By Jon Mettus
July 23, 2015
CHATHAM — A Chatham fan looked at Cotuit’s defensive alignment and said to the fan sitting next to him, “Would you look at how far over the second baseman is? That whole side of the field is open.”
Then the ball was hit directly to second baseman Brody Weiss (Riverside City College) and he threw to first for the out.
“Wow, it worked,” the fan responded.
The Kettleers were running a shift in the infield for nearly every batter — something the team has done for the last two games. Right handed hitters saw Weiss move as far as a few steps to the left of second base, leaving Tim Susnara (Oregon), the first baseman, the only infielder to the right of second. Left-handed batters moved Mike Paez (Coastal Carolina) as far away from the usual shortstop position as to the opposite side of second base.
Cotuit kept the shift on nearly the entire game and it paid off. At least nine batters grounded or lined into the shift, while only one ball was hit in the infield the opposite way.
“I’m trying to help our infield,” head coach Mike Roberts said. “What I’ve tried to do lately is lie awake at night and say, ‘what is the best thing that I can do to help our club be more effective …”
“I looked at Orleans’ team, I looked at Chatham’s team, I decided with two left handers going with the same type of stuff and — people can judge it how they went to — I think it’s been pretty good.”
A few times in the game, ground balls up the middle that normally would be base hits were fielded by the shifted infielders. Once a line drive was smacked directly to Weiss, who was moved over.
KLEIN REMOVES MUSTACHE DURING GAME
Jack Klein (Stanford) walked out of the dugout in the fifth inning and his mustache was gone. After lining out hard to center in the fourth inning, Klein got rid of the facial hard midgame.
“It was ugly, so let’s get that out there, but I lined out again and I had been lining out,” Klein said of why he got rid of it. “… I thought we were going to do it, too. I really thought it was going to help. A little superstition never hurt.”
About a week ago, Klein and Ross Grosvenor (South Carolina) shaved their faces and dyed their mustaches black. Since then, Kevin Ginkel (Nevada) and Duncan Robinson (Dartmouth) joined in.
But Grosvenor ditched the mustache after just a few days leaving Klein alone with it.
Following the in-game shave, Klein made a running catch near foul territory in right field then completed a sacrifice bunt to move runners to second and third.
He nearly robbed Will Craig’s (Wake Forest) grand slam that sailed over the right field fence.
CHATHAM MANAGER GETS WIN NO. 500
As Chatham recorded the final out in the top of the ninth and the players made their way onto the field to shake hands following the game, the public address announcer made a special announcement.
“Folks you just witnessed Cape Cod Baseball League history,” boomed through the speakers. “Manager John Schiffner, the winningest manager in Cape Cod Baseball League history has just won his 500th Cape Cod Baseball League game.”
Schiffner became the head coach of the Anglers in 1993 and has held the position for the last 23 years. He is the longest tenured and winningest coach in the CCBL.
“John’s done a marvelous job,” Roberts said. “He coached my son. My son came here to play for John in 1998 … He’s done a magnificent job and he’s been here a long time … John’s a great guy and people really like him. I could not be happier for a Cape League coach than I am for John Schiffner.”
Roberts probably won’t make it to 23 years as the head coach at Cotuit, he said with a laugh, because the team won’t want to keep him that long.