By Matt Schneidman
July 25, 2014
COTUIT — Head coach Mike Roberts said he’d never seen anything like it in his entire coaching career.
Wareham scored six runs on only two hits. Cotuit committed six errors.
While the Gatemen weren’t much better – committing three errors and surrendering two runs on only two hits – it was a five-error sixth inning for the Kettleers (16-20-1) that doomed them in a 6-2 loss to Wareham (12-24-1) at Lowell Park on Friday night.
“Worst scoreboard I’ve ever seen, and the coaches from both teams were talking about it,” Roberts said. “In my 40 years of coaching, I’ve never seen a scoreboard like that.”
The game didn’t start out as ugly though, as Jeff Kinley (Michigan State) made his first start of the year in impressive fashion. He threw five innings of two-hit ball, striking out four and walking only one.
The hosts scored their first run in the third on a Wareham error when Logan Taylor (Texas A&M) scored from third after third baseman Jose Cuas bobbled a Tres Barrera (Texas) grounder.
Kinley was cruising, as the only run he surrendered was on a dropped third strike that allowed John Bormann to score in the third. After Cotuit tacked on a second run on a Jameson Fisher (Southeastern Louisiana) RBI sac fly in the bottom of the third, things only went south for the Kettleers from there.
Luke Leftwich (Wofford) relieved Kinley to start the sixth and struggled to find his spots.
After a leadoff walk, Taylor bobbled a grounder. Then Leftwich threw wide of third on an attempted force out. Wareham had tied the game, but the damage had only just begun.
“Sometimes things don’t go your way,” Leftwich said. “The thing as a pitcher, you’ve just got to keep throwing strikes and keep making them put the ball in play.”
And that’s exactly what Leftwich did, but there was no help behind him.
Fisher kicked a grounder to first. Brendan Hendriks (San Francisco) threw wide on an attempted force at home. Ian Rice (Chipola JC) threw the ball into center field when nobody covered second on a steal.
It seemed as if Cotuit was amidst a nightmare, as Kinley’s stellar first five innings had gone to waste with a sloppy sixth.
Leftwich and Adam Whitt (Nevada) held Wareham hitless over the next three innings, but the damage had already been done.
“With a team like this, you know that flukes happen and things are going to go wrong,” Leftwich said. “You’ve just got to keep getting ground balls because they’ll make the next play.”
And although Cotuit was unable to make the next play on several occasions in that sixth inning, Roberts still placed the blame on himself.
The Kettleers haven’t been able to bring all aspects full-circle many times this year, and Roberts rests that struggle on his shoulders.
“Like I told them, it’s my fault, not their fault,” Roberts said. “It’s the head coach’s fault that I haven’t been able to pull them together to play, to pitch, to play defense, run the bases, swing the bat on the same evening very often this summer.”
After an inning like the sixth puts a damper on an otherwise polished effort, all that’s left to do is look forward.
Cotuit now sits four games ahead of the Gatemen for the last playoff spot and although it seems more than likely the Kettleers will make the playoffs, Friday was certainly disturbing for Roberts.
“I don’t really look at the first two columns,” Roberts said. “I look at the last one and you see nine errors and supposedly you have the best college baseball players in America.
“You’ve got to stay positive.”
UP NEXT: Cotuit travels to Orleans for a 7:00 start at Eldridge Park on Saturday.