By Dylan Wolter
July 7, 2015
COTUIT – The last time Jonathan Woodcock (Virginia Tech) faced the Wareham Gatemen he made one single mistake, a pitch he left up for a solo home run. The Kettleers (9-15) went on to lose that game at Wareham 1-0. Woodcock sought redemption against the Gatemen at home on Tuesday night, pitching seven innings of shutout baseball. The start led Cotuit to a 2-1 victory, their second in a row, and proved why Woodcock has been the Kettleers most reliable starter.
Woodcock’s record improved to 3-1, and his ERA on the season dropped to a ridiculous 0.98. Against the Gatemen he went seven innings, allowed five hits, zero walks, and struck out five. In total, the poised lefty has allowed only one earned run in 13 innings against the Gatemen.
“He did another great job,” mentioned Manager Mike Roberts. “I think he just changed speeds real well. He probably threw 50 percent changeups.” Woodcock doesn’t dominate with his stuff; he doesn’t blow hitters away or overpower them. Instead he is meticulous in his offerings, rarely leaving the ball out over the plate.
Oddly enough, Woodcock allowed the leadoff man to get on in the first three innings with singles. “It was tough working from the stretch for three outs, but I was lucky my defense backed me up,” remarked a modest Woodcock.
The defense was solid against the Gatemen. In the first inning after the leadoff batter got on, Will Haynie (Alabama) blocked a pitch in the dirt and gunned down the runner who was foolish in thinking he could test Haynie’s arm. Then in the third inning, Wareham tried a different approach after a leadoff single. Tim Susnara (Oregon), in his second consecutive start at third, fielded a bunt and made a strong throw to get the out at first. Then with a runner in scoring position, Michael Paez (Coastal Carolina) backhanded a ball deep in shortstop and fired a dart to first base to keep the runner from advancing.
Woodcock was never really in trouble for the next four innings, keeping the ball low and limiting hard contact. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Woodcock got all of the support he needed from the offense. Spencer Gaa (Bradley) led off the inning with a leadoff double down the third base line. Although it looked like it was just going to be a single, Gaa was digging all the way determined to make it to second, getting his foot on the bag just in time before the tag. A wild pitch would move Gaa to third. After a strikeout, Matt Albanese (Bryant) took a walk, putting runners at the corners. The big hit came from Jack Klein (Stanford), poking an RBI single to right field for a 1-0 lead. A sac fly from Brody Weiss (Riverside JC), which ended up being a crucial insurance run for the Kettleers, made the score 2-0.
“We came in and we practiced hitting, I was working on getting on my backside and not jumping at the ball,” says Klein who’s nine-game hitting streak was snapped a couple days ago, “It was good to get a win. We’re starting to put it together a little bit.” Klein mentioned he was just trying to elevate the ball, knowing the opposing pitcher was throwing predominately off-speed pitches. An RBI single to snap his mini slump works better, however.
Jack Anderson (Penn State) came on in the eighth, pitching well in his second consecutive game. He started the ninth as well, Roberts “going with his gut,” but after a swinging bunt single, Justin Dunn (Boston College) came in to shut the door. Dunn gave up a couple singles in the hole at shortstop to make the score 2-1 but he ended the threat by striking out the last hitter on a fastball up.
The team jumped out of the dugout in excitement, knowing they earned this win. It was a fun game to watch, pitching and timely hits leading the Kettleers to a victory and sole position of fourth place in the standings. More importantly the Kettleers are looking more confident, making fewer mistakes and playing fundamental baseball.
“We’ve been working real hard,” claimed Woodcock, talking about the win and the mindset of his club, “We’ve been getting so close and falling barely short so it’s nice to see two games click in a row and hopefully we can keep it rolling.”
The Kettleers will look to keep it rolling against the first place Orleans Firebirds (17-6) on Wednesday night.