By Sam Blum
June 19, 2014
Before Tuesday’s game against Bourne, Caleb Whalen (Portland) did extra batting practice work with Cotuit manager Mike Roberts.
Up until that point, Whalen, the team’s leadoff hitter had just one hit in 15 at-bats. He was hitting .067.
But on Tuesday he connected for the game-winning RBI in the sixth. On Wednesday, he led off the game with a triple and finished 2-for-4 with a walk and two runs.
“It’s just starting to click, I think,” Whalen said. “I’m seeing the ball better.”
Whalen, who is hitting leadoff for the first time in his career with the Kettleers, has stepped up offensively in the team’s past two games after a rough start to his Cape Cod League campaign. He’ll look to continue hot stretch at the plate when the Kettleers (4-3) host Wareham (1-6) in a makeup game at 5 p.m. at Lowell Park.
Whalen said that before Tuesday’s game, he did extra work in the batting cage with Roberts. He said he’s working on throwing his hands during his swing and staying on top of the ball, something he struggled with in his first five games.
“You got guys that swing with their shoulders, and guys that swing with their hands,” Roberts said. “And we had a lot of guys early swinging with their shoulders, and now we’ve got a few swinging with their hands.”
Whalen was one of the guys that he’s worked with to develop their swing. Roberts sees Whalen as a valuable lead off hitter, even though he’s been second or third in the order at Portland.
But yesterday he lined the second pitch of the game into the left field gap and made it to third easily before coming home on the very next pitch.
On the season, he’s stolen seven bases without being caught once. He’s proving himself valuable in a position he has yet to see regular time in.
“(Roberts and I) haven’t talked about it,” Whalen said. “But it’s fine with me right now. “