By Sam Blum
Needing a win to clinch a playoff spot and an eight-run difference to clinch the Barnstable Patriot Cup, Cotuit delivered on both ends.
After a four-game losing streak in which its offense, defense and pitching were called into question, the Kettleers have rebounded in a big way as it looks to gain some standing heading into the postseason.
“The cool thing is that we are we playing better at the end of the year,” manager Mike Roberts said. “Definitely a little better.”
Following a 12-10 win at Hyannis on Wednesday marked Cotuit’s largest offensive outburst on the season, the Kettleers scored four runs in the first inning and the Harbor Hawks didn’t even make a dent in an 8-0 win at Lowell Park on Thursday afternoon. The win eliminated Wareham from playoff contention and put the Kettleers in third place in the Western Division.
Before Wednesday’s win, the Kettleers had scored one run in their past 27 innings. The Kettleers had lost leadoff hitter Rhett Wiseman to injury, and had seen John Norwood be forced to sit out after crashing into the outfield wall.
“I think we just all stayed focused and played one pitch at a time,” shortstop Logan Taylor said. “And we’re playing together.”
But even with a depleted lineup, the Kettleers’ bats rebounded quickly.
In the first inning, it took just six pitches for Cotuit to take the lead. Logan Taylor led off with a triple that scooted to the wall in left. Two pitches later, Kyle Holder lined a single into center field. Three batters later, he scored on a Jackson Glines single. A bloop single from Jeremy Taylor two batters later put the nail in the coffin before the shadows started to cross over home plate.
The only real drama came late in the game. Cotuit led 8-0, but were likely tied in wins, runs and strikeouts. The Barnstable Patriot Cup was in the balance.
But Adam Whitt was called on to pitch the ninth inning and closed out the Cup, striking out two.
Roberts said that he went to his closer in the ninth inning of an eight-run game because he wanted a clean finish. Whitt had pitched two innings the night before, but Roberts wasn’t going to risk a late rally.
“I wanted a clean ending to a really good game,” Roberts said. “He’s kind of our closer, so I wanted to bring him in.”
The offensive outburst clinched the Cup and playoff berth. And after a season of uncertainty, the Kettleers had a reason to exhale.