By Dylan Wolter
FALMOUTH- Will Haynie (Alabama) celebrated his 21st birthday Friday night in memorable fashion as he drilled a solo home run, played impeccable defense, and led the Cotuit Kettleers (3-1) to their second straight victory over the Falmouth Commodores (1-3).
Haynie’s power is no joke. Watch him take batting practice and see for yourself. At Guv Fuller field, the home of the Commodores, Assistant coach Nolan Clark was tossing BP to hitters when in stepped Will Haynie. The 6’5, 230 pound catcher got under the first two pitches, popping them up to shallow left field. The third swing, he ripped a line drive homer just over the fence in left. His fourth swing resulted in a titanic shot over the second fence that perfectly foreshadowed his night. The outfielders didn’t even take a step back, as they watched it soar over their heads in admiration.
On a Kettleer team that is typically known for small ball, Haynie’s power gives the team another element that helps them win ballgames. “I’ve been seeing the ball well. Coach and I have been working a lot,” mentioned a thrilled Haynie, “I feel good at the plate.”
Before his home run in the second inning even occurred, Will Haynie dazzled behind the dish. In the bottom of the first inning, following a leadoff walk, the Commodores decided to test Haynie’s arm. To their dismay, the towering Alabama backstop picked the ball out of the dirt, stood up, and threw a perfect strike to Michael Paez (Coastal Carolina) to nab the runner. It was an incredible throw that put his arm strength and defensive prowess on full display. Following the caught stealing, the Commodores put together a mini rally that would have scored the runner had he reached second base. Haynie was the reason the Kettleers did not fall victim to an early deficit.
The praise for Will Haynie does not end there. The birthday boy also called a terrific game for his staff. Something Manager Mike Roberts is even more appreciative of than the home run. “Will’s done a great job catching four days in a row” exclaimed a gleeful Mike Roberts. Each pitcher looked comfortable with their pitches, rarely shaking off Haynie’s call. The cohesiveness between Haynie and the four pitchers Cotuit sent to the mound was a main proponent for the Kettleers shut out of Falmouth.
“The key to Will Haynie being an outstanding player, both here and in the future,” alleged Roberts who sees Haynie’s offensive production as a secondary bonus to his defense“, is calling pitches and handling the baserunning for the other club and he’s done that extremely well this week.”
The second inning marked a special moment for Will Haynie. He turned on an inside fastball and watched it soar to deep left field. It was simply a matter of if the ball would go fair or foul as it certainly had the distance. Fans held their breath; the ball bit left, Haynie anxiously watched its flight. The ball dinged off the top of the left field foul pole for a solo homerun and Haynie received what was his best present of the day. It was his second home run of the young season and one that gave the Kettleers a 2-0 lead.
Haynie broke down the at bat after the game, “He came in on me the first pitch and I kind of jumped back a little bit so I figured he’d probably come back with it again. I cheated a little bit and put a good swing on it, just hoping it would stay fair.”
Haynie will take home runs any way he can get them as he has proved so clutch in the early going. It was certainly a birthday to remember for Will Haynie and an impressive win for the Cotuit Kettleers. The Kettleers (3-1) will host the 2-1 Chatham Anglers on Saturday evening at Lowell Park.