
Cotuit pitchers John Lambert and Daniel Wolford continued to hold Falmouth at bay, allowing no hits and no runs in a combined 2.2 innings of play.

Meanwhile, the Kettleers rallied back, tying the game 1-1 in the second when Dallas Poulk scored on a fielder’s choice from Joey Lewis. Michael Gilmartin gave Cotuit the go-ahead run in the third inning on a single from Evan Crawford, after reaching third on a hit from Jason Kipnis.

Cotuit’s third run came in the sixth inning when Crawford crossed the plate after hopping around the bases. After being walked by Falmouth pitcher Shaeffer Hall, Crawford advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Poulk. Crawford then stole third to put him in scoring position, coming home on a throwing error by Falmouth catcher Trevor Coleman.

When Cotuit closer Drew Storen allowed Falmouth to come within one run in the ninth tensions mounted, but Storen shut the Commodores down with a game-ending fly out from Brian Fletcher, sealing a playoff spot for Cotuit.

An emotional Mike Roberts congratulated his team before finding himself awash in traditional, celebratory Gatorade.
“This is for the community,” he said. “These fans deserve it. They’re just amazing.”

At press time the Kettleers were set to travel to Falmouth for Game 2, with a 7 p.m. start time. Nick Hernandez was slated to pitch for Cotuit, which last made the playoffs in 1999 when they bested Chatham in three games to claim the title.


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