By Roy Reiss
July 25, 2013
As we head down the back stretch of the season, here are more rambling thoughts and maybe a little insight as we look forward to the playoffs!
- Depth and adjusting to new roles is going to be a major factor for this year’s Kettleers over the remainder of the season. What was once a strength of the team, pitching depth, is now something that will challenge the Kettleers over the last few weeks. Injuries and players leaving for home will open up opportunities for others to step up and assume larger roles for themselves. Three key pitchers to watch are Adam Ravenelle (Vanderbilt), John Hochstatter (Stanford) and David Schmidt (Stanford). Each will get the chance for more innings with Ravenelle being counted on to close games if Brian Miller (Vanderbilt) needs to rest his arm. There’s that old saying in sports that athletes had best be prepared when opportunity knocks. The two best examples of athletes who succeeded would have to be Lou Gehrig who stepped in for Wally Pipp and never came out of the lineup and Tom Brady who subbed for the injured Drew Bledsoe and became an All Pro. Let’s see what happens with Ravenelle, Hochstatter, and Schmidt over the next 14 days!
Flying under the radar this season has been catcher Nolan Clark (Concordia) who has been a superman behind the plate. It’s quite a story as Clark came here as a temp player knowing he had 3 catchers in front of him on the depth chart. He hadn’t caught an inning of baseball in a year and a half when he landed at Lowell Park due to injuries and a red shirt season. When all 3 backstops went down either thru injuries, Team USA or signing with a major league team, Clark was left standing or should we say squatting behind home plate. And he’s done a lot of that the last several weeks. In fact Clark who may be the oldest player in the CCBL at 23 years of age, has now caught 3 innings or more in over 20 straight games. He’s started the last 15 in a row according to Cotuit writing intern Nick Solari, many of those games in extreme heat and humidity. Thru it all Clark is enjoying himself immensely, getting the chance to play every day. However, there has been one concern. It seems he’s lost almost 20 pounds the last several weeks wearing the catcher’s gear daily throughout the recent heat wave.
- It’s a brand new phrase coined by Coach Mike Roberts, “situational baseball”. If you’re looking for examples, here’s one. Men on 1st and 2nd with no outs in the 8th inning with your team leading by 3 runs against Bourne. Rhett Wiseman, perhaps your hottest and best hitter in the last week, is up. “Situational baseball” says you take the bat out of Wiseman’s hands and he bunts the runners along into scoring position. You hope for the next 2 batters to drive in one or both base runners. The Kettleers executed that example of “situational baseball” perfectly the other night in their 8-5 victory over Bourne. However, in the 3 previous games, Cotuit batters couldn’t hit a fly ball or hit behind runners as they stranded 27 runners on base, many in scoring position. They simply didn’t play solid “situational baseball.”
- Heading into the final phase of the regular season, the Kettleers have a chance to win every season series with their opponents in the West while they have not fared as well against Eastern competition. Thru Wednesday night, Cotuit is 13-6 versus the 4 Western opponents while only 7-8-1 against Eastern teams.
- Questions….questions…questions….Did you ever wonder how many player transactions GM Bruce Murphy has made this year?….Outside of Lowell Park, what’s the next prettiest park in the CCBL?…..Who is the longest tenured house parent for the Kettleers?….Does anyone know who the individual was who picked out Jake Fincher’s new bat for the Bourne game (he got 3 hits with his new bat)?
- Things that May Interest Only Me…..Saw where ESPN’s Keith Law had former Kettleer Kyle Zimmer (2010) ranked as his 14th top Major League Prospect. Zimmer, whose brother Bradley (San Francisco) started the year in Cotuit before heading to Team USA, was the #1 draft pick of the Royals in 2012. The right handed hurler
has been most impressive in his last few starts, striking out 36 while walking only 3 in 25 innings.….What a thrill it must have been for many of the Kettleers players this past Tuesday as they took in the Red Sox-Tampa Bay game at Fenway Park. There’s nothing quite like an evening at the old ball park in the middle of a hot pennant race.
Kettleers Korner will be anything and everything that might interest fans, past and present, about the Kettleers. Roy Reiss, who started his career working for Curt Gowdy Broadcasting, was a former sportscaster on Channel 7 and several radio stations in Boston. His son Mike now covers the Patriots for ESPNBoston.com.