By Jon Mettus
video recap by Jon Perez
June 13, 2016
BOURNE — When it finally came it was too late and didn’t matter much. The Kettleers knocked in their first run in 15 2/3 innings with a score in the top of the seventh on Monday, but unfortunately for Cotuit, Bourne had scored nine runs prior.
The Braves (3-0) held the Kettleers (0-3) to just one run at Doran Park, winning 10-1. Cotuit has scored just one run in its last 18 innings and just four runs on the season — a league worst. Unlike Sunday’s 8-0 loss to Wareham where the Kettleers had just one hit, they managed nine hits against Bourne, but still struggled to score.
“I think you saw some things tonight on the offensive end you probably haven’t seen the first couple games, a little bit,” head coach Mike Roberts said.
“The cream always rises to the top: Who can put the bat on the ball, the meat on the bat of the ball consistently; who can play different positions. It kind of takes care of itself and I think those things will happen in the next couple days.”
When Dayton Dugas (Wichita State) singled in the second inning, he became the first Kettleer to reach base in the last 29 attempts. Dugas only made it as far as second before the inning was over though.
Ryan Hagan (Mercer) singled to start the third and with one out there were runners on the corners. The Kettleers had a prime chance to strike first in the game for their first lead of 2016, but Josh Shaw (St. John’s) was caught too far off first and was tagged out in a pickle. Roberts yelled toward Shaw and stared in his direction as Shaw sunk his head and wandered toward the dugout.
Instead, it was the Braves making the Kettleers and starting pitcher Cal Becker (Sonoma State) pay in the next half inning to the tune of four runs. Becker ultimately would receive the loss.
Offensively, Cotuit put two players on base in both the fifth and sixth innings, but neither chance bore any fruits.
Finally in the seventh, Greyson Jenista (Wichita State) and A.J. Balta (Oregon) singled to put runners on the corners. Spencer Gaa (Bradley), who entered after Jake Bivens (Michigan) hurt his arm on a throw to first earlier in the game, grounded out to first, but drove in a run on the play.
“This is a league that is very difficult for freshmen to play in,” Roberts said,” … yet Jenista is swinging the bat real well.”
Jenista was 2-for-4 on the day. He hit a line drive into the gap in right-center field in the top of the ninth inning for a triple, but again, Cotuit couldn’t find a timely hit. Ricky Surum (Mount Olive) and A.J. Balta (Oregon) struck out to end the game. Jenista was the eighth Cotuit runner left on base on the night.
Hagan was the only other Kettleer to get more than one hit as he went 2-for-3 with a pair of singles.
“We hit balls hard,” Jenista said. “We need to hit them at the right time. That’s baseball.”
“If we’re starting to put hits together, the clutch ones are going to fall. The lineouts are going to fall,” Hagan added. “So everything will work out for us.”
In the first two games of the season, the Kettleers managed just five hits. On Monday, they nearly doubled that with nine. The one run wasn’t anywhere close to enough for a win, but it was an improvement on the day before.
As Roberts continues to tinker with the lineup throughout the first month of the season, he’s confident things will shake themselves out.
“We certainly don’t want to dig a huge hole,” Roberts said. “But again, this league, and I learn every year, you can’t really say a lot in regards to predict a lot until you get to the first week of July. Then you really can figure out: ‘OK is this the club I’ve got or not the club I have.'”
Cotuit returns to action with a home game against Bourne at Lowell Park on Tuesday at 5 p.m.