By: Shane Petagna (The University of Tampa)
WAREHAM, Mass. - In a one-run game, mistakes become magnified. That’s precisely what happened for the Cotuit Kettleers in a 5-4 loss to the Wareham Gatemen at Spillane Field on Sunday.
Cotuit entered the game with their most valuable pitcher Camron Hill (Georgia Tech) and the opportunity to clinch the West Division title with a win and a loss by the Hyannis Harbor Hawks.
Things started on the right track for the Kettleers as they took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning. Trevor Haskins (Stanford) led off the inning with his third home run of the season before Trotter Harlan (College of Charleston) drove in James McCoy with two outs.
“I’m just trying to stay calm in the box and help the team out any way that I can,” said Harlan. “I try to move the ball and I'm up there and see what happens.”
However, the mistakes began from there in the eyes of manager Mike Roberts, as he attributed stolen bases by the Gatemen early in the game as a big factor in the loss.
Wareham climbed back into the game by scratching across a run in each of the third and fourth innings, utilizing leadoff singles in the bottom of the third and fourth innings to create runs with later stolen bags. Bobby Boser (USF) scored on a Garen Caulfield (Arizona) single to cut the lead in half before a Dorian Gonzalez (Miami) base knock and swiped bag preceded a Will Brennan (Post) RBI single up the middle to tie the game.
The Kettleers regained the lead in the top of the fifth inning on a Cole Mathis (College of Charleston) double down the third base line. But, the lead was short-lived as more mishaps followed.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, another Wareham leadoff runner would score, but not before the Kettleers recorded two outs. It seemed as though Mathis, who moved to the mound in the frame, induced what was sure to be the third out of the inning before a popup by pinch-hitter Grant Hussey flew above the Spillane Field lights.
“As soon as it was hit, I saw it. And then once he got above the lights, I had no idea where it was,” said Harlan. “I had no idea where it was going. So it's one of the things that happens.”
The hit tied the game and allowed Boser to continue the inning as he turned on an inside breaking ball for a go-ahead two-run homer to left field.
With a 5-3 lead, that would be enough for the Gatemen to pull out a win. The Kettleers were able to tie the game on a Harlan sacrifice fly in the top of the eighth, and ultimately put the tying and go-ahead runs on base before two hard-hit outs ended the game in the ninth inning.
Cotuit remains in first place in the West Division, leading by five points still after Hyannis lost 11-7 at home to the Orleans Firebirds on Sunday. The Kettleers travel to Stony Brook Field on Monday afternoon, where a win or another Harbor Hawks loss would secure the division crown.
“We’re just trying to improve and get better for the playoffs,” said Harlan. “Any win is a big one but we want to focus on getting better and strive to get better every day.”
First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.