By Dylan Wolter
July 12, 2015
COTUIT – The Cotuit Kettleers (10-18) had their chances against the Brewster Whitecaps on Sunday, but failed to provide the big hit in the Kettleers 2-0 loss. The sputtering offense has been a common theme for the Kettleers of late, having not scored more than 5 runs in a week. Cotuit is now 4-6 out of their last ten games and are two games behind 4th place in the standings.
Daniel Brown (Mississippi State) pitched well enough to keep the Kettleers in the game. The young lefty threw four innings of scoreless baseball, struck out five, and allowed three walks to go along with two hits. Brown didn’t have his best command on Sunday but pitched out of trouble. He pitched much better than his last outing in Hyannis when he surrendered four earned runs in three innings.
“I thought he threw the ball well but wasn’t quite as precise as he has been,” claimed his manager Mike Roberts. Even without his best stuff, Roberts was delighted that Brown managed not to let any runners cross home plate, saying, “what can you do other than applaud him.”
The problem for the Kettleers comes in their support of the pitching staff. Cotuit only managed five hits against Brewster, three of those hits coming from Jeren Kendall (Vanderbilt). What makes it all the more frustrating for Kettleers fans was that they had their fair share of opportunities.
In the first three innings of the ball game, the Kettleers managed to get a runner on third in each inning. In the first inning, leadoff hitter, Brenden Berry (Cal St Northridge) was hit by a pitch to start the game followed by a single to right field from Kendall. Michael Paez (Coastal Carolina) advanced the runners on a bunt which set the Kettleers up nicely. However, Brett Stephens (UCLA) and Ross Grosvenor (South Carolina) hit shallow fly balls that weren’t enough for either runner to score.
“These are guys that starred at every program in the country and they should be able to get it done,” remarked a disappointed Roberts. “We’ll keep working.” Roberts insists that this team is not struggling with its talent, but instead it’s a matter of execution. The team practices day in and day out and must find a way to execute on the field the way they do in practice.
Cotuit failed to take the lead again in the second inning. Tim Susnara (Oregon) roped a leadoff single into center and then on a failed pickoff attempt, Susnara advanced to third easily. With a man on third and no one out, it seemed inevitable that Susnara would come around to score. Unfortunately, Will Haynie (Alabama), Saige Jenco (Virginia Tech), and Brody Weiss (Riverside JC) were each unable to lift a fly ball to bring in the runner from third.
In the third inning and seventh inning the Kettleers had a runner on third yet again, this time with two outs. Cotuit failed to get the big hit that drove in a run and lost because of it. Jeren Kendall, who supplied most of the offense for the Kettleers remains optimistic about the team’s ability to get the job done.
“It’s frustrating but that’s baseball,” affirmed Kendall. “We’ve played some close games and we’ll come back from it.”
The Whitecaps took the lead in the sixth inning and never looked back. A hard grounder down the third base line took a weird hop and bounced over Susnara’s head for a double. The next hitter would bring in the runner on a single between the first and second baseman. All Brewster needed was the 1-0 lead, but added a run in the top of the ninth for insurance.
The Whitecaps won the game 2-0, the second time they have beaten the Kettleers. Cotuit needs to become more efficient with the bats if they want to make a serious playoff push. The Kettleers will play at home again on Tuesday against the Bourne Braves.