By Dylan Wolter
July 19, 2015
FALMOUTH – The offensive struggles have been noticeable of late for the Kettleers, now at 12-20. It seems as if Cotuit has been searching for an offensive grove for some time now. The pitching has been the primary weapon this season, keeping the Kettleers in ball games. Following an 8-2 win against Falmouth, the Kettleers hope they can continue the hot bats.
In practice and leading up to the game, Head Coach Mike Roberts voiced his dissatisfaction with the team’s inability to get extra base hits. In particular, Roberts wanted to see his team hit more doubles. In the win against Falmouth, the Kettleers responded to their coach’s message by knocking four extra base hits. Branden Berry (Cal St. Northridge) hit the big blow with a three run dinger to go along with an RBI double but additional doubles from Spencer Gaa (Bradley) and Brett Stephens (UCLA) set the Kettleers up nicely.
“We actually talked in the dugout today that in the league we’re not seeing many extra base hits,” remarked a chipper Roberts after his teams big win, “so was it nice to see a home run and three doubles for the Kettleers? Absolutely.”
The coaches have worked hard to find the right lineup for the Kettleers all season. The order is constantly changing. If a player is struggling, Roberts will not hesitate to drop him in the lineup as a means to help the team win as well as putting some pressure on the players.
Against Falmouth on Friday, Roberts set the lineup with three lefties leading off. The only left handed hitters in the lineup, Jeren Kendall (Vandebilt), Saige Jenco (Virginia Tech), and Brett Stepehens batted at the top in that order. The coaches will claim that they don’t really set an order based on matchups, instead they want their hottest hitters at the top.
“We want the guys at the top of the lineup that are hitting the ball hard and consistently,” claimed Coach Brian Scott. Coach Roberts always puts his hottest hitter in the leadoff spot even if that hitter lacks speed because that hitter may get one extra opportunity late in the game. Cole Fabio (Bryant) has seen himself rise in the lineup recently. Although he usually batted in the bottom third of the order, a hot streak in which he has five hits in his last eleven at bats caused Fabio to be bumped up to the middle of the order.
Michael Paez (Coastal Carolina) has been no stranger to being moved around the lineup. He has hit in a plethora of different spots from the top to the bottom. Lately Paez has been batting cleanup because he has driven in the most runs for the Kettleers but was moved to the two spot in Saturday’s game against Falmouth. The move allowed Berry to be moved to cleanup which proved positive as he drove in four runs.
“I just try staying focused and just not worrying about where I’ll be hitting,” says Paez who has easily been the most consistent bat for the Kettleers this season. He claims to have never hit cleanup before coming here and he prefers to hit at the top of the order because that is what he is most used to.
Saturday’s victory was made sweeter due to the fact that it was a redemption game of sorts after losing to Falmouth on Friday night. The Kettleers will look to become more consistent with the bats heading into a Sunday night game against Wareham. With the Kettleers only a game back in the playoff hunt, they could really benefit from more production in the lineup.