By Matt Schneidman
June 20, 2014
COTUIT — For the first time this season, Cotuit was held scoreless.
Even though the Kettleers managed seven hits, they were unable to make a mark in the run column.
Cotuit (4-5) put a total of 11 runners on base but didn’t convert, as three were caught stealing and the other eight were left stranded in a 3-0 loss to Orleans (4-5) at Lowell Park on Friday night.
“It’s real frustrating as a team,” said Jake Fincher (North Carolina State). “But all you can really do is try to have competitive at-bats and get the guys in next time.”
In the first inning, Austin Byler (Nevada) led off with a walk and stole second, but was caught stealing third.
Although head coach Mike Roberts argued the call as it looked like Byler beat the tag, Roberts said it shouldn’t have even come to that.
“Two guys got thrown out because they weren’t supposed to be running,” Roberts said. “We don’t know our own signals and that’s a real problem right now.
“We’ve either got to change signals or change humans.”
After Caleb Whalen (Portland) was hit by a pitch, Logan Taylor (Texas A&M) moved him to third on a hit-and-run single. But an inning-ending lineout prevented the Kettleers from scoring either runner.
Fincher was caught stealing in the second and two runners were left on in the third, as six runners reached base in the first three innings without coming around to touch home plate.
“You can’t fix it, but work on things that you don’t do well,” Roberts said of the team’s struggles to bring runners around. “You repeat it, and you repeat it and you repeat it, and as you go through the season, then you begin to hope that when people are on third base, you get the ball in the outfield.”
Cotuit starter Sam Tewes (Wichita State) only allowed two runs in five solid innings, and both were unearned. It was the longest a Kettleers’ starter has lasted this season, and it was a performance strong enough to give the stagnant bats a chance to comeback.
And despite several miscues in the field that put the hosts in a deficit, Tewes still shouldered the blame for the loss.
“I mean everybody makes a mistake here once in a while,” Tewes said. “I made a couple shakeups and let up a couple hits, so it’s my fault as much as anybody else’s.”
But Cotuit’s baserunning faltered again in the fourth when Austin Perritt (Liberty) was thrown out trying to steal second. Logan James (Stanford) and Nick Eicholtz (Alabama) shut down Orleans’ bats for the next three innings, but Cotuit was also silenced, as it was held hitless over that stretch.
The eighth brought about an all-too-familiar scenario when the Kettleers loaded the bases, something they did just two nights ago against Bourne when they were only able to bring in one runner with no outs.
With two outs and the bags full, pinch-hitter Brendan Hendriks (San Francisco) hit a laser to right-center, but Johnny Sewald (Arizona State) was able to comfortably make the catch to halt a threat.
Cotuit was retired in order in the ninth and with his team’s third-straight loss, Roberts was forced to face to reality of his team’s status at the plate right now.
“Right now we’re pretty much a ground ball club and I think you can see that,” Roberts said. “We really have very little power, so we’re going to have to manufacture until we can figure out a way to get the ball in the outfield more.”