By Matt Feldman
June 23, 2016
The Kettleers’ coaching staff called pitches for at least a portion of the game
Cotuit (1-11) head coach Mike Roberts has always been a strong proponent of his catchers calling their own games. He says it’s a change from college ball, where many coaches call pitches from the dugout, and also a precursor to professional baseball, where games are called almost exclusively by the catcher.
But after starting the season 1-10 and seeing pitching and catching both struggle over the last two-and-a-half weeks, Roberts decided to take some control away from his catchers Thursday. He tasked assistant coach Nolan Clark to call pitches during Eddie Muhl’s (George Washington) start. Scott could be seen touching his face, sending signals to Kettleer catcher Tim Susnara, who would relay the calls to Muhl.
Roberts said it “pains him” to see his staff have to call pitches— as a catcher in his playing days, Roberts always called his own games— but said it was necessary to take some pressure off of his catchers.
Cal Stevenson is an option on the mound, too
Cal Stevenson (Arizona) has seen time almost exclusively as an outfielder so far for Cotuit, playing in eight games thus far for the Kettleers. Roberts usually throws Stevenson in left field, but with a slim bullpen and no other options to go to, he gave Stevenson a shot on the mound late in Thursday’s game.
Stevenson threw the final two innings for Cotuit, allowing two hits and striking out two. He allowed no runs. His fastball topped out at 87, and he threw consistent strikes in his two innings of work. It was a performance that may warrant another relief appearance from Stevenson in a few nights if Roberts needs him.
Thursday wasn’t the first time Stevenson has seen time on the mound in his career. In his 2015 season at Chabot Community College, Stevenson appeared in seven games for the Gladiators, striking out eleven and earning just one run.
Cotuit is struggling
Thursday night’s loss marked the seventh straight loss for Cotuit, and the team’s eleventh loss in the first twelve games this season. The Kettleers are last in total batting, last in total pitching, and have surrendered the most runs (83) in the league. And with a record of 1-11, Cotuit is on pace to break the record for most losses in a season (36) and least wins in a season (8).
“Non-competitive,” Roberts said. “I’ve been doing this 44 years, and never had a team that was non-competitive. Right now, we’re non-competitive.”
The Kettleers need a win in the next couple of days. The team needs it for themselves, the team needs it for the fans, and the team needs it for their coaching staff.
“It’s been a tough ride,” Roberts said. “And this (season) has kind of thrown me through a loop.”
And as hard as the season has been for Roberts and the rest of the team, he is adamant that it isn’t due to a lack of talent. He says Cotuit’s talent level is on par with the other Cape League teams’, but there is something missing that is separating Cotuit from the others, and he hasn’t been able to figure it out yet.