By Matt Schneidman
July 3, 2014
For the past couple weeks, head coach Mike Roberts has harped on the need for some sort of quality starting pitching.
Sam Tewes looked like he could be a starter down the road, but he was sent home with an arm injury two weeks ago.
Vince Fiori (South Carolina) turned in his second-straight solid start, throwing 3 2/3 innings of scoreless ball, while only allowing two hits and striking out four. Despite Cotuit’s (9-11) 3-2, 10-inning loss to Falmouth (10-9-1) at Arnie Allen Diamond on Thursday night, Fiori showed that he is the go-to starter for the future.
“He’ll start every time his time comes up without a doubt,” Roberts said. “He’s kind of starting it right now, Logan James is second and then we’re hunting for three four and five.”
Oftentimes, the Kettleers have found themselves in early deficits and have had trouble fighting back, but Fiori shut down the Commodores in the early going.
With two men on and two outs in the fourth, Cotuit holding a 1-0 lead, Roberts pulled Fiori. The lefty jogged off the mound with a slight smirk on his face, but the decision had already been made.
“I told (Roberts) I wanted to stay out there, but he had already made the call to the bullpen,” Fiori said. “I definitely felt like I never really got into a grove in the start, but I definitely wanted to be out there. I wanted to go a little longer but my pitch count was up there so he made the move.”
Despite being pulled early from his perspective, Fiori was still satisfied with what he was throwing on the hill. Although he never felt like he got into a rhythm, the bullpen work he’d been putting in paid dividends on Thursday night.
“I was trying to locate my fastball and work my changeup off of that a lot, so I threw my changeup a lot and it was working both to lefties and righties,” Fiori said. “I’ve been working on throwing that a lot in the bullpen, and I threw it a lot to lefties today which helped me out.”
Roberts explained that pulling Fiori wasn’t based on a specific pitch count that he reached, but rather a strategical move to build him up since he only threw 19 2/3 innings in his sophomore season with the Gamecocks.
Roberts doesn’t want him to jump right to too many pitches just yet, but thinks he’s more than capable of going an extended length in the near future.
“Take a guy who threw 20 innings and then take him out there and throw 100 pitches immediately, every time, I don’t think it’s wise,” Roberts said. “But will it bother me to take him to 100, 110 later on, no.”
Fiori is confident in his ability to be the main man to start games.
And Cotuit needs someone who is capable of doing so.
“I’ve proven so far that I can be pretty consistent,” Fiori said. “Hopefully I can just grow on these first three starts and move forward.”