By Jon Mettus
June 22, 2016
COTUIT — The Kettleers (1-10) lost again on Wednesday night, this time falling to the Harwich Mariners (9-2), 7-2, at Lowell Park, despite out hitting Harwich, 9-7.
Here are three things we learned from the game.
The reset has to do with energy and effort
You probably noticed the Kettleers players sprinting to their positions on Wednesday, cheering more from the dugout, or catcher Hagen Owenby (East Tennessee State) being more vocal behind plate.
Head coach Mike Roberts addressed the team in the dugout for nearly an hour Wednesday afternoon to “reset” the team. He told them he wasn’t worried about the losses, but was upset with the way the team had been playing.
After each game, Roberts is going to grade the team based on its effort. On Wednesday, he circled the letter “B” up on the whiteboard in the dugout under the words “How the Kettleers play.”
“Much better effort by the entire team,” Roberts said.” … The atmosphere is definitely better. They understand that when you’re struggling you don’t go backwards in regard to your effort you got to go forward.”
The home plate umpire complimented Owenby on his effort, Roberts said. During the afternoon meeting with the team, Roberts expressed that the energy and effort levels are start with the catcher.
“I’m standing in the third base box every night and I’m thinking ‘Wow, i don’t see any difference in the talent level between the other teams and our club, but for some reason we can’t right now get in the win column.
“You felt better about everything,” Roberts said of the game. “You felt better when we fell behind.” But he’d give the team a “B” for execution, too, however, which cost it.
Matthew Kinney is back as an assistant coach
Another familiar face showed up at Lowell Park on Thursday as 2015 Kettleer Matthew Kinney donned the Cotuit uniform once again to serve in his new role as an assistant coach while completing an internship for his master’s degree. Kinney’s college eligibility is all used up and is transitioning into a coaching career.
The former outfielder and pitcher will be working as the team’s bullpen coach like he did for a few games while he was injured at the beginning of last season. Kinney only pitched six innings across five games last season, allowing two runs — none earned — and five hits.
Kinney was an outfielder for his first three years of college and pitcher for the last two. He said he’ll help the pitchers refine their mechanics and will be an extra set of eyes for Roberts. He’ll also work with the outfielders and hitters during practice.
“The pitching staff is really good. I think they have a lot of potential. I think some of them are trying to find their roles right now and some of them are being put in different roles that they haven’t had in awhile. … I think we’re piecing things together and it looks really promising.”
Ryan Hagan is playing like one of the best shortstops in the league
After early season miscues in a struggling infield, Roberts mixed up the defensive alignment and Ryan Hagan (Mercer) landed at shortstop. The move sured up the middle infield and what followed, on Hagan’s end, has been nothing short of perfection.
In 74 2/3 innings played at short this season, Hagan has 13 putouts and 39 assists with no errors to his name. He’s got the most assists at short in the league and the most putouts plus assists. He’s the only player with more than 70 innings that hasn’t committed an error.
“Hagan’s played exceptionally well at shortstop,” Roberts said. “He’s a fundamentally sound shortstop like Derek Jeter and he’s just done a marvelous job for us.”
Hagan made nine different plays in the field for the Kettleers in Wednesday — the most out of any player. He got a line drive and fielded eight ground balls for outs.