By Jon Mettus
June 29, 2015
COTUIT — Head coach Mike Roberts walked toward the mound clapping his hands.
“Ah come on, leave him in,” someone yelled from the crowd.
But Roberts took the ball from Daniel Brown (Mississippi State) on the mound and Brown headed back to the dugout to an ovation from the crowd. Matthew Milburn (Wofford) ran in from the bullpen in left field and Roberts patted him on the back before giving him the ball.
The duo combined to pitch nine innings, giving up just one run on six hits with eight strikeouts in an 11-1 win over the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox on Monday.
“(Brown) and Milburn today were just incredibly professional,” Roberts said. “I just thought they gave us a big league game. It was fun to watch.”
Brown was automatic from the start, retiring the first six batters he faced. Y-D’s only run came in the top of the third when a lead off double and bunt down the third base line put runners on the corners with no outs. The next batter grounded into a double play, but the runner scored.
It was the first earned run Brown had given up all season and his 0.56 earned run average is still good for fourth-best in the league.
But after allowing a leadoff single in the sixth, Brown had thrown 75 pitches and Roberts thought it was best to bring in Milburn.
“Hitting both side of the plate was pretty big for us,” Brown said.
Milburn continuously worked his changeup. Donnie Walton (Oklahoma State) whiffed on two in a row to go down swinging in the sixth, and then Milburn set down two more batters on strikes in the seventh. Each one was swinging.
He threw at least eight changeups in a row at one point, Roberts said.
“I love it,” Roberts said. “Changeup, changeup, changeup, changeup. Best pitch in baseball. Did Milburn make me smile over in the dugout? He did.”
By the time Milburn retired the last batter, he had pitched four innings, allowed just two hits and struck out six of the 14 batters he faced.
Milburn looked on as a few of his teammates jumped together in celebration in the outfield grass after Jack Klein (Stanford) caught the last out.
MCCALL RETURNS FOR ANOTHER STINT WITH COTUIT
Two words come to mind when Trey McCall thinks about the Cotuit Kettleers. “It’s almost like a fraternity or family,” he said.
McCall is back in Cotuit for his second coaching stint with the Kettleers as an assistant. He was an assistant in 2013 — the last time the Kettleers won the Cape Cod Baseball League Championship.
“For me it’s a place to come and (there’s) really good baseball, really good people and as a coach it sort of energizes you,” McCall said. “As a coach it’s almost like you come as a retreat of 24/7 baseball. When you leave you’re tired, but mentally you’re refueled.”
Head coach Mike Roberts asked McCall to return this summer and McCall couldn’t say no, he said. But before joining the team, McCall had to finish up his season as the head baseball coach at Emory & Henry College, as well as some summer school teaching.
Assistant coach Rusty Beam was with the team for a few weeks before McCall arrived.
“I’m happy to be back on a baseball diamond,” McCall said.
He arrived at Lowell Park around 9 a.m. on Monday and threw early batting practice a few hours later. Players came up to introduce themselves and shake his hand.
“That’s the one thing I can do still is throw BP,” McCall said.
For much of the game, McCall was next to assistant coach Brian Scott, leaning against the fence above the dugout and watching the action on the field. Afterward, he walked around with a smile on his face, like all of the Kettleers players and coaches.