By Dylan Wolter
July 5, 2015
HYANNIS – The Kettleers (7-15) reverted back to their early season defense where the team just couldn’t make plays in the field. The defense has been much cleaner over the last week or so, the Kettleers not recording a single error for five games until yesterday, but their execution and polish was lacking on Sunday. The Kettleers ended up losing the game to the Hyannis Harbor Hawks by a score of 11-5.
There were multiple incidents throughout the game where sloppiness in the field led to runs for Hyannis. Daniel Brown (Mississippi St) started for Cotuit who has been excellent on the mound so far this year, did not have his sharpest stuff on Sunday. In the first inning, with the score already 1-0, there was a man on third with two outs. Brown, looking to escape a jam, threw an inside fastball that went right off catcher, Tim Susnara’s (Oregon) glove and allowed the runner to score from third. The defensive tone was set from that point and it didn’t really improve with a 2-0 deficit.
It was more of the same for the Kettleers in the second inning as the infield committed two more errors. Following a leadoff double, a weak chop to third was corralled by Brody Weiss (Riverside JC) but was thrown in the dirt to firstbase that Branden Berry was unable to scoop. One of the runners would come in to score on another errant throw, this time by Michael Paez at shortstop. The shaky defense put the Kettleers down 3-0 after two innings.
Brenden Berry (Cal St. Northridge) is usually very skilled at picking balls out of the dirt on tough throws. The Hyannis field had a lip right on the edge of the grass that the ball hit a couple times and altered the flight of the baseball. Still, Berry was disappointed in the team defense against Hyannis claiming, “We just got to make the routine catch and the routine throw and we’ll be fine.”
The players would be the first ones to tell you that some plays not even resulting in errors, should have been made. In the fourth after a leadoff single, Daniel Brown fielded a bunt that he fielded but took Berry off the bag at first. Another walk to load the bases would result in the end of Daniel Browns day.
Duncan Robinson (Dartmouth) was unable to stop the bleeding, surrendering a bases loaded walk and a single up the middle to make the score 6-0. In the fifth inning, with a runner on first and third, Susnara attempted to catch the runner from first stealing. Instead, an off line throw ended up in centerfield and allowed the man on third to score, making the score 7-0.
The fourth and final error came in the sixth inning after the first two runners in the inning got on base. A double was smoked into left center; Stephens cut the ball off in the gap but then fumbled it, allowing both runners to score. The score, now 9-0, proved a disastrous day for the defense. Manager Mike Roberts was obviously not too thrilled after the game.
“I wish I could tell you that I figured it out, but I haven’t,” remarked Roberts. “When we play poor defense, which we’ve done way too often this year, teams bang base hits behind it and that’s what they did early.” Coach Roberts was unsure how the team would make adjustments going forward. A lack of infield depth really hurts the Kettleers’ ability to shake up the defense.
Roberts cited a lack of polish as the reason for the team not playing its best defensive game. He made a stark comparison to show just how much defense can impact the game by pointing out the middle infield of the Hyannis Harbor Hawks, Javon Shelby (Kentucky) and Errol Robinson (Ole Miss). They turned a couple outstanding double plays that left the audience in disbelief on Sunday.
“That’s probably the best double play combination I’ve seen here,” mentioned awe struck Roberts, “and they totally change the game around when they make a play. That’s what defense does to teams.” Hopefully the Cotuit defense will get back to the level they have been playing recently and back to winning baseball.
The Kettleers will look to snap the two game losing streak on Monday, July 6, in a make-up game against the Bourne Braves at Bourne.