By Sam Blum
June 11, 2014
HYANNIS – It was another pitch that Logan Taylor (Texas A&M) couldn’t lay off. This time, though, he swung right through it.
Cotuit was down one run with the bases loaded and one out. Taylor had squared up on the previous two pitches, sending both foul. The momentum of the game hung in the balance of the at bat.
Cotuit was right where it wanted to be.
Then in an instant, the hope turned to disappointment. Taylor struck out, then Jeremy Taylor (East Tennessee State) bounced a soft grounder to short to end the game.
“I felt like I could elevate it and put it out in the outfield, but I was a little too underneath it,” Logan Taylor said. “It just didn’t happen tonight.”
The Kettleers left seven runners on base in the final three innings of their first game as defending Cape Cod League champions on Wednesday night, falling to Hyannis, 3-2 at McKeon Park.
Even with the bats clicking to the tune of 10 hits, it was the late execution with runners in scoring position that proved to be the difference.
“When it comes to one-run games, I’ve got to teach them how to execute to be able to win,” Cotuit manager Mike Roberts said. “If you look at the ninth inning, we didn’t swing at a strike, the first four hitters.”
In the first inning, the Kettleers scored featuring the speed-heavy offense that it’s become known for.
Jameson Fisher (Southeastern Louisiana) singled on the first pitch to left field. He reached second on a double play ball because he was stealing before the pitch. He then scored on a Kyle Holder (San Diego) single up the middle.
Logan Taylor singled in the next at bat. But Cotuit would strand both its base runners that inning, setting the tone for what would become the opening-night theme.
“The seventh, eighth and ninth inning – I talked to the guys – ‘If you really know how to play this game, then you’ll execute in seven, eight and nine. If you’re nervous, struggle, you’re not polished, you’re not gonna execute.’”
In the eighth inning, with the tying and leading runs in scoring position, Daniel Sweet (Polk State Junior College) and Steve Karkenny (The Master’s College) both struck out.
The Harbor Hawks didn’t light up the scoreboard, but scored the decisive run when it counted. Jeff Kinley (Michigan State) walked college teammate Cam Gibson in the sixth with the bases loaded, in what was the eventual game-winning play.
For the final 2 1/3 innings, Kinley pitched nearly flawless baseball. The offense got four hits, two walks and also reached on an error, but was unable to make up the deficit.
“Our first game, we obviously know what we’ve got to work on,” second baseman DC Arendas said. “That’s one of the things we know we’ve got to do going forward, when we get guys on, gettem in.”
Roberts said that in a one-run game, he doesn’t just look at only the final innings. He looks at the scoreboard and thinks about every little thing that could have been the difference.
He said that even though it was only one game, it’s his fault, and needs to better prepare his team to execute in the future.
But even after the game – a disheartening loss to follow up a magical championship run – Roberts still flashed a smile. It was the first game, a lone blemish with two months of baseball to play.
“I don’t worry about it at all game by game,” Roberts said. “What I wanna do is get better, and each individual get better and collectively. And that’s kind of what you go back and do.
“You try to get better every day.”