Bourne, MA- The Cotuit Kettleers began the 2021 playoffs with a resounding 15-6 win over the Bourne Braves on Friday night. The Cotuit offense stayed scorching hot as each Kettleer that stepped in the box produced a hit. The win puts Cotuit one victory from their second straight Championship series.
Moments that mattered:
Cotuit shakes off questionable call, explodes for early seven-run lead
The Cotuit bats were all over Bourne starter Michael Sansone early, squaring up balls to the outfield consistently. Entering the game, Sansone was 4-0 with a 2.08 ERA, but he had yet to face the potent Cotuit offense. The Kettleers were scoreless in the first, but Eric Brown Jr. (Coastal Carolina) drove a fly ball to the wall that was caught for out #3. Noah Bridges (UNC Wilmington) led off the second with a single into center. Brett Roberts (Florida State) followed the single with a shot to center field. The fly-ball measured 410 feet on track man. The center field fence stands 395 feet from home plate. Despite the ball clearing the fence by 15 feet, the umpires ruled it a ground rule double.
After the questionable call, the Cotuit offense took matters into their own hands. Nathan Martorella (California) opened the scoring with an RBI groundout. Matt Suggs (UNC Wilmington) left no doubt behind on another deep fly-ball off a Cotuit bat. Suggs drove his second homer of the summer well over the left-center fence to put the Kettleers up 3-0.
Suggs said, “I was just looking for something good over the plate. I knew he was going to come with something over the plate after he threw a first-pitch change up. I was ready and I knew I wasn’t going to miss it.”
Rounding around the bases, Suggs pounded his chest multiple times and gave love to his dugout. Suggs couldn’t hold back a smile when talking about the moment. “It was just so exciting because cause I could pick somebody up, especially with that bad call on Brett. It’s just a really good feeling that I could pick the team up and get the juices flowing and keep rolling like we have been doing,” said Suggs.
Carter Trice (Old Dominion) led off the third with a double to end Sansone’s day. Following a walk and a passed ball, Brown brought Trice home on an infield single. Roberts extended the lead to five with an RBI-groundout. Martorella capped the inning with the Kettleers’ second homer (or third if you count balls over the fence as homers) of the night. The left-handed hitter drove a fly-ball the opposite way into the Braves’ bullpen to put Cotuit up 7-0.
Martorella said, “I’m trying to become a good overall hitter, not just being able to hit the pull side homers. I’m just trusting my strength and using the whole field. I’m just seeing it how I’ve been seeing it all year and trusting the process. Put good swings on good balls and good things will happen.”
Mathews keeps Braves off balance, battles for five quality innings
Quinn Mathews (Stanford) got the game one nod from head coach Mike Roberts after compiling a 1.55 ERA in four starts during the regular season. Mathews got off to a fast start, retiring the side in order with one strikeout in the first. In the second, the southpaw struck out the side in order while picking up four swing-and-misses.
The Braves’ first baserunner came on a one-out error in the third. Bourne got on the board with two unearned runs on a two-out double. Bourne produced another run in the fourth after a leadoff double, but Mathews limited the damage with two foul pop-ups. He bounced back in the fifth with a 1-2-3 inning. His day came to an end after a leadoff single in the sixth. Mathews walked off the mound to a well-deserved standing ovation from the Cotuit faithful.
On getting the game one start, Mathews said, “My mindset wasn’t any different, just want to go out there and compete and throw strikes. I was able to throw up a couple of zeros, a couple of ones, just tried to do whatever the team needed out of me, and the offense picked me up.
The Stanford product was grateful for the support that he received from the Kettleers’ fans throughout his outing. “It was awesome tonight to have the support and the crowd behind me. I was very grateful.”
Sixth inning hit parade, Grady’s jack blow game open
The Cotuit offense was quieted by reliever Cole Chudoba in the fourth and fifth innings. After Chudoba came out of the game, Hector Alejandro was greeted with a leadoff double by Martorella in the sixth. Matthew Donlan (UConn) drove in Martorella with an RBI single. Jace Grady (Dallas Baptist) snuck a double down the third base line that plated Donlan as the ball bounced around the left field corner. The double extended Grady’s hit-streak to nine games. Grady came across the plate for Cotuit’s 10th run on a bunt after swiping third base. A wild pitch plated Eldridge Figueroa (Arkansas Little Rock) to push the lead to eight. Bridges capped the inning with a two-out, RBI-single to put the Kettleers up 12-3.
Coach Roberts was thrilled to see his offense keep the foot on the gas pedal. He said, “You always want to build on a lead. You never want to sit on it. Bourne can really swing the bat and we respect them greatly. It was wonderful to be able to do that in the sixth.”
Despite already producing their sixth double-digit game in the last eight games, the Kettleers’ offense wasn’t satisfied. Martorella and Suggs opened the seventh with back-to-back singles. Grady skied a three-run home run over the right field fence to put Cotuit up 15-4. The homer was Grady’s third in the last five games and fifth of the summer. The switch-hitter has produced multiple hits in six straight games.
Martorella: 3-5, HR, 2B, 3 R, 3 RBI
Grady: 2-5, HR, 4 RBI, 2 R, BB
Mathews: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 9 K
Suggs: 2-3, HR, 2 RBI, R, BB
Brown: 2-5, R, RBI
Ritter: 2-4, 2 R, BB
Bridges: 2-5, R, RBI
Up next: Game two of the three game series will be at Lowell Park on Saturday. The Braves were 1-1 at Cotuit during the regular season. The Kettleers won the last matchup at Lowell Park by a score of 13-2. If the Kettleers win on Saturday, they’ll advance to the Championship series. First pitch of game two is scheduled for 4:00 PM.