By Jon Mettus
July 21, 2016
COTUIT — Pat Dorrian (Lynn) launched a throw over Ryan Hagan’s (Mercer) head at second, dropped the ball on a tag and missed another.
Tim Susnara (Oregon) nearly ran into pitcher Jacob Erickson (San Diego State), making him drop a pop bunt, then rolled that ball past the first baseman and also made an errant throw on a dropped third strike to allow a runner to reach base.
Colton Hock (Stanford) served up a pitch on a platter for a three-run home run.
And the Kettleers (11-22-1) as a whole collapsed in an ugly, 12-2, loss to Yarmouth-Dennis (22-12) at Lowell Park that was cut short during the bottom of the ninth inning due to darkness to extend Cotuit’s losing streak to five games — its second-longest of the season. The Kettleers made six errors, allowed four unearned runs, and finished with just eight hits (three of which came in the bottom of the ninth).
Cotuit has made 12 errors in the last five games. The Kettleers are three and a half games back of the fourth and final playoff spot in the West with just 10 games left in the regular season.
“You’ve got to play the game the same way every day,” Cotuit head coach Mike Roberts said, speaking generally about teams that struggle late in the season. “And if you allow that to occur — fatigue or ‘I want to go home’ or whatever it may be — then certainly your play is going to go down.”
It was in the first inning when Dorrian fielded a routine grounder while playing second, went for the force play at the base and tossed it into the outfield. J.J. Muno (UCSB), who was the runner safe at second, scored the first run of the game later in the inning.
The first batter of the second inning, Korby Batesol (Fresno State) hit a chopper to second. Dorrian backed up to the edge of the dirt to field it and his throw to first was late. Batesol made his way to third on a stolen base and sacrifice hit before scoring on a suicide squeeze.
Jack Klein (Stanford) looked like he had thrown out the first batter of the fourth inning trying to take second, but as Tyler Houston (Butler) slid into Dorrian’s glove, he kicked the ball across the infield. Houston fell about five feet short of third base and crawled the rest of the way, but was still safe.
Houston scored on the next at-bat and Hock was tagged with the long ball later in the inning to make it 6-1.
“There’s not that much difference in the teams in the league,” Roberts said, “but right now, I haven’t done a great job. It hurts me.”
Roberts most usual positions during the game were at the top step of the dugout shaking his head, arms folded or his face in his hand.
As bad as his team’s play was through the first four innings, it managed to get worse.
The pop bunt that Erickson and Susnara both called for and dropped — that Susnara then threw away — put runners on second and third. The dropped third strike that Susnara nearly threw into the outfield loaded the bases. Two of those three runners would score.
Four singles, a walk, a hit batter and Cotuit’s sixth error of the game resulted in four runs for the Red Sox in the seventh inning — their highest total for an inning in the game.
A week and a half ago, the Kettleers started on a four-game winning streak to try to climb out of the hole dug by a 1-12 start. But since then, they’ve lost five games in a row. And on Thursday, committing six errors and giving up 12 runs, they looked more like the team that started the season than the one that tried to put together the resurgence.
“We’re still working hard. We’re still here 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day,” Hock said. “… Unfortunately it’s not falling together, but that happens with the best of the teams. And right now we’re in that little bit of a slump, but we proved last week we can have that five game winning streak. That’s right there. We’ve just missed by a little bit.”