By Matt Feldman
June 10, 2016
HARWICH — Jordan Pearce (Nevada) waited all game for the right pitch. The Harwich pitchers had been dominating the Cotuit hitters all game, and less a second inning RBI single, Pearce hadn’t had much luck against them.
Finally, in the top of the ninth inning, Pearce got the pitch he was waiting for.
Harwich hurler Sparos Verinos (Tufts) lofted Pearce a fastball up and in, and Pearce drove it to deep right field. The ball landed at the base of the fence, and as Pearce rounded first base he dug for two, sliding headfirst into second for a one-out double.
Down 8-2 late in the game, Pearce’s double was a case of too-little, too-late for the Kettleers, but his 2-for-4 performance was one of Cotuit’s lone offensive bright spots on the night.
“Everyone’s a little hyped up, and I was just trying to stay relaxed,” Pearce said, “get a good pitch, and put a good swing on it.”
In a game dominated by Harwich’s pitching staff, Pearce’s two hits accounted for half of the Kettleers’ four total hits on the night. Harwich crushed the Kettleers offensively, tallying eight hits to Cotuit’s four, leading the Mariners to an 8-3 victory over Cotuit Friday night at Whitehouse Field.
Hunter Williams (North Carolina) started on the mound for the Mariners, and the 6-foot-3 left hander was strong early. In five innings pitched, the southpaw allowed just two runs on two hits and five strikeouts.
“(Williams) was really good tonight,” Pearce said. “He had a really good off-speed pitch, but he gave me some good pitches to hit, too.”
Williams’ primary pitch is the fastball, but the 6’3 southpaw backed it up with a powerful curveball Friday night. Even after Williams was pulled, Harwich relievers Peter Solomon (Notre Dame), Matthew Minnick (Mercyhurst) and Verinos kept up the performance, allowing just two hits the remainder of the game for the Mariners.
“It wasn’t a bad hitting night. You have to look at what their pitchers are doing, too,” Cotuit head coach Mike Roberts said. “In this particular night, they threw fastballs.”
Though Roberts argued hitting wasn’t the issue Friday night, the absence of hits was obvious. The Kettleers batted a combined .129 in the loss, and pushed just three runs past the plate in the nine inning game.
Ricky Surum (Mount Olive), who posted a single in the loss, said most of the Kettleers’ woes were a product of “an adjustment” to the new environment on the Cape, and players just getting used to their new surroundings.
Roberts agreed, saying that he too was feeling out the new team, trying to gauge where each player would fit in the lineup. Roberts rotated 21 players through the lineup over the course of the game, mixing players in through pinch hitting and defensive substitutions.
As often as the Kettleer lineup changed Friday night, one thing that stayed consistent—and will stay consistent, according to Roberts—was the opposing pitching.
“You’re going to see a good starting pitcher on the mound for all ten teams every night you go out there,” Roberts said, “it doesn’t matter who it is, you’re going to see ten (good pitchers).”