By Matt Schneidman
June 15, 2014
Video Highlights of Games 1 and 2 by Axel Boada HERE
CHATHAM — Logan Taylor (Texas A&M) had gone hitless in his last nine at bats.
In game one of Sunday’s doubleheader, he bobbled two balls at third and was called for batter’s interference to negate a Richard Carthon (Tulane) stolen base.
But in the fifth inning of game two, Taylor laced the ball over Chatham center fielder Landon Lassiter’s (North Carolina) head to drive in two runs, a hit that would ultimately decide the game. That, along with a one-hit shutout from four Cotuit pitchers – most notably A.J. Minter (Texas A&M) – led the Kettleers (3-2) to a 3-0 shutout win over the Anglers (1-4) in game two at Veterans Field.
“It was a big relief,” Taylor said. “I feel like I’m seeing the ball well and just jumping at it, but he gave me a good pitch to hit and just got lucky.”
The game was scoreless through the first four innings as Chatham starter Max Tishman (Wake Forest) and the combination of Cotuit’s Dalton Potts (Tennessee Martin), Bailey Clark (Duke) and Vince Fiori (South Carolina) were in a battle.
Even though the Kettleers allowed five Anglers to reach base via hit batsmen and walks, the hosts still had a zero in the hits column through four.
Then in the top of the fifth, the visitors broke the deadlock when Taylor laced the 2-2 pitch to dead center and it hit the fence on one bounce, scoring DC Arendas (South Carolina) from second and Jameson Fisher (Southeastern Louisiana) from first.
“In the big leagues two years ago, the average with two strikes was .179,” Cotuit head coach Mike Roberts said. “I just tell them to swing the bat, swing the bat every pitch and then you’ll swing your way out of (the slump).”
Chatham threatened in the fifth when it put two batters on base with one out, but then the Anglers unfortunately had to face the reliever Minter.
The lefty came in with one out in the fifth and held the hosts hitless for the rest of the game. He topped 92 miles per hour on the gun, and Chatham hitters were hopeless as Minter barely bothered with offspeed pitches.
“I’m going to make them hit my fastball first,” Minter said. “My fastball was working today and I just stuck with it.
“I’m just going to keep coming and make them put it in play.”
Late-game pitching difficulties that surfaced in the first two games are now an afterthought, as the Cotuit pitching staff has shutdown opponents late in the last three games.
In a game where Roberts’ hurlers held Chatham to one hit and no runs, the skipper was all praise of an individual performance for the first time this season.
“I quit coaching and I just kind of watched (Minter),” Roberts joked. “He didn’t need any coaching that second time out. He just did a great job.”
For Cotuit as a whole, it has begun to get rolling, as two one-run losses to open the season have been followed by a three-game winning streak, this time thanks to two Texas A&M Aggies.
Players from all over the country are beginning to mesh, timely hitting has surfaced and the pitching staff has already established itself as a Cape League powerhouse.
“I would say it’s big,” Taylor said of Cotuit’s resurgence. “I think we’re all learning to play with each other and we’re all connecting and getting closer and closer.”
UP NEXT: Cotuit (3-2) plays Bourne (4-1) on Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Lowell Park, and Chatham (1-4) plays Brewster (2-2) on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Chatham.