By Matt Schneidman
June 17, 2014
WHITT STABILIZES GAME, EARNS WIN ON THE MOUND
Adam Whitt (Nevada) doesn’t overpower batters.
His sidearm motion is just plain old effective, and that showed in Cotuit’s (4-2) 7-6 win over Bourne (4-2) at Lowell Park on Tuesday night.
The Kettleers led 6-3 heading to the sixth, but Trey Wingenter (Auburn) made a throwing error, threw a wild pitch and all of a sudden the game was tied at six with one out and men on first and second.
The first batter he faced singled, but Harrison Bader (Florida) was held at third and the bases were loaded. Whitt then calmly struck out Logan Ratledge (North Carolina State) and Richie Martin (Florida) looking to escape the jam.
“I went out there and my fastball was just moving a lot,” Whitt said. “I didn’t really need to blow it by anybody today because it was moving so much.”
In the bottom of the sixth, a Caleb Whalen RBI single put the hosts ahead by one and gave Whitt all he’d need to work with.
He faced the minimum six batters over the next two innings and even after Billy Fleming (West Virginia) reached base via an error in the eighth, Whitt induced an inning-ending double-play groundout.
“I threw maybe three sliders and three changeups,” Whitt said. “The rest were all fastballs and they just kept hitting it into the ground.”
And although Whitt was pulled in the ninth with one out after issuing a leadoff walk, he still provided a much-needed stretch of pitching that was missing for Cotuit for the first 5 1/3 innings.
Head coach Mike Roberts still has the utmost confidence in his starters, he said, and rightfully so, especially after their last three dominant performances.
However, it was the reliever Whitt who gave the Kettleers a chance to win their fourth-straight game.
“When it came to the ball game, did Adam give us the innings that we needed to have some stability to give us a chance to come out with a win,” Roberts asked rhetorically. “Absolutely, no question about it.”
CARTHON PROVIDES EARLY THREAT ON BASES, MAKES CRUCIAL CATCH IN 9th INNING
The rain was drizzling down on Lowell Park and darkness was creeping closer and closer over the trees.
Mark Laird (LSU) lofted a deep fly ball to left with Cotuit leading by one in the ninth and runners on first and second with one out for Bourne.
Richard Carthon (Tulane) came in to make the catch, but his left foot slipped on the wet grass under him and he completely lost his footing. He regained traction, ran forward and made a diving basket catch to save a potential game-tying run.
“I was going back to make sure I got behind the ball, and my left foot just lost it,” Carthon said. “I just got up and saw that I could dive for it so I did.”
But that wasn’t Carthon’s only significant contribution to Tuesday’s victory.
Through his first two at-bats, Carthon was 2-2, but neither ball he hit even made it to the infield dirt.
His speed has proven vital to not only his personal success, but it plays perfectly into the style Roberts adores. The Cotuit head coach has stressed the inability to bunt as “the problem with America,” but Carthon’s first infield hit was a perfect bunt, as he easily legged it out.
“(My speed is) an asset because I help apply pressure,” Carthon said. “It keeps the infielders on their toes and if I can get on base, I can steal some bags too.”
In his second at-bat, Carthon once again beat out a grounder to the left side. He then proceeded to steal second for his second swipe of the night.
Carthon noted how his ability to steal bases allows hitters to get better pitches because opposing pitchers are forced to throw strikes knowing there is a threat on the bases.
For Roberts, it’s simply a pleasure watching and coaching someone who so perfectly resembles his type of small-ball speedster.
“He’s an extremely intelligent young man, and when you try to teach him something, he grasps onto it,” Roberts said. “He’s just a wonderful young man and of course, I love speed.”