By Sam Blum
July 25, 2014
Jeff Kinley (Michigan State) was told on Monday that he’d get the start on Friday. The southpaw, who has been the Kettleers closer all season, had never started a game in his college career.
So he called up his old high school friend, and asked a few of the Cotuit starters about how to prepare to start a game, as opposed to finishing it.
“(I didn’t know) when to start, when to get stretched and all of that,” Kinley said. “I didn’t really know how.”
Despite his inexperience, Kinley pitched one of the best games of the Kettleers season, allowing just one run on two hits over five innings. Six errors eventually were Cotuit’s demise in a 6-2 loss against Wareham at Lowell Park on Friday.
All season, the starting pitching has been a problem for the Kettleers, so manager Mike Roberts decided to shake things up.
“I’m only gonna put starters out there that can throw strikes, and I’ve told the pitching staff that,” Roberts said. “You’ve got to throw strikes. The guys that will pitch the rest of the year for us, are going to be guys that I think can throw strikes.”
Kinley cruised through the first two innings, allowing just one hit. The only run he allowed came on a dropped third strike from catcher Ian Rice (Chipola) with two outs in the third.
He struck out four, and went five innings, marking only the fifth time all season that a Kettleers pitcher has gone five innings.
“I thought Jeff did a phenomenal job, I acknowledged it during our team meeting,” Roberts said. “He came out of the bullpen and did a great job.”
Kinley may never have started a college game before, and he may never have to do it again, but at least now he knows what he’s doing if he’s ever tasked to do it again.
“It wasn’t too bad,” Kinley said. “After the first inning, I kind of settled in, and felt good. It’s really not too much different than being a closer.”