Western Division Series Heads to Spillane Field for Game Two; Cotuit on the Brink of Elimination
By Megan Kerr/Asst. Web Editor
August 8, 2006
COTUIT, MA — Wareham was able to wrest home field advantage away from the Kettleers as the Gatemen prevailed 1-0 in a tough pitching duel between James Simmons (UC Riverside, 0BB, 5K, 7H) and Jeremy Bleich (Stanford, 1BB, 0K, 4H). The day started off well enough for the Kettleers as the pre-game ceremonies hosted by the commissioners of the league was very favorable towards Cotuit. Matt Mangini (NC State) from the Hyannis Mets took home the first award, which was for the Batting Champion. The next three awards all went to Cotuit as Mike Roberts won Manager of the Year, Justin Smoak (South Carolina) won MVP of the league, and Cotuit won the Commissioners Cup, which is given to the team that is outstanding both on and off the field. Unfortunately, the fun ended after the ceremony for Cotuit as the Kettleers offence was never able to get going off of Bleich.
Cotuit’s best chance to score against Bleich came in the second inning when Tony Thomas (Florida, 1 for 4) singled to start a rally for the Kettleers. Another single by Reese Havens (South Carolina, 1 for 3) and then an error by the pitcher loaded the bases for Eric Farris (LMU, 0 for 5) with only one out in the inning. Unfortunately, Farris was unable to come through as he grounded out to the pitcher for the second out of the inning, and then Justin Smoak (1 for 4) flied out to left field to end the inning. After Cotuit allowed that great scoring opportunity to fade away, they were unable to get anything else going, which Wareham took advantage of.
James Simmons pitched a brilliant game for the Kettleers as he pitched a complete game, throwing over 100 pitches over nine innings, but unfortunately, due to a lack of run support, it wasn’t enough. In the fourth inning, Wareham was able to get to Simmons as with one out and two on, Jason Ogata (LSU, 1 for 3, 1 RBI) hit a ball hard into the gap between left and center field. At first it appeared that two runs would easily score, but a good throw from the outfield halted the runner at third and Simmons was able to retire the next two batters without incident. The damage had already been done though as Wareham was able to cling to the one run lead throughout the game due to a lack of offensive firepower on the part of the Kettleers.
After Simmons put the Gatemen down in order in the ninth inning, Cotuit had one more opportunity to extend the game, but reliever Nick Cassavechia (Baylor, 0BB, 2K, 0H) proved to be too much for them. Cassavechia easily but down the first three batters he faced, picking up the save and securing the victory for Wareham. Cotuit now travels to play Wareham at their place for the second game in the series where hopefully the Kettleers can pull out the victory to force a third and deciding game at Lowell Park on Thursday.