BOURNE – Every time Victor Roache (Georgia Southern) came to the plate, the Cotuit announcers would talk about his NCAA league leading 30 homeruns. Each time he dug into the batters box, the crowd would wonder if this was going to be his first home run as a Kettleer.
Finally, in the 7th inning with his team down 2-1, Roache belted a three run shot to left center field to give his team the lead. The blast proved to be enough as Cotuit topped the Bourne Braves 4-2.
“He missed with a change up, and I was able to barrel it up,” Roache explained. “I’m just trying to have quality at bats. I’m ecstatic with how I’m hitting right now, so I’m just trying to keep it rolling.”
The inning was set up by a Luke Maile (Kentucky) single that split the left side of the infield. After a Patrick Biondi (Michigan) strikeout, Kyle Wren (Georgia Tech) took a curve ball off his helmet to get on base. Roache then delivered with his first home run of the year.
“Well I was hoping he would bail me out from the worst coaching job in history,” joked Cotuit manager Mike Roberts.
His sarcasm stems from his normally efficient system of heavy stealing and timely bunting being rather anemic tonight. Base runners for Cotuit were caught in three run downs and they were picked off twice. No Kettleer nabbed a bag tonight.
Roberts chose to point the finger at himself. “We struggled. Just bad coaching. Period.”
In the second inning, Patrick Biondi laid down an impeccable bunt that not only landed him safely at first, but it scored Kevin Mager (Rollins) from third to give the Kettleers an early 1-0 lead. It was Biondi’s third RBI of the year.
For most of the game, Cotuit enjoyed that one run lead behind starting pitcher Alex Keudell (Oregon). For six strong innings, Keudell didn’t walk anybody, gave up five hits, struck out three, and only gave up one earned run.
The run was part of a two run seventh inning by Bourne. Brave’s catcher Blake Crohan (Tulane) shot one to short that took a weird hop in front of Kevin Mager who let the ball get by him. Keudell was yanked for righty Cullen Park (Tennessee Tech). Zach Alvord (Auburn) welcomed Cullen into the game by smacking a triple to right field scoring Crohan.
Alvord was glad his coach gave him the green light.
“Coach was really generous with me, instead of having me bunt to get the guy over, he gave me a swing. Got a pitch that way, did a good job with it, and found myself on third base.”
Mike Lebel (URI) later knocked Alvord in with a single to center off of Paul Snieder (Northwestern). Snieder got defensive help from, guess who, Victor Roache. Roache ended the inning with a diving grab in right field robbing Kyle Farmer (Georgia) of an extra base hit.
The pitcher of the game was Bobby Wahl (Ole Miss), who trucked through the entire line up over two innings en route to his first save of the year.
Perhaps it was the pro scouts that were peering behind home plate. Or maybe it was the thought of Cotuit’s closer role not being settled. Whatever it was, Bobby pitched like he had something to prove.
Wahl showed composure, confidence, and velocity on the mound. He attacked the Bourne line up with a fiery fastball that topped out at 95. Five of the six outs Wahl recorded were strikeouts, three of which were of the backwards K variety. Outside of a single and two fastballs that were just off the plate (although, according to the Cotuit faithful they were not), which yielded two walks by Wahl, it was an electric relief performance.
“Felt like I worked with the fastball early, kept throwing it for strikes. That’s definitely what I was going with today.”
When asked about the idea of closing, Wahl made it clear that he was willing to do whatever was asked of him.
“I was at Ole Miss closing for a little bit, so I definitely feel comfortable there. But whatever Coach Roberts wants me to do, that’s what I’m going to do.”
He definitely gave Mike Roberts something to think about at night.
“Bobby Wahl really showed me that he has closer mentality potential. He really threw the ball well. I think he’s got great composure.”
It should be noted that in the eighth inning, the only out of Wahl’s that wasn’t a strike out was an absolute web gem from Kevin Mager. What looked to be a sure single from DJ Hicks (UCF) turned into a spectacular defensive play. The sprawling Mager made a full extension grab ranging to his left. He snagged the ball before it reached the ground or the outfield. If any cameras were rolling, it would have absolutely been the top play on Sportscenter.
Cotuit is off tomorrow. They will face the Chatham Anglers Friday at 5:00 PM. The game is at Lowell Park.
Be sure to break out your red attire in honor of the military.