By Sam Blum, Syracuse University
June 14, 2014
Video Highlights by Axel Boada HERE
COTUIT – Andrew Stevenson (Louisiana State) knocked his bat against his shoe and whipped it behind his back as his face squinted in frustration. Cotuit ran off the field, having avoided the biggest scoring threat Yarmouth–Dennis would have all night.
Stevenson’s strikeout was a moment unlike any the Kettleers have experienced this season. In the clutch situations, the pitching staff hasn’t been able to convert.
A sixth-inning bases loaded walk on Wednesday cost them the season-opener. A two-out, two-run triple in the ninth inning on Thursday made Cotuit 0-2.
“If you’re going to be a detailed and eventually somewhat of a polished club,” Kettleers manager Mike Roberts said, “you’ve got to be able to handle the seventh, eighth and ninth innings.”
The pitching staff led the charge in Cotuit’s (1-2) 2-1 win over Y-D (0-3) on Saturday, allowing only five hits and one run. Sam Tewes (Wichita State) got the win, coming in relief of Blake Stevens (Birmingham Southern).
In total, five pitchers appeared for the Kettleers.
“Every pitcher on the staff, they’re here for a reason, they’re all good, we got good arms,” said Adam Whitt (Nevada), who recorded the save. “It’s just going to take a week or an outing or so for everyone to get comfortable.”
Stevens dominated the first couple innings. After retiring Stevenson on a ground out to start the game, he struck out the next four batters he faced. His fastball was sitting at 90 miles per hour and he was hitting all of his spots.
Tewes picked up where Stevens left off to start the fifth. He didn’t allow a hit until the seventh inning.
And with two runners in scoring position and just one out that inning, he recorded a fly out and strikeout to keep the lead in Cotuit’s hands.
“We all have a shutdown mentality,” Tewes said.
It’s a mentality that has had to thrive in the face of adjustment in the early part of the season for pitching staff. Tewes is normally a starter for the Shockers. He said he needed more time to warm-up before coming in.
Whitt said that it’s going to take some time for the staff to perfect the changeup, a pitch that Roberts is known for having his pitchers throw.
On Saturday, though, the staff’s uneasiness didn’t stick out. Its dominance did.
“It was special to see all these guys pitch,” catcher Jameson Fisher (Southeastern Lousiana) said. “The best pitchers around in the country and every time I get to catch one of them it’s a learning experience and it’s a lot of fun.”
Roberts said he wants every game his team plays to be a one-run game. Thus far, all three of them have been.
The reasoning lies in his desire to have a polished team. Playing one-run games expedites that process.
And on Saturday, his team looked as polished as it had in its first week. Each of the last three innings, the Red Sox had a runner in scoring position. Each time, the pitching staff ended the threat.
“Pitching is baseball,” Roberts said. “It’ll never be an offensive game. Those days are over, and to me it never was anyway. Pitching, defense, base running, bunting, that’s the way we’re going to play.”
Up next: Cotuit (1-2) travels to Chatham (1-2) for a doubleheader starting at 4 p.m. on Sunday. Y-D (0-3) is home for a doubleheader against Wareham (1-1) starting at 2 p.m.