By Matt Schneidman
July 8, 2014
WHITT ADDS LEAGUE-LEADING 4TH WIN WITH 3 DOMINANT RELIEF INNINGS
Cotuit trainer Craig Taylor called him the vulture.
Adam Whitt (Nevada) proceeded to flap his arms bird-style as Taylor explained the name originates from the fact that Whitt just swoops in and picks up wins.
On Tuesday, he pitched three scoreless innings in relief, striking out three and walking none in the Kettleers’ (11-12-1) 9-5 victory over Bourne (15-9) at Lowell Park. Whitt moved into sole first place in the league in wins with his fourth, and lowered his league-leading ERA to .77 as he continued his season of domination.
“You’ve just got to keep the same mentality,” Whitt said of his continued success. “You’ve got to go out there and attack hitters.”
Whitt entered in the seventh with Cotuit trailing by two. He was only scheduled to pitch one inning, but after the hosts tacked on four runs in the bottom of the seventh, head coach Mike Roberts kept his ace in to get the win.
“If the score stayed 5-3 after the seventh, (Travis) Duke was going to pitch the eighth and (Jeff) Kinley was going to pitch the ninth,” Roberts said. “We had said that if we score, Adam would stay in the ball game and it kind of worked out that way.”
A two-run lead was all Whitt would need, as he swiftly proceeded through the eighth to the tune of two looking strikeouts to end the inning.
Right-handed hitters Sutton Whiting and Richie Martin Jr. stood little chance as Whitt slung in his trademark sidearm pitch that inches toward the outside corner just when it looks as if it’ll hit the batter.
“That second inning when I got the strikeouts, I definitely went back out there with more confidence,” Whitt said. “It’s a little bit easier to pitch when you know they come in and get hits for you.”
A John Norwood (Vanderbilt) two-run home run in the eighth gave Whitt two more insurance runs, but he didn’t even need them.
He breezed through the ninth and the now-proclaimed Dr. Whiff stacked on to his already All-Star-caliber résumé with yet another shutdown performance on Tuesday.
“They’re at the disadvantage. You’re at the advantage,” Whitt said. “So that’s one thing I’m trying to remember every time I go out and pitch.”
NORWOOD SHOWCASES PURE POWER, CONTINUES TO SUCCEED AT PLATE
Mike Roberts said he hadn’t seen a Kettleer hit a ball that hard to the opposite field at Lowell Park since 2010.
CJ Cron – now a first baseman for the Los Angeles Angels – was the last one to do it, but John Norwood took over first place in Roberts’ mind.
Norwood laced a two-run home run into the trees beyond the fence in right-center field to give Cotuit a 9-5 lead in the eighth inning of Tuesday’s win against Bourne. It seemed effortless, and Norwood’s casual drop of the bat and slow jog out of the batter’s box showed he knew the ball’s destiny from the moment it left the bat.
“Early in the at-bat, it’s called the cheat swing and we’ve just been working on it,” Norwood said. “I just told myself, get your pitch and put your head to it.”
The College World Series hero has begun his summer with a bang, hitting .417 through three games with Cotuit. He’s already found himself leading off, which is where Roberts put his hitters that he says “make the best contact the most often.”
But for Norwood, his heroics are a thought of the past, and he’s ready to make his mark again, this time with Cotuit.
“You don’t try to think about what happened in the past,” Norwood said of his home run that won Vanderbilt the national championship. “What I did in the College World Series was great, but it’s over with so you’ve got to continue to work hard, come in every day with the same attitude and just go after it like nothing ever happened.”
That attitude has certainly paid off thus far, as the powerful right-hander looks to be a mainstay in a Cotuit lineup that just lost one of its two-best hitters, Grant Kay, to the Tampa Bay Rays’ organization.
Norwood had a hard-hit single up the middle in the third, but if his blast in the eighth is any indication of what the Kettleers will get on a consistent basis, the already-potent Cotuit lineup will be even more threatening.
Roberts grinned from ear-to-ear and said he loves having Norwood in the leadoff spot, then followed it by summing up Norwood’s power with a frank statement.
“There aren’t many guys in amateur baseball that can hit a ball like that.”