By John S. Condakes
JUNE 26, 2008
COTUIT — The Kettleers took sole possession of first place in the west last night after staging a decisive, 10-3 victory over the defending league champion Y-D Red Sox and in so doing avenged a loss to the Sox last Sunday.
Tennessee’s Nick Hernandez made his third start for the Kettleers and showed why he has quickly grown to become the ace of the Kettleers’ staff as he upped his record to 2-0 with a stingy 1.38 ERA.
One by one, Hernandez mowed down the Red Sox batters until he was forced to exit due to a foot injury sustained from a hard line drive off the bat of Y-D’s Greg Miclat (Virginia). Hernandez’s pitching line was five and a third innings with four hits, 2 runs, one earned run and three strikeouts for the win. He improved his record to 3-0 on the season.
While Hernandez’s pitching was clearly superb, the Kettleer bats remained on fire as they have of late and delivered more than enough run support for their pitcher. In the bottom of the first, the speedy outfield tandem of Arizona State’s Jason Kipnis and Cal Berkeley’s Brett Jackson both reached base to jump start the offense for the third straight game. Both Kipnis and Jackson scored unearned runs for the early 2-0 lead. First baseman Kevin Patterson (Auburn) continued his hot hitting with an RBI double to knock in shortstop Robbie Shields of Florida Southern to put Cotuit up 3-0 after one inning.
The three runs were enough to knock Red Sox starter Evan Bronson of Trinity University from the game. Catcher Robert Stock welcomed LSU’s Anthony Ranaudo to the game as led off the bottom of the second with a single. Right fielder Evan Crawford (Indiana) and Kipnis followed with bunt singles to load the bases. Shields walked to plate Stock and Patterson added another RBI single to his line for the night (2 for 5, 2 RBI). Cal Berkeley third baseman Jeff Kobernus joined the hit parade with a double to score Kipnis and Shields. Designated hitter Dan Black of Purdue added another run on an RBI groundout to up the rout to 8-0 Kettleers after two.
The Red Sox finally broke through with a hit against Hernandez in the top of the fourth and scored an unearned run due to some sloppy play in the field by Cotuit. The defense would make up for the miscue as Kipnis, Shields and Patterson executed a double play to end the threat and keep the score at 8-1. The Cotuit bats got to work again as Shields stroked a triple to center and scored when Kobernus reached on an error. Auburn’s Mike Bianucci drove the ball to left field to score Kobernus on a sacrifice fly to finish Cotuit’s scoring for the evening and put them up 10-1 after four.
Hernandez limped off the field in the fifth and Georgia Tech’s Zach Von Tersch allowed a run to the Red Sox offense that was charged to Hernandez. Von Tersch pitched an inning and two thirds allowing only two hits, no earned runs and a strikeout. Mario Hollands (Santa Barbara) pitched a scoreless eighth allowing only one hit and gave way to Cal Berkeley’s Daniel Wolford in the ninth. Wolford ran into some trouble and allowed a run but slammed the door by striking out South Carolina’s Whit Merrifield to end the game with a 10-3 final score.
Now with a 7-2 record, Cotuit will travel to Falmouth Friday night for its first contest of the season against the Commodores at 7 p.m.