By Dylan Wolter
June 20th, 2015
BREWSTER- The Cotuit Kettleers, 4-7, have dealt with numerous injuries so far in this young season and on Saturday, the Kettleers received some more bad news on some of their key players. A lack of depth to go along with injuries leaves the Kettleers very shorthanded in the upcoming games. Stephen Alameis (Tulane), Michael Paez (Coastal Carolina), and Brody Weiss (Riverside JC) are all sidelined for the moment, leaving the middle infield without a natural shortstop or second baseman.
Stephen Alameis injury is the most severe out of the three. Alameis had a hamstring issue coming into the season and was only starting to look healthy these past couple of games. That is until last night, when he pulled his hammy again and left the game. Manager Mike Roberts reported that Alemais will be going home and will be shut down for the time being. It may be a while until Kettleers fans will see #2 roaming short. Cotuit will certainly miss his glove and the security he brings to the infield position.
Brody Weiss jammed his hand, which he has been dealing with for two or three days. Weiss played against Brewster but after the game, Roberts mentioned his hand is getting worse and is very swollen. He will sit out at least tomorrow, but it doesn’t sound like a long term injury. Weiss has been swinging a hot bat as of late and his offensive punch in the middle of the lineup will be absent for a couple of games.
Michael Paez was hit by a pitch in the back three days ago against Brewster. He exited during the game and has yet to return. Roberts mentioned he hopes Paez can play tomorrow but it’s not guaranteed. The Kettleers would certainly like to bring back Paez’s quick bat, speed, and versatility back to their ball club.
It seems as though the Kettleers and Coach Roberts will be in a bit of a jam these next few games without their middle infielders. “Very honestly, I don’t know what we’re going to do,” remarked a disappointed Roberts on the heels of Cotuit’s worst loss of the season, “we played with ten players today, now we’re down to nine. It’s just one of those situations where I’m not sure what you do.”
In the Kettleers blowout loss against Brewster, Robert’s experimented with the infield, trying to find the best fit for each of his players in the absence of Alameis and Paez. Haynie played short with Weiss at second until some errors from both of them made the coaches switch it up. Haynie moved to third while Spencer Gaa (Bradley) was moved to shortstop. With Weiss now out due to his hand injury, this complicates the defensive alignment even more. The hope is that Paez will return and play either middle infield position; he’s started at both second base and shortstop so far this year.
Mike Roberts, who is always critical of himself as a manager, blames himself for the lack of options, “It’s my fault for not having more depth in our infield situation.” It will certainly be interesting to see who takes the field for the Kettleers doubleheader tomorrow.
Berry’s Debut- Since Matt Dacey (Richmond) was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays; the Kettleers have mainly used Gene Cone (South Carolina), a natural outfielder, at first base. It looks as if Cotuit may have found Dacey’s replacement in the form of Branden Berry (Washington).
Berry, the 6’4, 230 pound first baseman started every game for the Washington Huskies in 2015. He led the team in homeruns with 8 and 37 RBI’s. He is a towering right handed hitter who seems to have an advanced approach at the plate.
The Washington product seemed very thrilled to be given the chance to play in the Cape League this season. “I am very blessed to have the opportunity to come out here and play for the Kettleers,” mentioned Berry, “I’m excited for a good summer.”
Against the Brewster Whitecaps on Saturday evening, Berry batted clean up in his debut. He displayed his patience at the plate, walking in two at bats and scored two runs. Berry battled against his opposition, never going down without a fight. Fans should look forward to seeing more of Branden Berry throughout the season. He is now the only natural first baseman on the roster, not to mention a talented one at that.