By Matt Schneidman
June 29, 2014
WAREHAM — In the postgame huddle, head coach Mike Roberts told his team that its performance was more like a circus rather than baseball.
All season he has emphasized the need for “polish,” and on Sunday, there wasn’t much of that.
Cotuit (8-9) was doomed by multiple errors, baserunning mistakes and poor pitch selection, as it fell 7-6 to Wareham (6-11) at Spillane Field on Sunday night. It seemed as if the last two wins – in which the Kettleers gave up a combined three runs and minimized mistakes it had often made – were suddenly a distant memory.
“I thought we made a lot of mistakes tonight,” said Rhett Wiseman (Vanderbilt). “A lot of mistakes on both sides, but at the end we made more.
“When you mess up that many times, we just gave the game to the other side tonight.”
In the bottom of the second, second baseman Caleb Whalen was unable to field two-straight ground balls, which put runners on the corners with one out for the Gatemen.
The hosts went on to score two runs in the inning to take an early lead, and forced the Kettleers to fight from behind from the get-go.
They did just that, tying the game in the next half-inning on a Logan Taylor (Texas A&M) two-out, two-run home run after he had fouled off several pitches.
“I let the ball get deep and just put a good swing on it,” Taylor said. “I just got lucky the ball just kept carrying, just did what I could to help out.”
And unlike it’s struggled to do all season, Cotuit continued a two-out rally, tacking on three more runs, two of which were courtesy of an Austin Byler (Nevada) two-run shot to right.
But the 5-2 lead didn’t last long.
Starter Jackson McClelland struggled to start the fourth, surrendering singles to four of the first five batters.
Similar to his first start of the season against Yarmouth-Dennis, McClelland breezed through the first couple batters of the game but then ran into trouble with his pitches.
Wiseman bobbled a Willie Calhoun (Arizona) single in right, which allowed Corey Ray (Louisville) to score easily from second and tie the game at five, while Wiseman was charged with an error just innings after making an acrobatic sliding catch.
“No matter how many runs we scored, I don’t think we deserved to win that game,” Wiseman said. “We made a lot of errors.”
While it may have seemed that the visitors racked up more errors than the two they did, it was because of the relapses in poor fundamentals that don’t show up in the error column.
On the first pitch of the fifth inning, Ashton Perritt (Liberty) gave up a towering home run to Jake Little (Memphis) to give Wareham a one-run lead.
Then, with two outs in the sixth and runners on first and second, Jake Fincher (North Carolina State) was picked off second and eventually tagged out in a rundown.
Wareham never relinquished that lead and made Cotuit regret the handful of small errors it made over the course of the game.
One day after saying that he was thrilled with the direction his team was heading in, Roberts was now naming less-competitive summer leagues that players lacking in basic fundamentals could play in.
“Everything he said was true,” Taylor said. “We just got to be better at, like he said, fundamentals and routine plays. It’ll keep us in the ball game and we should’ve won that, but we learn from it.”
UP NEXT: Cotuit plays at Bourne on Monday at 6 p.m. and Wareham hosts Y-D at 7 p.m. on Monday.