By Sam Blum
June 30, 2014
BOURNE – In 2012, Cotuit manager Mike Roberts said that the Cape Cod League used a flubber ball, and there were twice as many home runs as he had ever seen that year.
On Monday night, he said he thought he was back in the flubber ball era.
“I don’t know what kind of game it was,” Roberts said. “It was kind of unusual.”
The Kettleers (9-9) belted four home runs in a blowout, 16-6 win over Bourne (12-6) at Doran Park. Austin Byler, Ian Rice, Grant Kay and Drew Jackson all went deep as the offense carried Cotuit to its largest offensive outburst of the season.
“I know the wind’s blowing out, but I can’t believe how many balls went near the fence and over the fence,” Roberts said.
Byler, who is playing his last game with the Kettleers before he signs a contract with the Washington Nationals, blasted a home run to right field to start of the second inning.
With two on and one out just four batters later, Rice hit is first home run of the season to left field. The center fielder and left fielder converged trying to make a play before it fell over the wall. It was 5-0 as Rice rounded the bases.
“I finally get in a groove right when I’m about to leave,” Byler said. “And it was awesome, the first pitch of the game that I saw was a home run. That’s a lasting memory that I’ll have forever.”
The Braves cut the lead to 5-4 in the bottom of the inning, but the bats stayed hot for Cotuit. The Kettleers loaded the bases on three infield singles and squeezed across two runs to get the momentum back.
With Cotuit leading 10-4 just two innings later, Rice sparked a rally by getting hit with a pitch with the bases loaded. Two singles followed, and it was 15-4.
“I think everything’s starting to come together for everyone,” Byler said. “People are starting to get in a groove, get a feel for the pitching out here, I think the sky’s the limit for this team.”
After the game, all of the coaches and players lined up to say their farewell to Byler. Tonight, his offense was the catalyst that Cotuit needed to take control of the game.
In his short time with the Kettleers, he belted a league-leading four home runs.
Tonight, it came to a close with a 3-for-6 performance.
“Austin’s a very good player, I hate to see him go, but I’m happy for him,” Roberts said. “Are we going to have to step it up? Big time.”
Byler, though, was more interested in talking about the way the team played. And just one night after Roberts criticized his team’s performance in his post game huddle, his mood, and the team’s mood was more lighthearted.
For one night, it was a game of flubber ball.
Up next: Cotuit hosts Chatham on Wednesday, following a Cape League off day on Tuesday.