HARWICH ─ In a pitcher's duel, someone eventually has to win, and in the case of the Monomoy baseball team's game last Wednesday against D-Y, in spite of stellar pitching from Owen Cottle, the Dolphins prevailed with a 2-0 victory after seven innings.
“The good news is Owen Cottle pitched probably his best game of the year,” said Monomoy head coach Steve Wilson.
Cottle pitched the full seven innings, and according to Wilson was economical with pitches by throwing first pitch strikes five of seven times, while allowing six hits and one walk, with three strikeouts.
“He kept the game going, worked quickly, and the team played good defense behind him,” said Wilson.
What hurt the Shark squad were two successful suicide squeezes by the Dolphins, one in the fifth inning, and the other in the final frame which brought in D-Y's two runs. Meanwhile, Monomoy missed its chance at a squeeze in the third.
“So it was a matter of execution, but it was a well-played, error-free ballgame,” Wilson said.
Wilson gave credit to Dolphin pitcher Charlie McCaffrey, who held the Sharks to just three hits and two walks in the outing.
“Sometimes you have to tip your hat to the other pitcher, and at the same time we need to make adjustments. He pitched a great game and kept us off-balance,” said Wilson. “We only had three hits. You're not going to do much with three hits.”
In spite of their flat bats, the Sharks played solid defense, with each of Monomoy's three outfielders – Isaac Hart, Christ “Cree” Amezquita, and Eli Nickerson – making key catches.
“They all made some very good running catches,” said Wilson. “A couple of times I wasn't sure, but Cree covers a lot of ground out there when he gets going.”
That defense, combined with Cottle's pitching, allowed the Sharks to hold the Dolphins scoreless until the fifth inning when a bunt from Sam Capobianco brought in Brandon Dunn for the first run of the game. Wilson said his team ran into trouble defending that squeeze and the followup in the seventh.
Earlier in the week the Sharks traveled to Sandwich, suffering a tough 13-2 loss.
“That was a tough one,” said Wilson. “Cree did a nice job in the first three innings, but then gave up three runs in the third, and two in the sixth.”
The Sharks scored three runs in the fifth, but that was all they could manage, and Wilson said defensively their game play wasn't as strong as it was against the Dolphins.
Though some question why the D4 Sharks compete against D2 teams such as the Dolphins, Wilson feels it helps to boost their skills, especially since the school changed leagues from the South Shore League to the Cape and Islands League.
“I think it's important for Monomoy to play competitive baseball,” he said. “In the South Shore League, it's the strongest division league in the South, comprised of both D3 and D4 teams. It's historically one of the strongest leagues in the South.”
As the Cape and Islands League is different from the South Shore League, playing teams of varying calibers keeps Monomoy sharp, said Wilson.
“It's important that we get better each and every week by executing baseball strategies and skills,” he said.
In spite of the loss to D-Y, Wilson was happy with his team's efforts.
“What pleased me most was the attitude and effort of the team,” he said. “We've talked a lot about body language and we played with energy and enthusiasm. What we can take from that game is that we played good defense and we need to execute better in terms of hitting.”
Next up for the Sharks, weather permitting, is a trip to Nantucket today for a 4 p.m. contest, with another away game slated for tomorrow at Sacred Heart in Kingston. The Sharks return home on May 5 against Sacred Heart for a 3:30 start.