By Dylan Wolter, Syracuse University
June 6, 2016
COTUIT – Summer is here which can only mean one thing; Kettleers Baseball is back.
The Kettleers opened their season on Saturday, against the Lexington Blue Sox in a double-header exhibition game. Although the game will not count towards the standings, it was an exciting look into the future of this team.
Coach Mike Roberts was busy mixing and matching his lineup and pitching staff throughout the double-header. Based on the two games, it is easy to notice that this team will rely on its pitching as well as its defense throughout the 2015 season.
The pitching was utterly dominant on a day where the wind and brisk temperature may have prevented too much off offense. Regardless of the weather, the Blue Sox bats were silenced as they endured a shutout in both games. Daniel Brown (Mississippi St.) was one of the most impressive young arms of the day. He displayed a phenomenal feel for pitching, mixed up his pitches, and put his full arsenal on display. Nick Lewis (Baylor) was also terrific. Lewis had great movement on his pitches and was able to throw his off-speed pitches for strikes.
The Kettleers showed off their commitment to defense against Lexington. After a couple errant throws early on, Cotuit consistently flashed the leather. In particular, Michael Paez (Coastal Carolina) and Spencer Gaa (Bradley) formed a terrific left side of the infield. Paez demonstrated unbelievable range to go along with a quick and strong arm. Spencer Gaa fielded a couple gems that caught the attention of the fans. Will Haynie (Alabama) is also an excellent defensive backstop; he framed strikes beautifully and dared the Blue Sox to run on him. The Kettleers seem to have a defensive mindset this season with range in the infield, speed in the outfield, and a stud behind the plate.
The bats did just enough on Saturday to solidify the offense. The outfield provided much of the offensive firepower as Gene Cone (South Carolina), Matt Albanese (Bryant), and Keenan Innis (Georgia Tech) all provided extra base hits for the Kettleers. This team may not have an abundance of power but they make up for it with their speed and fundamentals. Coach Mike Roberts proved he is not timid in letting his players steal a base as he gave them the green light early and often, despite some unsuccessful attempts. The team also showed its willingness to bunt. Fans witnessed a couple brilliant bunts in the second game as Cone moved a runner to third while Paez brought him in on a suicide squeeze.
There is so much to be excited for this season. The Kettleers will certainly be competitive all summer long as they have a terrific blend of defense, pitching, and speed. The bats should only improve as the weather warms up and the players become accustomed to the league.
Get ready Kettleers fans; we are in for a fun season.