By Jon Mettus
June 19, 2015
CHATHAM — Stephen Alemais (Tulane) eyed up the pitcher and took his lead toward second base. As the pitch to Gene Cone (South Carolina), with runners on the corners and one out, came in for the third strike, Alemais took two more hops toward second.
Chatham’s catcher, Nick Sciortino (Boston College), threw to first. Alemais fell to his knees trying to get back to the bag, got up, and then took off toward second. The Anglers’ first baseman threw to second where Alemais was tagged before Cotuit’s Spencer Gaa (Bradley) could run home from third.
“I slipped and saw that I was out so I tried to get in a run down, but got caught in the middle,” Alemais said.
In the first five innings, the Kettleers fell victim to two double plays caused by steals and were caught stealing twice. Alemais’ play was the fifth blunder on the base paths and Cotuit lost to Chatham, 4-1, at Veteran’s Field on Friday.
“Could we stand out there and do nothing? Yeah, we could play station to station baseball and do nothing,” head coach Mike Roberts said. “And then people would say, ‘Well you didn’t get anybody thrown out tonight,’ which is fine. We’re not going to do that as long as I’m the head coach in Cotuit.”
Brody Weiss (Riverside CC) walked to lead off the game then tried to steal second as Matt Albanese (Bryant) hit a line drive into left-center field. Weiss watched the ball fly through the air and get caught before finally stopping and trying to run back to first. He was doubled up.
An inning later, Gaa singled, then stole second on the first pitch of an Alemais at-bat, but Alemais hit a liner right to the shortstop that turned into an inning-ending double play.
Roberts walked back to the dugout with his head down.
“No. Never. No,” Roberts interjected when asked if he ever second guesses base stealing calls. “That’s something, as a manager, you don’t second guess. You play baseball every day. I’m going to play it the backyard style. I’m going to play with my gut and if you second guess, honestly, you either ought to stop being in the sport of baseball or either stop managing.”
In the fourth inning, Albanese ran to second on a pickoff move back to first. The first baseman threw over to second and Albanese was tagged out at second base easily.
Roberts folded his arms and toed the dirt with his right foot.
The Kettleers were getting runners on base, but they were getting out before they even made it to second.
Jack Klein (UCLA), the batter at the time, singled before being caught stealing on a throw from the catcher to second.
Klein walked back toward first to talk with first base coach Noah Scott.
“Bad teaching on my part,” Roberts said of the base running. “It’s the game within the game … right now we’re struggling.”
JACK KLEIN STARTING STRONG AT PLATE
For many players, it takes a while to adjust from the aluminum and composite bats of the NCAA to the wooden bats of the Cape Cod Baseball League. Roberts’ expects his players to adjust by midsummer, he said.
But in Jack Klein’s first two games with Cotuit, he’s appeared to have no trouble with the change, going 4-for-7 with two runs batted in.
“It’s different, but it feels natural,” Klein said after Wednesday’s win over Brewster — his first game. “It’s what the game is if you want to keep playing.”
In Klein’s first at-bat on Friday he crushed a ball deep that hooked foul, well past the left field pole. In the fourth inning, he drove a ball up the middle for a single.
But in the seventh, Klein stepped into the batter’s box to shouts of “come on, Jack” from the dugout. He blasted a shot into left field that echoed off the bat and sent the left fielder back pedaling toward the fence in the outfield. The left fielder bumped into the barrier as the ball landed just shy of the tree line, but over the fence for a solo home run.
He and Will Haynie (Alabama) are the only Kettleers to hit a home run this year.