By Dylan Wolter
July 11, 2015
WAREHAM – The Cotuit Kettleers (10-17) added two more pieces to their squad that will help make a playoff push late in the season. With rosters always changing, late season additions are critical for the team’s chances down the stretch. Saige Jenco (Virginia Tech) and Michael Cantu (Texas) look to offer anything they can to a depleted Kettleers team.
Saige Jenco is no stranger to the Cape Cod League. He played the beginning of the season with the Harwich Mariners until he was released on July 7. Once released, college teammate Jonathan Woodcock insisted the Kettleers pick up the outfielder.
The Kettleers have dealt with numerous injuries this year, but the recent injuries to Jack Klein (Stanford) and Matt Albanese (Bryant) are a significant blow to the Cotuit lineup. Manager Mike Roberts claims that the team has no idea when they will be able to play, making the Jenco addition all the more important.
Jenco has struggled so far this year for the Harwich Mariners, his season average at .122 in 15 games. Still, Jenco provides depth to an injury riddled offense. Mike Roberts plans to work with Jenco and see if there’s anything he can do to help the struggling outfielder.
“Jenco hit .300 in the ACC. He has struggled up here when he was at Harwich,” claimed Roberts after the team’s 2-1 loss to Wareham. “I just got to take more of a look at him and see if I can help him some.” Still Roberts hopes that Jenco can pick up the Kettleers in lieu of recent injuries and provide depth the rest of the season. Jenco also has a ton of speed, something Roberts plans to utilize on the bases.
Michael Cantu also comes from a top division one school in the University of Texas. The Longhorn is an imposing catcher at 6’3, 230 lbs. Unlike Jenco, this is Cantu’s first appearance in the Cape Cod league. He spent the start of his summer finishing up classes back at school but couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the Kettleers.
Coach Roberts plans to use Tim Susnara at third base for the remainder of the season, leaving a hole at the catcher’s position. Cantu can now fight with Will Haynie (Alabama) for time behind the dish. He was thrown into his first appearance on Saturday at Wareham, handling the pitching staff well but going hitless in two at bats. Still it was a good first glimpse at the young catcher who was replaced by Haynie in the sixth inning.
Cantu thinks he can help this team in multiple areas, mentioning, “With me it’s just a lot of energy, a lot of fun. This is a game, it’s a big kid’s game and hopefully I can bring some leadership and a few hits here and there.” The Kettleers could certainly use his confidence here late in the season.
Cantu had a good season as a freshman at Texas, starting in 52 games. He was named to the Big 12 All-Freshman team, a prestigious award in such a dominant conference. He is a patient hitter who brings energy behind the plate and provides solid defense with a big frame.
Anderson Getting Work – Jack Anderson pitched another three innings for the Kettleers on Saturday. He’s pitched 10.2 innings since July 4th, cementing himself as one of Roberts’ favorite arms to go to in late in the game.
Against Wareham, he pitched three innings of scoreless baseball, striking out three and walked none although he hit two batters. Roberts loves the submarine action that Anderson owns and praises his ability to get lefties and righties out. Roberts will live with hit batters as long as they don’t come around to score which is something Anderson has made sure of.
“I don’t think it’s fatigue, I think it’s mechanics,” discussed Roberts. “I’m trying to get him to step more toward third base and that’s an adjustment that’s not always easy to make during the game, so we’ll keep working on that.”
Roberts acknowledged that he has used Anderson quite a bit this last week but says that the submariner claims he has not felt any fatigue. Still, Roberts mentioned that Anderson will probably get some rest on Sunday and not come in the game at all. The Kettleers rely on his arm quite a bit and will need to preserve it for the stretch run.
Plenty of Defensive Subs – Mike Roberts is never afraid to shake up the defense and we have seen that plenty this season, putting guys out of their natural position due to injuries or lack of depth. Roberts did it again on Saturday, the most interesting move sliding Branden Berry (Cal St Northridge) into the outfield.
Berry is natural first basemen but claims to have played the outfield before. Roberts loves Berry’s enthusiasm for the game. “That guy plays the game the right way. He is a backyard guy, he’s right up my alley. I’ll pitch him; I don’t care where he goes.” Although the pitching comment wasn’t supposed to be taken literally, Berry brings a ton of energy wherever he goes and it showed against Wareham.
In the bottom of the eighth, after Berry made the substitution, he proved that he could handle the outfield just fine. A Wareham hitter stroked a ball into right field. Berry misplayed it at first, taking a step in, but then raced back to make a leaping catch over his shoulder. He doubled up the runner heading to second on the play, throwing a dart to first base. Berry came running back to the dugout with a huge smile on his face as his teammates swarmed him with praise for the catch.
“It’s no big deal,” claim’s the always upbeat Berry. “I’ve played corner outfield positions before so I feel pretty comfortable out there.” It probably won’t be a common occurrence but don’t be surprised to see Berry get a few more appearances in the outfield, at least until guys like Klein and Albanese are healthy again.
We also saw Brody Weiss (Riverside JC) replace Cole Fabio (Bryant) early on at second base due to “a lack of hustle” from Fabio. As previously mentioned Haynie replaced Cantu at catcher. The other substitution was the newly acquired Ross Grosvenor (South Carolina) getting his first action at first base late in the game for the Kettleers once Berry moved to right field. Coach Roberts always changes up the defense to his liking, not shy in putting his players out of their natural positions.