By Dylan Wolter
June 26th, 2015
COTUIT- The struggling Kettleers (4-12) battled the Wareham Gateman (8-8) who pieced together a late rally to win the game 4-3. Despite Cotuit jumping out to an early 3-0 lead, the Gateman were able to piece together a ninth inning rally that earned them the victory. The Kettleers dropped their seventh game in a row, having to wait another day to snap the skid.
Cotuit was able to make a statement early, scoring three runs in the first two innings. Fans witnessed “Kettleers Baseball” in the first inning following a Kort Peterson (UCLA) hit by pitch. On a hit and run, Jackson Klein (Stanford) poked a single over the first baseman’s head in which Peterson made it to third base easily. The right fielder then threw a lazy pass into the infield that Peterson was able to recognize and take advantage of, racing home to score a quick one nothing lead.
Jackson Klein has owned a really hot bat as of late for the Kettleers, providing two hits and an RBI against Wareham. His average is now a remarkable .385 on the season, to go along with a home run and five RBI’s. His approach at the plate is simple enough, claiming, “With pitching being so good in this league, I just try to see the ball as well as I can.”
The second inning saw the Kettleers add two more runs to their lead. Cotuit had two quick outs when Brody Weiss (Riverside JC) hit a hard grounder to the left side that the shortstop booted for an error. Michael Paez (Coastal Carolina) hit a high pop that tailed close to the third base line. The left fielder wasn’t able to read it correctly, dropping the sliding catch into foul territory. Weiss was able to score easily with Paez reaching second. Following a risky stolen base by Paez, Spencer Gaa (Bradley) hit an infield single to the left side in which he beat the throw. Paez came around to score and took a 3-0 lead.
Jonathan King (Georgia Tech) pitched another solid game for the Kettleers, giving up two runs (one earned) in five innings, walking none, and striking out three. King who you can usually find singing and keeping the mood light had a noticeably more serious approach to this game. The Gateman were able to squeeze out two runs against King until Mitch Stallings (Duke) came on in relief. The Dukey was lights out for the Kettleers in his three innings pitched, in what was his best outing of the year.
With the sun setting behind the trees in the ninth inning, the Kettleers needed three more outs to win the game. Kevin Ginkel (Nevada) replaced Stallings and gave up two leadoff singles. Matthew Kinney (Flordia State) then came on and was tested early on a bunt in which he got the sure out at first. After an intentional walk, the bases were loaded. Jay Jabs (Franklin Pierce) hit a sacrifice fly to right field, tying the game at three and moving the runner from second, 60 feet from home. The submarine righty, Jack Anderson (Penn State) came in to get the final out. Anderson puts a ton of movement on his pitches and one seemed to get away from substitute catcher Zack Collins (Miami). He dropped a fastball low and away, the runner racing home to take a 4-3 lead in heartbreaking fashion.
A lack of a closer has really hurt this club, as fans have seen the bullpen give away games late. Justin Dunn (Boston College) was named the teams closer by Manager Mike Roberts but was unavailable in this game. Roberts acknowledged the ninth inning, claiming a lack of polish hurt the Kettleers in this one. Roberts, who was joined by his grandchildren in the interview, sited the inability to get bunts down and pass balls as reasons for the unpolished play. Robert’s was adamant he lost the game for Cotuit, not putting the right pitcher in the ninth and failing to maintain a three nothing lead.
“We are struggling right now. When you lose one run games, it’s totally my fault,” remarked Roberts, “totally my fault.” Roberts, who is always harsh on himself and the way he manages, was not happy with the pitch selection in the ninth. In particular, Roberts wanted Ginkel to stick to the fastball but a curveball got the leadoff runner on for the Gateman, following an infield single. “I’ve cost us a couple games because we’re not calling pitches, but I don’t believe in babysitting,” claimed Roberts.
Something both Roberts and Klein mentioned after the game is their confidence in the talent on this club. Although it may have been a tough one to swallow, Klein owned a positive attitude after the game, believing in his team’s ability.
“We’re just going to keep grinding, keep working,” said the Stanford centerfielder, “we’ve made little improvements here and there but we’ll get there. We’re a good team and I think coach knows that, we both know that.”
The Kettleers will look to right the ship against the dangerous Orleans Firebirds, 11-4, at home on Saturday evening.