By Jon Mettus
August 4, 2015
COTUIT — Head coach Mike Roberts needed to change something up. The Kettleers dropped the first game to Hyannis and lost to the Harbor Hawks for the seventh time all season, so he wanted to shake things up.
Roberts altered the lineup, starting Saige Jenco (Virginia Tech) and putting him in the leadoff spot despite the fact that he didn’t play in the first game. Jenco finished 0-for-3, but did draw two walks, was hit by a pitch and made several running catches in the outfield.
“We just decided that we felt like we needed to change something up,” Roberts said. “… And Kendall, up until today, had struggled, his average was very low against left-handed pitching and so we felt that Saige would look at the ball really well and give us a chance up in that leadoff spot.”
Jenco drew a walk in his first at-bat, but struck out on a foul tip in the third. When he came to the plate with runners on first and second, Jenco took a fastball in the back to load that bases.
He drew another walk after taking the count full in the eighth to load the bases again.
Jenco got the last at-bat of the game, something Roberts likes to see him his leadoff hitters, but grounded out to third with two men on to end the game.
KLEIN RETURNS FOR FINAL GAME
Every day Jack Klein was at Lowell Park hitting (Stanford). Sometimes as early as 7:30 a.m. But since July 19, his position during games has been mostly on the bench.
Klein fouled a ball off his foot in a win over Wareham on July 19. Prior to Wednesday, he hadn’t started a game since July 24 at Harwich. But before the playoffs started, Roberts was holding out hope that Klein would be able to play.
On Monday, Roberts said Klein was doubtful, but on Tuesday morning, Klein was in the starting lineup, batting sixth as the designated hitter. Klein went 1-for-4 with a double and a walk.
“I think Jack brings a lot,” Roberts said. “He’s committed, he’s very bright, he works hard, he wants to get better … I think we would’ve been a better club if Jack had not hurt the foot.”
After Branden Berry (Cal State Northridge) popped out to leadoff the second, he talked to Klein in the on deck circle. Jeren Kendall (Vanderbilt) walked, then Klein smacked a line drive toward the left field line.
Kendall got held at third and Klein ran into second with a standup double. The crowd erupted with its biggest cheer of the day yet and the players in the Cotuit dugout stood up and cheered.
Hyannis field manager Chad Gassman called time to talk to his pitcher, then Cole Fabio (Bryant) drove in Kendall with a sacrifice fly.
OLSON DELIVERS THREE STRONG INNINGS
A week ago, Luke Olson (George Washington) was playing with Plymouth in the New England Collegiate Baseball League, but when the sixth inning game around on Tuesday, he was pitching in a Cape Cod Baseball League playoff game.
In just his second appearance with the Kettleers, Olson pitched three innings and gave up just two hits. The two runs he allowed were unearned and he struck out three batters.
“I just like (submarine pitchers),” Roberts said. “They give you innings and I felt like he would keep the ball out of the air and down and he did a good job.”
Olson got out to a rocky start. The first batter singled up the middle, then the second grounded one toward the second base bag. Fabio fielded the ball and tried to flip it behind his back to shortstop Mike Paez (Coastal Carolina), however the ball went nowhere near him.
A bunt moved the runners over, and then a single knocked them home.
Olson settled down in the seventh and eighth, however. He retired the Harbor Hawks in order in the seventh, striking out the last batter of the inning. In the eighth inning he did the exact same thing.