Drury Baseball Qualifies for Western Mass

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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CHESHIRE, Mass. -- Tyler Cote overcome a rocky start, and the Drury baseball team rolled to its 10th victory of the season with a 15-5 win over Hoosac Valley on Tuesday afternoon.
Thaylen Harrison went 4-for-5 with two doubles and two runs batted in, and Jake Tatro went 3-for-4 with three stolen bases to key a 17-hit Drury attack.
The victory makes Drury 10-5 on the season and eligible for the Western Massachusetts tournament with two weeks left in the regular season.
Cote struck out five in six innings of work. He righted his ship after  walking two and allowing two runs in the bottom of the first and got stronger as the game progressed.
In the fifth, he pitched around a leadoff triple, retiring the next three hitters on a pair of comebackers and a popup that he caught. In the sixth, he allowed two runs but stranded two runners before Tyler Briggs came on to pitch the seventh.
Cote credited his coaches and teammates for helping him settle down after a tough two innings to open the game.
"Giving up the two in the first with a lot of pitches, I knew the team had my back with their bats," Cote said. "We've had good bats all year. We knew we could be the better team today.
"And the coaches pulled me back in. Leaders on team brought me back in. And thanks to them."
Drury head coach Patrick Boulger said that Cote was a little keyed up going into the rivalry game.
"Hats off to Tyler Cote," Boulger said. "Struggled a little early, didn't find the zone the way he usually does.
"I just calmed him down. He was getting a little frustrated out there. It was a combination of Hoosac-Drury, the moment, the situation of being one win away [from Western Mass]. And I think he was bringing a little too much energy. You want him up, but I think he was a little too pumped up."
Cote took the mound with a 2-0 lead after Logan Rumbolt scored on a wild pitch and Jake Tatro drove in Schuyler Robinson in the top of the first.
But Hoosac (5-7) struck in the bottom of the first. Matt Braman led off the inning with a walk and stole second before coming home on a double by Matt Koperniak (3-for-3 with a double and a triple).
Koperniak ended up scoring on an error to tie the game.
And Hoosac went ahead in the bottom fo the second when Sean Ryan-Kut's double scored Braman to make it 3-2.
Drury regained the lead in the fourth on RBI singles by Cote and Rumbolt, and it added two more in the fifth when Shane Garvey and Harrison scored on wild pitches to make it 6-3.
The Blue Devils broke the game open with a five-run sixth. The big hit was a two-run single by Rumbolt, and a Hoosac error factored into the rally to make two of the runs unearned for Joey Buonoemani, the third of four Hoosac pitchers on the afternoon.
Hoosac got two runs back in the bottom of the sixth to make it 11-5. But Drury put the game away with a four-run seventh that featured a two-run double by Cote.
For the fifth time this season, Drury followed up a loss with a win, and it picked up its fourth win in its last five outings after losing to Taconic on Monday night at Joe Wolfe Field.
"Today, we made good adjustments at the plate," Boulger said. "We made [Hoosac starter Justin] Nichols throw a lot of pitches. We worked the count. We did what we had to do to win a very good ballgame a rivalry ballgame and a game that allows us to get to Western Mass.
"We're going to enjoy the 10 wins for about 25 minutes, and then we're going to talk about getting ourselves in the best possible position going into the tournament. ... With our pitching, I think we're as competitive as any team in Western Mass.
"But I cannot say enough about these guys. They've worked their tails off all season for me. They've persevered through some tough times. Yesterday, we had a tough game. We did not play to the best of our ability, and we follow that up with a rivalry game, and what do we do? We show what we're capable of doing. That's the grit of this team. I'm very proud of being their coach."
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