By Dylan Wolter
July 22, 2015
ORLEANS — It’s a special opportunity to play in the Cape Cod League, showcasing your talents and playing with some of the best college players in the country. It’s even more special when you get to square off against one of your best friends and teammates. Michael Cantu (Texas), the Kettleers backstop and first baseman, went against his college teammate and fellow catcher, Tres Barrera (Texas). The Longhorn catchers, both rocking their Texas gear, played against each other on Wednesday instead of playing together.
“It was awesome,” claimed Cantu, elated to be on the same field as his fellow backstop, “I always told him I would hate playing against him and tonight it happened. He’s one of my best friends and I love the guy to death, I was really excited to see him.”
Despite both being natural catchers, Cantu played first base today with Branden Berry (Cal State Northridge) out. When Cantu came up to bat in the second inning he looked behind the plate, had a chuckle with Barrera and touched his knee with his bat, but then it was business as usual for the two. They had a game to play.
“We were just messing around,” affirmed Cantu, “I told him we can’t make it to obvious that we’re best friends, we still got to fight.” Cantu played the better of the two on Wednesday night, walking twice in three at bats and playing solid defense at first base. Barrera went hitless in two at bats until he was taken out mid game.
Although both were ecstatic to play against each other in the Cape, Cantu admitted that playing against his teammate added to the intensity of the game. Since they are always pushing each other at school, the competitiveness of the game took over. Tres Barrera had a similar mindset to his friend, not letting the moment take over the game.
“I hope he does well, I’m sure he hopes I do well,” said Barrera who is no stranger to a Cotuit jersey having played here last summer, “but at the same time you want to beat each other, it’s competitive.”
One thing is certain for Cantu and Barrera, they were proud to be representing the Texas brand on Cape Cod. “It’s just good to have Longhorns out here on the Cape,” mentioned a gratified Barrera. They are so used to playing together and fighting with each other at school, it’s a personal satisfaction for the two to see them playing in the best summer league in the world.
At the end of the game, Cantu and Barrera didn’t just shake hands and take off to their respected dugouts. They saw one another in the handshake line but instead of any old hand grasp, they did a Hook Em Horns, interlocking their fingers the Longhorn way. It was a joy to watch the two play together, Cantu and Barrera representing so much more than the game itself. The thrill of playing against your best friend along with the pride of being in the Cape derives from all the hard work and passion they push each other with back at Texas.
Anderson Can’t Hold Lead- Jack Anderson (Penn State) has been one of the most consistent arms for Head coach Mike Roberts all season. Roberts pitches him in relief most games, usually for more than one inning. Anderson has been the gap between the starting pitcher and closer.
On Wednesday night, Anderson struggled, putting runners on base late in the game. The submariner entered the game in the seventh inning. He gave up a leadoff single but retired the next three hitters in a row to preserve a 2-2 tie. In what was a tight zone for the umpire, strikes were hard to come by.
The eighth, however, was a different outcome. Anderson sent down the leadoff hitter on strikes but then things unraveled. Anderson loaded the bases with a single, hit by pitch, and then a walk. Roberts decided to take him out after he loaded the bases.
“Submariners, as I told Jack,” said the head coach disappointed in the late loss, “you don’t pitch at a high level as a submariner unless you throw strikes.”
Anderson did not have the usual command that Kettleers fans have become accustomed to seeing. After being taken out for Kevin Ginkel (Arizona), Ginkel surrendered a single and a grand slam with three of those runs being charged to Anderson. The Kettleers lost 7-2 because of the five runs the Firebirds scored in that disastrous eighth inning.
The key for Anderson is to throw from underneath the ball and to throw strikes, claimed Roberts. We have seen Anderson look dominant at times this year, making hitters look foolish and off balance. The Kettleers will need his arm in the final stretch run, look for Anderson to bounce back.