Martinez’s hustle leads Cutters to win

Gustavo Martinez was benched in Wednesday night’s game for a lack of hustle. The Williamsport center fielder made up for it Thursday night.

Martinez sprinted down the first-base line to beat the throw of Auburn shortstop Kyle Attl for an infield single. Attl’s throw sailed over first baseman Jimmy Yezzo for an error which allowed Dylan Cozens to score from second base.

Cozens’ run was the game-winner in the Crosscutters’ 3-2 victory over the Doubledays on Thursday night at Bowman Field.

The eighth inning started with two quick outs before Cozens was walked and Logan Pierce singled advancing Cozens to second. Martinez stepped into the box and hit a dribbler to Attl who then had to rush his throw to get Martinez.

“You create pressure on the defense when you hustle,” Williamsport manager Nelson Prada said. “That was a perfect example for him. If he didn’t hustle on that particular ground ball then the shortstop catches the ball and makes his throw.”

The Cutters’ offense has struggled the last couple of weeks but got an early boost in the second inning as the New York-Penn League leader in home runs Zach Green hit a towering solo home run to left field which gave the Cutters an early 1-0 lead. It was Green’s 11th home run of the season which leaves him just two behind Walter Young’s team record of 13 for a season.

After the first out in the inning and a Pierce walk, Martinez had a bunt single and advanced Pierce to second. Doubledays starter Nick Pivetta balked allowing Pierce and Martinez to advance to second and third. Jairo Cardozo grounded out, allowing Pierce to score to make it 2-0.

The offense wasn’t great Thursday night but it was good enough for pitchers Shane Martin, Manny Martinez and Mark Meadors. Martin got the start and pitched 3 2/3 innings of perfect baseball but had an error that put the runner on first. Yezzo followed with a triple down the right-field line to scored Bryan Lippincott.

The error and RBI triple ended Martin’s perfect game and shutout but it didn’t stop him from continued dominance.

“Not a good feeling at all,” Martin said. “But kind of took a moment to be frustrated but when I got back to the dugout I took a deep breath and went back out.”

Martin went five innings, allowing one hit and one unearned run. Relievers Martinez and Meadors also pitched well in the last four innings. Meadors earned his first professional win, pitching the final two innings, allowing one walk and striking out three.

A big reason why the pitching staff was able to be so successful was part of the defense behind them. Jairo Cardozo continues to make highlight plays at shortstop and Andrew Pullin made an amazing diving stop at second and threw out the runner from his knees.

Yezzo was the best hitter of the night going 2 for 4 with a triple and two RBIs. Reliever Mike Mudron took the loss for Auburn as he pitched the final inning giving up two hits, one run and two walks.

With the win the Cutters split the two-game series and improved to 26-28. The Crosscutters start a two-game series today at Batavia. They return home Sunday for a two-game series against Mahoning Valley.