By Jon Mettus
June 10, 2016
HARWICH — As Harwich’s Austin Filiere (MIT) shuffled to the plate in the fourth inning, a fan yelled out, “Well we’re about due for another error.” The prediction never came true as Filiere flew out to left to end the inning, but blunders in the field had already cost the Kettleers early in the game.
The fourth was the first inning of the game that Cotuit didn’t commit an error. In the process, the Mariners smacked in seven unearned runs and one earned run through the first three innings. The mishaps were too much for the Kettleers to overcome as Cotuit lost to Harwich, 8-3, at Whitehouse Field on Friday to open the season.
Cotuit had more errors than hits (four) or runs (three) in the game.
“First two innings, you give up six runs because you make two errors and give them a fourth out,” Kettleers head coach Mike Roberts said. “It’s just early and that’s the way it’s going to be. But everybody’s got to come out and try to win the ball game.”
Cotuit starting pitcher Keith Rogalla (Creighton) was tagged with eight runs — just one earned — and seven hits in four innings of work. He received the loss.
“I always look at fourth outs,” Roberts said. “I look at that every inning. And when you get into the fourth out pitchers still need to make good pitches, but you’re putting them in a situation they shouldn’t be in. So you go from making good pitches to you got to make a great pitch and he made a couple poor pitches when he got in that fourth out situation.”
The Mariners first batter of the game, Kyle Davis (West Virginia), hit a slow grounder that Cotuit shortstop Ricky Surum (Mount Olive) charged at, but then bobbled. Filiere turned on a two-out homer later in the inning, taking it over the fence in left field. Three unearned runs crossed the plate.
The Kettleers responded, getting two runs back in the top of the second. But in the next half inning, mistakes cost them again.
Cotuit’s Jake Bivens snagged a grounder at third base, but dropped that ball while pulling his glove off the dirt. Rogalla was able to get down to two outs again, but Logan Farrar (VCU) hit a liner into right field with the bases loaded for a triple that plated three. The Harwich lead was stretched to 6-2.
One play later, Surum took a hard fastball off his wrist for his second error through two innings.
“I just feel like it’s just us adjusting to the field up here,” Surum said. “Some guys aren’t really used to the fields in this area.”
Cotuit catcher Cory Voss (Arizona) bounced a throw intended for second into the outfield trying to catch a runner stealing, but nothing came of it.
The Kettleers replaced Rogalla on the mound to start the fifth, but the quality of defense beyond stayed the same with the first batter he faced reaching base on an error.
Despite getting one run back in the ninth inning, the early deficit brought on by slopping play proved to be too much for the Kettleers to overcome.
“It really boils down to can you handle the ball better,” Roberts said. “And we will. We’ll be fine.”
Next up, the Kettleers host Brewster at 5 p.m. on Saturday.