By Sam Blum
June 27, 2014
Mike Roberts had an inescapable smile on his face.
For the first time in a stretch in which Cotuit had been outscored 22-2, he no longer needed to search for answers.
Instead, he could hammer home the talking points of a small-ball philosophy that saw Cotuit post its second-highest run total of the season.
“That’s the way we play,” Roberts stated.
Two bunts led to two runs in the second inning, and one more in the eighth. The Kettleers used small ball to give them some separation in a 6-2 win over Hyannis at McKeon Park on Friday.
After the game Roberts gathered his team around him and told him this is the type of game that he prides himself on.
“I think it’s important for the guys to see how we play,” Roberts said. “It takes a while for me to teach the system, the philosophy and again they have to see it and they have to buy in.
“I thought tonight was the first night was the first of that type of thing transpiring.”
With runners at first and third and one out in the second inning, Jeremy Taylor (East Tennessee State) laid down a slow bunt to pitcher Nick Deeg (Central Michigan).
Deeg fired home, but Ashton Perritt (Liberty) had already scored. Four pitches later Dalton Dulin (Mississippi) sacrificed to bring home Jake Fincher (North Carolina State) to make the score 2-0.
In the eighth Jake Fincher capped off the Cotuit scoring with a bunt of his own to bring home Brendan Hendricks (San Francisco) to make it 6-1.
It’s a way of baseball the Roberts has preached all season, and it finally paid off in the team’s 15th game.
“We’re all playing better together and small ball is gonna be a big deal throughout the whole summer,” said Logan Taylor (Texas A&M). “We’re gonna need it to win.”
Taylor, ironically, didn’t play small ball with his eighth-inning home run. But it was his production from the leadoff spot that sparked the offensive rally.
Vince Fiori (South Carolina), who pitched five innings and allowed just one run, credited the offense for his ability to put up his best appearance of the season.
“Scoring a couple runs builds momentum for our defense,” Fiori said. “And then I had a quick inning in the second inning, and I think we scored another run the next inning.”
The win was the epitome of the Kettleers’ playbook. And with a slew of injuries and poor pitching and defense that has plagued the team, this was much needed.
And for Roberts, tonight was his type of offensive outburst.