Story By John S. Condakes
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
COTUIT — After their first night off in three weeks, Cotuit’s local nine returned to the confines of Lowell Park for a bout with the Red Sox of Yarmouth-Dennis. In the late afternoon hours prior to the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, the Kettleers looked far from their professional forefathers. Needless to say, it was a tough one to watch. The Red Sox struck early and often against Cotuit ace Nick Hernandez of Tennessee for a 7-1 victory. The loss was the second in a row for the Kettleers and dropped their record back down to .500 at 13-13-1.
Hernandez made quick work of the Y-D hitters in the first but gave up three runs in the second with the help of an error and two RBI singles. Newcomer Matt Holliman of Cumberland drove in Cotuit’s only run in the third inning on a sacrifice fly. It looked as if the Kettleers would answer their 3-0 deficit by loading the bases with no outs in the bottom of the third but Y-D starter Eddie Burns of Georgia Tech worked his way out of trouble allowing only Holliman’s sacrifice fly to keep the Red Sox in the lead 3-1.
The Sox added two more in the top of the fourth after another error led to the second unearned run of the game for Hernandez. The southpaw finished his outing with seven innings pitched while giving up eight hits, seven runs, five earned, two walks and four strikeouts in the loss. Hernandez’s record moved to 4-2 on the season. After four innings, it was 5-1 in favor of the visitors.
The Cotuit bats mustered only five hits on the evening with two of them going to shortstop Michael Gilmartin of Wofford. Gilmartin went 2 for 3 with a walk but also grounded into a double play as did second baseman Jason Kipnis of Arizona State. The double plays killed potential rallies in the second and fourth innings for the Kettleers.
Cotuit left the bases loaded in the sixth inning after center fielder Brett Jackson was struck in the leg with a pitch from Burns. Jackson was forced to exit the game and couldn’t put much pressure on his leg as he was helped off the field. Indiana’s Evan Crawford replaced him but was stranded on third base when Kipnis struck out for Burns’ fifth punch-out of the game. Burns pitched seven strong innings giving up four hits and just one run while struggling with his control as five different Kettleers were issued free passes to first base.
Georgia Tech reliever Zach Von Tersch pitched the eighth and ninth innings for Cotuit and allowed only two hits and a walk but left the bases loaded in the top of the third. He mowed down the Red Sox hitters in the ninth to “keep it close.” Gilmartin led off the bottom of the ninth with his second single of the game but he was stranded on third base as the game finished with a 7-1 final score.
Earlier in the day, Cotuit added another arm to their roster in John Lambert. Lambert pitched at Santa Fe Community College this spring and will transfer to NC State in the fall. “I’ll be throwing in the bullpen this week,” said Lambert who may don the number 23 on his back.
The Kettleers now have 24 of a possible 25 players on their roster and are looking to add one more bat. The boys are back in action Wednesday night at Harwich to face the Mariners where they will look for their first win out at Whitehouse Field. Game time is slated for 7 p.m.