By Matt Schneidman
June 28, 2014
Video Recap by Axel Boada HERE
Saturday’s win over East-Division leader Harwich Mariners was a Mike Roberts kind of win.
All season, he’s preached his small-ball philosophy and tried to get his players to buy in.
On Saturday, they certainly did that and for the second consecutive day, the Kettleers were driven to victory by the small things. Cotuit (8-8) used several sacrifice bunts to get itself a lead in the fourth, and held on for a 3-1 triumph over the Mariners (11-5) at Lowell Park on Saturday night.
“We’re just focusing on executing and finally executing what were trying to do,” said Jake Fincher (North Carolina State). “I think five or six bunt hits, that same bunt play that’s worked out for us. It’s not a bad thing to go back to.”
After Logan James (Stanford) surrendered the only run of the day for Harwich in the fourth, the hosts stormed right back with two of their own in the bottom half.
Cotuit put runners on first and second to start the inning, and Brendan Hendriks (San Francisco) moved them both over with a perfectly placed sacrifice bunt.
Roberts then called for a suicide squeeze, and Fincher followed suit with another timely bunt that brought in Whalen and tied the game at one.
“We’re ready to bunt, always,” Fincher said. “Whenever there’s a guy on third, really, if the third baseman or first baseman is back, it’s always a good option to get a run in because it’s so tough to score in this league.”
Jeremy Taylor (East Tennessee State) followed Fincher by lofting a bloop single to right, giving Cotuit a one-run lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
Taylor has been putting in a lot of extra hitting work with Roberts and even after Friday’s win against Hyannis when pitching dominated, Roberts was quick to praise Taylor’s approach at the plate as of late.
“I haven’t realized all my potential that I have, but I have a lot more power that I haven’t used,” Taylor said. “I’ve been going through a little rough stretch, but I’ve been working really hard and it’s finally paying off, so I was just happy to help the team.”
The Kettleers would add one more run via a wild pitch in the eighth, but relievers Adam Whitt (Nevada) and Jeff Kinley (Michigan State) dominated out of the bullpen.
On Saturday, the pitching overshadowed the hitting, but Roberts is fine with that.
He’s finally getting through to his players with the way he wants them to see the game.
“What I’m pleased about is, I have a philosophy,” Roberts said. “I’ve got to get the guys to buy in, then execute and enjoy doing it, and maybe win some games that we possibly shouldn’t have won.
“And today could be one of those.”