By Dylan Wolter
July 31, 2015
COTUIT – “I was convinced that before we ever played a game this summer, I knew we were going to have a good pitching staff and we have,” remarked Head Coach Mike Roberts, “ but the way you have a great pitching staff is you have a good defense and we have not backed it up.” This was the unfortunate story for the Cotuit Kettleers (16-26) on Friday evening, squandering a solid pitching performance from Austin Sexton (Mississippi St). The Kettleers wound up losing the ball game to the Hyannis Harbor Hawks by a score of 6-2.
Sexton, coming off a twelve strikeout performance in Harwich a week ago, did not get the game started on the right foot. Three consecutive hits, including a leadoff double, got things started for the Harbor Hawks, jumping out to a 1-0 lead before an out was even recorded. This is where Sexton realized he was going to have make some changes to get through the ball game.
“It was a weird day. I didn’t really have my changeup today and that’s my best pitch,” claimed Sexton. “Will and I had to make the adjustment and go to the curveball more. That’s not one of my strong suits but it worked out today.”
The adjustment worked to Sexton’s favor, proving it by striking out the next two hitters in the inning. With two outs and runners on first and second, Sexton induced a ground ball that Michael Paez (Coastal Carolina) attempted to backhand. The ball came out of his glove for the first error of the day, loading the bases. The next hitter laced a hard grounder to Branden Berry (Cal St Northridge) who attempted to stab the baseball. It took a high bounce off the first baseman’s glove and deflected to Cole Fabio (Bryant) at second base. One run had already scored but Fabio fired a throw home to try and nab the runner from second attempting to score. The throw was just late, the runner sliding just past the outstretched glove of Will Haynie (Alabama) for a 3-0 lead.
Sexton lifted the team through the next five innings, however, not allowing another earned run while striking out five. The Kettleers even added a run in the bottom of the fifth inning on a Saige Jenco (Virginia Tech) RBI single up the middle. When the seventh inning came around the score was 3-1, but things took another turn once Brody Weiss (Riverside JC) started the inning out with a ball that he simply missed at third base. The third error of the game ended Sexton’s day and very solid performance.
“It’s part of the game. You can’t expect everyone to be perfect. I’m not perfect out there every time,” admitted Sexton on the defense that backed him against Hyannis. Mike Roberts called on Jack Anderson (Penn State) to get out of the inning but Anderson was unable to help himself or the team on Friday night. After an infield single, Anderson was pitching with a man on first and second and no one out. He jammed the next hitter who hit a weak dribbler back to the mound. Anderson decided to take the ball to third, plenty of time to get the out, but the natural submarine pitcher threw an awkward throw to third that Weiss was unable to control. It was a poor throw that Weiss simply could not corral , the ball wandering to the outfield and a run scoring because of it.
“The bottom right hand corner of the scoreboard is what you see and when you see four errors it’s very difficult to overcome that,” mentioned a solemn Mike Roberts as he signed autographs for young fans. “We can play with anyone in the league. It breaks my heart that we have struggled primarily because of our defense.”
Jack Anderson could not escape the inning after the error, the Harbor Hawks adding to their lead on a couple of singles. With the score 6-1, Hyannis had all the room they needed to win their sixth ballgame of the season against the Kettleers. A Will Haynie homerun would make it a final score of 6-2 and with two games left in the regular season, the Kettleers hold a half game lead over the Falmouth Commodores for fourth place.
With the imminent arrival of the playoffs, these next two games are undeniably crucial for Cotuit. Roberts has faith in his team, however, and claims their spirits remain high from the solid baseball they have been playing recently. Still the head coach believes the team has to improve its polish in these last games of the season. “Its determination and how you play the game, knowing situational baseball,” affirmed Roberts on what his team needs to improve on its final two match ups.
The determined Kettleers will look to battle against the YD Red Sox Saturday Night (4:30) at Lowell Park.