By Dylan Wolter
July 23, 2015
CHATHAM- The Cotuit Kettleers (13-23) played a hard fought game against the Chatham Anglers, but due to a bumpy sixth inning, the Kettleers lost their third straight ballgame by a score of 6-1. The Kettleers have been doomed multiple times this year on the heels of a poor inning, late in the game, and fans witnessed a similar outcome on Thursday night.
Jonathan King (Georgia Tech) took the hill and cruised through the first five innings. He was sharp and aggressive, attacking hitters low in the zone. King did an excellent job of mixing his pitches and looked confident on the mound. Through the first five innings, King struck out four, walked none, and gave up only one hit.
Things took a turn for the worst in the sixth inning following a leadoff single. With no score, the Anglers decided to bunt the runner over to second. King then lost control of the strike zone, walking the next two hitters on nine pitches. With King’s pitch count getting higher, and the surrendering of two consecutive walks, it seemed as if he was facing fatigue, but the lefty from Georgia Tech claims that wasn’t the case.
“The ball started elevating a little bit, but I felt fine,” affirmed King, taken back by the loss, “that’s the best I’ve felt late in the game all year. I still felt like I had a good pop on the ball.” Head Coach Mike Robert’s claimed he considered taking out King after loading the bases, but was simply not confident enough in the bullpen to replace King.
“When you look at our bullpen, unless we get to Dunn (Boston College), there’s no consistency there,” said Roberts. The head coach is a strong believer in developing his players. For pitchers, that means letting them pitch with runners in scoring position and getting themselves out of jams.
With the bases loaded and only one out, one of the most dangerous hitters in college baseball stepped up to the plate, Will Craig (Wake Forest). King left a pitch up, a fastball that Craig was able to take advantage of. The ACC Player of the Year and First-Team All American drove the ball to deep right field, landing just past Jack Klein’s (Stanford) outstretched arm and over the fence. It was an impressive opposite field home run that gave the Anglers a commanding 4-0 lead.
“You get Craig up, and I’ve known Craig since I was fourteen,” remarked King, “he’s one of the best hitters in the country and I made a mistake. I felt like that pitch wasn’t where I wanted it and he hit it. That’s what good hitters do, that’s why he was a golden spikes finalist.”
Mike Roberts has all the confidence in the world in his starting pitcher and wanted King out there to face Craig. Roberts was not satisfied with the pitch selection to Craig, however, with the infield in. King was supposed to stick with his off-speed pitches and induce a ground ball. He thought he could sneak a fastball by the talented slugger, but the pitch resulted in a grand slam instead.
With the score 4-0, the Kettleers could never really get much going offensively. They left ten total runners on base and failed, yet again, to drive in runners in scoring position with two outs. An RBI single from Will Haynie (Alabama) in the eighth inning inched the Kettleers a little closer, but the run was negated by a rally in the bottom of the inning in which the Anglers scored two more runs. Cotuit lost by a final score of 6-1 and Mike Roberts believes his team has to play better in late innings if they want to start winning more ballgames. “We’ve played respectable,” mentioned Roberts, “but we haven’t played very well, particularly in the 7th, 8th, and 9th, inning.”
Roberts knows and acknowledged that his team is running out of time. For Cotuit to make a run towards the playoffs, they will have to play better late in the ballgame. The Kettleers will be on the road again on Friday night, taking on the Harwich Mariners.