By: Sean Bailey, Writing Intern, Providence College
July 5, 2013
YARMOUTH – July is a month of change for Cape Cod residents. Tourists start flooding in, packing major roadways. The days grow hotter, and the beaches become more crowded. July also brings many changes for the Cape Cod Baseball League, as teams are nearly set, with all those participating in the College World Series arriving to their Cape teams. Since July, there has also been a change for the Kettleers. And that change has been a prolonged absence from winning baseball, as the Kettleers dropped their third straight Friday at Yarmouth-Dennis, losing 10-0.
“Well the intensity level is not very good,” said Manager Mike Roberts after the game, “What happens in this league is that around July 1st all the guys start showing up from Omaha, the USA team is set, and the level of play goes up. And the last couple of days our players have gotten a rude awakening that the level of play has gone up, and ours hasn’t. It will get better.”
The trouble came early and often for Cotuit. In the bottom of the second inning Alex Haines (Seton Hill) pitched himself into a jam, giving up a first pitch single to center, before issuing five straight walks to bring in two runs for the Red Sox.
“My job is to get back to the bullpen and help these guys out,” said Roberts, “We have to stay behind the baseball, what I call going North-South. It is not easy to cure, it’s a daily process. If we throw strikes we will be okay. They are getting behind in the count and throwing fastballs in fastball counts. You can’t do that at any level, when you are in fastball counts you have to continue throwing off speed stuff.”
Jared Walsh (Georgia) came in with the bases loaded and no outs in the second, and did a terrific job escaping damage, forcing a pop out, a sacrifice fly to deep center, then a weak ground out to second base. Walsh’s success continued as he threw four scoreless innings, striking out three and only allowing two hits. He kept them in the game, holding the Red Sox within striking distance at 3-0.
The problem for Cotuit was that they could not string together any hits against Daniel Savas (Indiana State). Savas cruised through seven innings, striking out seven and only allowing two hits and two walks. In his seven innings Savas only faced 22 batters, one above the minimum. He mixed a solid fastball with two types of breaking balls. A quick, sharp moving one, followed by a big, slow moving one that traveled as slow as 65 miles an hour. It was enough to keep Kettleer hitters off balance all game.
In spite of their poor play Cotuit was still hanging in there. However, the Red Sox exploded for five runs in the sixth. It started with a ground ball single between first and second. A walk moved runners to first and second. Then a bunt was dropped right in front of the plate, however pitcher Mike Ford’s (Princeton) throw pegged the runner in the back, keeping everyone safe. The next batter took a mighty swing, but only pushed the ball a couple feet in front of home. The ball though scooted past Ford, and Edwin Rios (Florida International) and Drew Jackson (Stanford) could not corral the ball, loading the bases. These plays proved costly as D.J Stewart (Florida State) unloaded on a fastball up for a grand slam to right field. The homerun was effectively the dagger digging into the Kettleers for the game.
Cotuit’s only opportunity came in the eighth. Walsh led off the inning with a double down the right field line. Hunter Cole (Georgia) drew a walk. Nolan Clark (Concordia) bounced into a double play to shortstop, moving Walsh to third. However, Jackson bounced out to shortstop to end the inning.
Cotuit only had runners in scoring position twice, and had only seven batters reach base all game.
“That’s the challenge of the Cape League,” said Roberts, “There is a lot of ups and downs. Not many teams mow their way through the schedule, and we are in one of those valleys. I am looking forward to the challenge of pulling ourselves out of it.”
The team will look to snap their three game losing streak this Saturday at Hyannis at 6 p.m.