By Jon Mettus
July 19, 2015
COTUIT — Duncan Robinson (Dartmouth) jogged out from the bullpen and found himself in a jam. The 6-foot-6-inch right-handed pitcher replaced starter Daniel Brown (Mississippi State), who left runners on second and third. The Gatemen had just scored two runs on the previous batter and controlled the momentum.
But then Robinson threw two called strikes and induced a ground out to third base to silence the Wareham fans.
The Kettleers had given up three runs and eight hits in the first 3 2/3 innings until Robinson came in and shut the door. He held Wareham scoreless, giving up just one hit over 2 2/3 innings to earn the victory. Cotuit came back from a three run deficit to win.
“Duncan Robinson really picked us up,” head coach Mike Roberts said. “… I saw a better pitcher tonight in Duncan Robinson than I saw five weeks ago.”
“I was very pleased and I was happy for Duncan that he pitched in a very critical game and also a critical part of that game.”
Robinson fanned Nick Cieri (Maryland) on a low changeup to start the fifth, for his only strikeout of the game. “That a boy, Dunc,” someone yelled during the next batter, which Robinson got to fly out to left.
Robinson allowed a single on a grounder up the middle, but forced another ground ball and gloved it this time before throwing to first to end the inning.
He worked a one-two-three sixth inning and retired the first batter of the seventh. Robinson walked the next man up and was replaced.
Robinson’s mechanics were cleaner than in previous games, Roberts said. When he missed with the breaking ball he missed in the dirt instead of out over the plate, he added.
“He threw four changeups to one left-hand hitter and they were all 77 mph,” Roberts said. “Well, that’s consistency with your mechanics.”
Coming into Sunday’s game, Robinson hadn’t pitched in two weeks. His only outing where he allowed less than four runs was a two-out performance in a win over Falmouth on July 3. But on Sunday, he rebounded to deliver his best performance of the year.
“He was more confident even though he hasn’t pitched in a long time,” Roberts said.
DJEHUTI-MES MAKES COTUIT DEBUT
Nkosi Djehuti-Mes’ (Southern) flight from California landed around 9 a.m. and by 12:30 p.m. he was in Cotuit, heading to Lowell Park right away.
Just a few hours later Djehuti-Mes was starting as the designated hitter for the Kettleers in a home win over Wareham. The right-handed batter went 1-for-2 with a run scored and a walk.
“The walk was good, but in the last at-bat a saw a young man who was kind of patient, sat still, reached out and flicked those hands into right field,” Roberts said. “Adding another potential offensive threat could really help our club.”
In his first at-bat, Djehuti-Mes struck out swinging. But in the next, he drew a walk, despite falling behind in the count 0-2. Jeren Kendall (Vanderbilt) hit a triple and Djehuti-Mes hustled around the bases scoring all the way from first.
“I was a little anxious in my first few at-bats,” Djehuti-Mes said, adding that it might take another game for him to get used to it and settle down.
He took a wide turn around the third base bag and fist pumped Will Haynie (Alabama) after the pair crossed the plate.
In his last at-bat, Djehuti-Mes was able to poke a ball the opposite way into right field for a single. A bunt moved him over to second before a pinch-runner came in.
“(I was) starting to feel a little bit (jet lagged) toward the end of the game, but I’m glad to be out here,” Djehuti-Mes said.
Nick Lewis (Baylor), a pitcher for Cotuit, had no idea he was going to be called on to pinch-run for the Kettleers. But with Djehuti-Mes on second in the seventh inning, Lewis trotted out to take his place.
“Nick was a shortstop all the way up until going to Baylor, so we felt Nick was our best option,” Roberts said.
A few weeks ago Roberts had pulled Lewis from the bullpen to put his cleats on and possibly pinch-run, but nothing ever came of it. On Sunday, Lewis was walking around the stands selling 50-50 raffle tickets and in the broadcast booth doing an interview until around the fifth inning. A little later he was taking his lead off of second with one out.
“It was a little weird to be out there,” Lewis said. “It’s been about three years, but it was fun.”
Michael Paez (Coastal Carolina) hit a soft line drive right by the second base bag and Lewis scampered back, watching the second baseman trip and drop the ball.
The next batter, Brett Stephens (UCLA) grounded into a double play and the inning was over.