By Sam Blum, Syracuse
June 17, 2014
COTUIT – Casey Schroeder (Polk State JC) walked into the dugout to silence. His teammates were perched on the steps or on the bench watching the game.
He put his helmet down and waited for the joke to play itself out.
Then someone yelled and the entire dugout got up to congratulate the catcher after hitting the first home run of the season for Cotuit.
“I think that was the first time I’ve ever gotten that,” Schroeder said. “It was interesting. Once I got down there and nobody said anything, I was kind of expecting it. It was funny.”
Schroeder’s home run and Caleb Whalen’s (Portland) game-winning single highlighted a back and forth, offensive affair that saw Cotuit (4-2) come out on top, 7-6 over Bourne (4-2) at Lowell Park on Tuesday night. It was the Kettleers’ fourth straight win.
The first two times that Cotuit got the lead, it surrendered it right back to the Braves. But Whalen’s single up the middle in the sixth was enough the third time around.
“I wasn’t sure that would be (the deciding run). I was just hoping we’d score, and I was hoping we’d get another one later, but it just kind of worked out.
Whalen was struggling coming into the night, hitting just .067 in 15 at-bats. His hit, though, coupled with 10 more from his teammates led to the biggest offensive outburst of the season.
Cotuit used three hits and some tactical base running to put up two in the first. And after the Braves put up three runs in the third inning, the Kettleers scored four to grab the lead right back.
A Schroeder home run. A Jeremy Taylor (East Tennessee State) two-run double. A Drew Jackson (Stanford) RBI single. All of a sudden a 3-2 deficit was a 6-3 lead.
“What you hope will happen is that different players will come up daily with something positive,” Roberts said. “You want it to roll around the team. That way everybody’s confidence goes up.“
Roberts said he brought in seven players for extra hitting before the game started. It was then that Roberts helped Taylor with a hand adjustment at the plate.
When Taylor hit his two-RBI double into the left field gap, Roberts said he thought it was because of that adjustment.
Tomorrow, Roberts has seven more players coming in for extra hitting.
“We hadn’t had hardly any extra base hits. We had two doubles at Chatham in those 14 innings,” Roberts said. “Today we got a home run and a couple doubles.”
Roberts is a self-proclaimed small-ball manager, but even he was happy with the way the bats displayed themselves on Tuesday afternoon.
Ineffective pitching and sloppy defense allowed Bourne to tie the game in the six.
And with the light beginning to fade, and the mist fogging the air, it was the offense once again that gave the Kettleers some separation.
It was a game unlike any other Cotuit had played in the first week its season, but it was enough to keep its winning streak intact.
Said Roberts: “Days like this are normally kind of an aberration.
Up next: Cotuit (4-2) travels to Doran Park for a 6 p.m. game against Bourne (4-2).