By Sam Blum
June 19, 2014
COTUIT – After Sunday’s doubleheader sweep against Chatham, Cotuit manager Mike Roberts said his team did a good job escaping jams, allowing just one run despite issuing 13 free bases in 14 innings.
He conceded that, eventually, walks, hits and errors will come back to you.
On Thursday, that’s exactly what happened.
“The thing about the Cape League is that every club has nine respectable hitters, there’s not a hitter you can take off,” Roberts said. “And when you’re always behind in the count, you’re a little bit up, it just doesn’t work.”
The Kettleers allowed 15 hits, the most it has on the young season, as Cotuit (4-4) was blown out by Wareham (2-6), 8-3 at Lowell Park.
The Kettleers used four pitchers, all of which combined to throw 5 walks, as the Gatemen jumped out to an 8-1 lead in the sixth.
“You have to have the ability, even if you have a great arm to miss bats,” Roberts said.” And thing that you would notice from Blake (Stevens) and Garrett (Hayward) today is that they didn’t miss any bats.”
Stevens (Birmingham Southern) started for the Kettleers dominated in the first inning after allowing a leadoff double to Willie Calhoun (Arizona).
He appeared to be mirroring his first start of the season, when he allowed just one run on three hits over four innings in a win against Yarmouh-Dennis.
But the second inning is when the floodgates opened. A double led off the inning, and an infield single put runners on the corners.
Wareham was just getting started. A John Borman (Texas San Antonio) single to short. Then a Blake Lacey (Southern California) double into the gap. In a matter of moments the score was 3-0.
“I just didn’t do a good job of getting guys out,” Stevens said. “The changeup was a little bit up today, where as last start it was really crisp.”
Garrett Hayward (Duke) came in the next inning to stop the bleeding, but his pitches lacked command.
When he located in the zone, he would get hit, but much of his off-speed arsenal was sitting high and off the plate.
He lasted just one inning.
“I was missing with the off-speed, I didn’t really have an off-speed working for me,” Hayward said. “I left the fastball up a couple times too, and that’s kind of what did me in there.”
By the time Gabe Berman exited the game three innings later, the Gatemen were up seven runs, and in position to get their first win in six games.
The starting pitching for Cotuit has struggled in the past three games. On Tuesday, Daniel Lewis (Pensacola State) lasted jus 2 1/3 innings. Matthew Vogel (South Carolina) didn’t record an out on Wednesday.
All season, Roberts has been yanking his starters early in games, sometimes when they’re not pitching well, other times just so he can get a real gauge on if everyone in his staff is Cape League caliber.
“I would have liked the chance to go back out there,” Stevens said of pitching the third inning, “but Coach Roberts knows what he’s doing. He made the call.”
Roberts said he’s closer to stabilizing a more consistent rotation, but a setback like Thursday’s game doesn’t provide many answers.
“There’s a method to the madness in the Cape League,” Roberts said, “and when you got lots and lots of temporary players you gotta figure it out and you gotta figure out who can go four and who can’t go four.“
Up next: Cotuit (4-4) vs. Orleans at Lowell Park at 5 p.m. Wareham (2-6) at Hyannis (4-3) at 6 p.m.