By Matt Schneidman
June 11, 2014
Cotuit head coach Mike Roberts has barely seen his pitchers throw.
And despite the 3-2 loss to Hyannis in Wednesday night’s season opener at McKeon Park, the three-man committee of Daniel Lewis (Pensacola St.), Trey Wingenter (Auburn) and Jeff Kinley (Michigan State) battled through multiple dangerous situations, two Cotuit errors and combined for only two earned runs on three hits, striking out six.
“They’re really good, and I know we’ve got to pick them up defensively,” second baseman DC Arendas said. “Those errors probably led to a run or two, so that’s something we know we can work on going forward.”
Roberts knew his starter has had his mind far away from the baseball diamond for the past four years, but he trusted Lewis on the mound to kick off the season.
The right-hander kept the Harbor Hawks hitless through the first two innings and despite loading the bases with one out in the third, escaped allowing only one run.
“You’ve got a 23-year-old young man out there starting,” Roberts said. “He spent four years in the military, didn’t pick up a baseball, played rugby and now he’s back pitching.”
After Lewis walked leadoff hitter Joe Purritano (Dartmouth) in the fourth, the 6-foot, 7-inch Wingenter came on in relief. He struck out the first batter, but Purritano stole second and Dylan Bosheers (Tenn.Tech) drove him in on a subsequent RBI single. That was followed by an infield hit by Dalton Britt (Liberty) and, all of a sudden, Hyannis had runners on first and second with one out, having already scored a run in the inning.
But Wingenter battled, striking out David Houser (Tennessee) looking and Cam Gibson (Mich. St) swinging to halt any further damage.
The right-hander threw a 1-2-3 fifth and got Purritano to ground out to start the sixth, but after a Sam Haggerty (New Mexico) double and walk to Bosheers, Roberts called in the lefty Kinley from the bullpen.
Kinley got Dalton Britt to line out to right, but then hit David Houser to load the bases. Kinley walked Cam Gibson to force in a run, but once again allowed the Kettleers to avoid further damage by inducing an inning-ending groundout with the bases loaded.
The lefty carried over strongly in the eighth, retiring the side in order and giving Cotuit a fighting chance going into the top of the ninth.
Even though the Kettleers were on the losing end of a one-run game on opening night, the three pitchers battled through tough situations that kept Cotuit at a distance that could’ve been much worse.
For a head coach entering his 11th season at the helm of the Kettleers, Roberts knows how tricky it is to put together a rotation at the start of a season.
But for Cotuit’s first go at putting a pitching staff together, Lewis, Wingenter and Kinley hardly disappointed.
“They did a really good job,” Roberts said. “I mean I haven’t seen them pitch. I think all of them did a really good job.”