By Dylan Wolter
June 22nd, 2015
COTUIT – The Harwich Mariners compiled big hits late in the game and padded their lead against the 4-9 Cotuit Kettleers in the second game of Monday’s doubleheader. A sixth inning three run home run from catcher, Michael Hernandez (Nova Southeastern), extended the Mariner lead to 6-1. The lead was too much for the Kettleers as they dropped their fourth straight game.
Nick Eicholtz (Alabama) had a solid outing for the Kettleers, surrendering three earned runs in 4.2 innings while striking out five. He kept Cotuit in striking distance but the Kettleers bats were never able to gain a lead. The first inning was rocky for Eicholtz, he gave up a couple doubles and a bloop single for the Mariners to jump out to a quick 2-0 lead. Eicholtz would certainly cool down, however, changing speeds and keeping the ball low in the zone.
Cotuit was able to get their first and only run across the board in the third inning. Michael Paez (Coastal Carolina), in his return from an injury, worked a leadoff walk. He immediately attempted to steal second base when the ball got away from the shortstop, allowing Paez to get to third. Jack Klein (Stanford) drove Paez in on a sac fly to center, making the score 2-1.
Eicholtz wasn’t in trouble again until the 5th inning when he surrendered a two out double in the left field gap. Manager Mike Roberts came out to the mound and signaled for a lefty out of the pen. Eicholtz night was over but Bernardo Flores’s (USC) was just beginning. Flores gave up an RBI single to the dangerous Cavan Biggio (Notre Dame) which made the score 3-1.
“He (Flores) needs to pitch more without a doubt,” mentioned Roberts after the game, “Bernardo needs confidence, he needs to learn how to pitch.” Roberts hopes days like this will help his players learn from their mistakes, in an effort for them to become more professional.
The bleeding would continue in the top half of the 6th inning for the Kettleers. Flores struggled with his control, giving up three walks in the inning and leaving the ball up for Mariners hitters to strike. After a walk and a hard hit single to left, the number eight hitter, Michael Hernandez, came up to the plate. Flores left a changeup belt high, a pitch that Hernandez was, “looking to take advantage of.” And boy did he ever take advantage, launching a three run home run just inside the foul pole in left. The drive had great carry and even surprised Hernandez that it left the yard.
“I didn’t think so off the bat,” claimed a tempered Hernandez, describing his homerun, “but I looked over and the left fielder stopped running after it so I knew it was gone.”
The final score would remain 6-1, the Kettleers losing their fourth game in a row. Coach Roberts believes it’s a matter of confidence for his players. “You just got to play better,” says Roberts who remains positive despite the team’s recent skid, “and you either play confidently at every position, every at bat, every pitcher that walks out there or you’re going to struggle. Right now we’re not very confident in a lot of areas, our talent level is fine but we have to play a lot more confidently.”
The Kettleers will look to right the ship against the Hyannis Harbor Hawks (8-5) on Tuesday evening in Hyannis.