Video highlights by Jon Perez and Halley Harris
By Matt Feldman
July 9, 2016
Cotuit head coach Mike Roberts stood at the corner of the dugout, shaking his head as he watched what was unfolding on the field.
“Infield in,” Roberts groaned as he motioned with his hand.
Brewster slugger Nick Dunn (Maryland) had just mashed a single to lead off Saturday’s game, and Cotuit starting pitcher Jason Bilous (Coastal Carolina) followed up the hit in the next at bat with a ball in the dirt past Bryce Jordan (LSU).
Dunn jogged to second, capitalizing on the first of many pitching miscues of the Kettleers’ night.
Later in the at bat, Dunn advanced to third base after another wild pitch skipped in front of Kettleers’ catcher Cory Voss (Arizona), rolling behind the home plate umpire. Jordan jogged to first as Dunn stood safely at third— the scoreboard in center field showing no outs.
It was sloppy all around play from the Kettleers early, coupled with an inability to find consistent pitching and hitting, that cost Cotuit one of its worse losses in recent weeks. The Kettleers (7-17-1) fell to the Whitecaps (11-14), 5-0, Saturday at Lowell Park in Cotuit. Despite having five hits, Brewster reached base 15 times in total, thanks to six walks, three hit batsmen and an error.
After winning the College World Series title in Omaha with his Chanticleers just over one week ago, Bilous was given his first start of the summer on the Cape for Cotuit. The right hander came out firing, topping his fastball at 96 MPH, but struggled with command all around.
“(Bilous has a) great arm, but we need to teach him direction,” Roberts said. “Quite a few walks, hit batsmen, wild pitches… I was concerned about that.”
Roberts said he texted Bilous before the game and told him that he would like to give him three innings Saturday, but Bilous could barely get halfway there.
In Bilous’ one and two-thirds innings, he allowed just one hit, walking three and hitting two batters. Bilous was responsible for two of Brewster’s runs, allowing one each in the first two innings of the game.
“I didn’t have as much feel as I wanted, I felt good with my changeup, a little shaky with the fastball, slider,” Bilous said. “But it was the first outing, I’m sure I’ll do good the next couple.”
Less than two innings into the game, Roberts marched to the mound and pulled Bilous from the game. He opted for left hander Rio Gomez in an early effort to mend the wound Biolus’ struggles had created.
But just three innings later, after a home run and two more Brewster runs— all credited to Gomez— the wound had only been exacerbated.
“(Gomez) is a finesse left hander, he’s going to give up some runs,” Roberts said. “He’s not gonna go out there and just blank people.”
After getting Cotuit out of a jam in the top of the second inning, Gomez allowed his third home run in as many games in the top of the third, this time a one-out shot from Matt Davis (VCU) that floated just over the left field fence, past the outstretched glove of a leaping Quinn Brodey (Stanford).
The homer moved the score to 3-0, and even after Gomez was replaced by lefty Jared Padgett (Mississippi State), Brewster kept increasing the margin, pushing it to 5-0 by the end of the fifth inning.
“In the first five or six innings, when you have a total of eight or nine walks and hit batsmen, you’re not going to win many games,” Roberts said.
From there, Cotuit continued to struggle at the plate, posting just five hits in the game. Brewster starter Konnor Pilkington (Mississippi State) was stellar in the victory for the Whitecaps, allowing no runs on just four hits in seven innings of work. He struck out five.
The Whitecaps failed to score any more runs after the fifth inning, thanks in part to strong relief pitching from David Gerics (Pomona-Pitzer) in the eight and ninth. But the five-run deficit was too much for Cotuit to overcome late in the game, eventually falling, 5-0.
“You’ve got to throw strikes, and offensively, I don’t think I’ve had a team take as many first pitches as this team has,” Roberts said. “I really believe we have the ability to win every game, but you’ve got to throw strikes.”