By Sam Blum
July 5th, 2014
WAREHAM – Cotuit’s 7-3 loss to Wareham on Saturday night highlighted some of the key weaknesses that the Kettleers bear. A lack of starting pitching. Inconsistent hitting. A bullpen with control problems.
But with all of the negatives facing Cotuit during its three-game losing streak, Jake Fincher (NC State) has been an undeniably positive presence.
“He’s aggressive, he attacks everything,” Cotuit manager Mike Roberts said. “… And you can’t teach that. You cannot teach that. That’s something that’s kind of native to a person.”
Fincher has been attacking to the tune of .438 batting average, which leads the league. In his 56 plate appearances, he’s reached 28 times. On Saturday, he had three hits for the second straight night.
“I’m just seeing the ball really well,” Fincher said, “just trying to barrel up balls, stay short really, and get the barrel on the ball. It’s worked out for me lately.”
Roberts credits Fincher’s experience – he will be a senior at North Carolina State in the fall – for his ability to learn and adapt.
In the beginning part of the season, Roberts helped Fincher get the lower part of his body in his swing to generate more power. In the third, Fincher blasted a two-run double into the right field gap to tie the game at three.
“I’ve kind of just done a lot of his stuff, mixed with a little bit of where I come from,” Fincher said. “It’s just worked out good so far.”
Late in the game he was thrust into a new situation when he moved from center field to first base. After the bottom of the eighth, he chuckled as he walked into the dugout, telling his teammates that he was relieved to have survived the experience.
Fincher, though, has a reason to smile. In a first half of the season that has had more downs than ups, Fincher has been a bright spot on a team starved for one.
“I love watching him play,” Roberts said. “That’s why we’re gonna put him out there.”