By Lance Reynolds
Whether it be at the plate, in the field, or on the base paths, left fielder Carlos Cortes has certainly been doing his job for the Y-D Red Sox through the first week of the season.
Cortes did his job, once again, and was a difference-maker in Thursday?s 5-3 win over the Cotuit Kettleers at Red Wilson Field.
The Red Sox found themselves down 2-0 after the first half-inning of play, and unlike Wednesday?s improbable 11-8 comeback victory over Chatham, the team made sure to chip away at their deficit early.
After Alex McKenna reached base in the bottom of the first with a leadoff single to center, Cortes stepped to the plate looking to drive in Y-D?s first run. Working a full-count, the starting left fielder knew he swung over the first two strikes of the at-bat. On the sixth pitch, however, ?Cortes got the barrel of his bat to the ball and lined a single up the middle bringing in McKenna to trim the Cotuit lead to 2-1.
?I thought to myself: ?I have to think middle here, middle backside here,?? Cortes said. ?He left a pitch over the plate for me to hit right back up the middle, and I did my job to score the run.?
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Cortes delivered once again. The left fielder knew what he was going to be getting on the first pitch of the at-bat, and he got it. The reward for knowing what was coming was the fourth Red Sox run with Cortes knocking in McKenna on a base hit through the right side of the infield.
?I?ve been getting a lot of first pitch fastballs in and I knew it was coming,? Cortes said. ?I just ambushed it, and again, just doing my job to score the run.?
In addition to adding his second run-batted-in, Cortes showed off some heads-up baserunning on the hit to shallow right field. Instead of settling for just a single, he decided to stretch it into a double. The decision was worth the risk with Cortes just beating the throw from Kettleer right fielder Griffin Conine. Two batters later, Alfonso Rivas, who was making his Y-D debut, drove Cortes in on a groundout for the fifth and final Red Sox run.
?The way the grass plays out here ? thick grass ? the ball is going to stop if you hit it hard, so I was thinking two the entire time,? Cortes said. ?Coach was saying: ?Go, go, go!? and I was trying to get their the whole time.?
Cortes, who hasn?t skipped a beat at the plate in his transition from his freshman season at South Carolina to the Cape Cod Baseball League, holds a blustering and team-leading .458 batting average through Y-D?s seven games on the season.
?This is a fun place to play,? Cortes said. ?I?m getting a lot of pitches to hit, and I?m taking advantage of them.?
Luke Miller belted a game-winning two-run homer in the bottom of the fourth inning. It marks Miller?s home run for the season and was the sixth home run hit by the Red Sox during their three game homestand.
?I think we are just getting more comfortable at the box,? Miller said of the power showed by the team over the past three games. ?Everyone is playing together, and we are playing more as a team. It helps at-bats go more smoothly.?
Y-D (5-1-1) is on the road Friday at Guv Fuller Field in Falmouth to take on the Commodores with a 6:00 p.m. first pitch.