By Matt Schneidman
August 9, 2014
After a thrilling, come-from-behind win in Friday’s Game 2, Cotuit will take on Bourne in a rubber match on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Doran Park with a trip to the Western Division finals at stake.
With his team’s season on the line, head coach Mike Roberts will turn to lefty Jake Harper (St. Joseph’s College) on the hill.
Here are two things to keep an eye on throughout the game:
The dilemma at catcher
Cotuit’s top two catchers are hurt and the third has only started one game.
Tres Barrera (Texas) was hit in the mask with a foul ball on Thursday that he said “was harder than any time he got hit playing football,” and he didn’t play on Friday.
Ian Rice (Houston) was hit in the head with Blake Allemand’s backswing in the fourth inning on Friday and didn’t return. He is just coming off recovering from a concussion.
So the likely starter behind the plate will be John Jennings (UMass), who is 0-for-4 with three strikeouts on the year. He has been solid defensively and scored on Brendan Hendriks’ (San Francisco) go-ahead home run in Game 2, but it’s certainly an area of uncertainty for Roberts.
Options out of the bullpen
After using seven pitchers in Game 2 and three in Game 1, Roberts’ bullpen availability is limited.
With Harper starting, Luke Leftwich (Wofford) or Logan James (Stanford) is likely to be the first out of the pen, while Reagan Bazar (Louisiana-Lafayette) could come in and throw an inning, maybe two.
Aside from Adam Whitt (Nevada), no current reliever has shown an ability to close games, so if Cotuit is in need of a stabilizing inning or two in a close game, don’t be surprised if Whitt throws after pitching two innings yesterday.
But if Harper struggles early as Jeff Kinley (Michigan State) did yesterday, the Kettleers could be in a tricky position with restricted bullpen options.