By Matt Feldman
July 1, 2016
Jack Klein bats 4-for-5; is “on a mission”
Jack Klein (Stanford) posted his best game of the season Friday night against Wareham in Cotuit’s 7-6 victory. The slugger batted 4-for-5, including three RBIs and a two-run home run to deep left field in the fourth inning.
“I feel very good. (Brian Roberts) said always be ready for the fastball and relax, and that’s what I’ve been doing,” Klein said. “It’s baseball, and the odds are against you, but I’ve been feeling good.”
Klein, drafted out of Stanford as a pitcher by the Phillies in the 33rd round, has been trying to prove himself as a hitter this season with Cotuit. While Klein batted just .203 in 2016 at Stanford, the slugger has been red hot thus far on the Cape. Klein is currently batting .357 with 7 RBIs, and has two home runs and five hits in his past two games.
“Jack has a real mountain to climb. He has a lot of motivation, and he has a lot of self motivation,” Cotuit head coach Mike Roberts said. “I do think Jack’s on a little bit of a mission. He looks like a young man who has a lot more confidence than he did when he showed up.”
The Kettleers are streaking
After an 8-2 win over Chatham Wednesday night, and Friday’s 7-6 win over Wareham, the Kettleers have won two straight games, good for their first winning streak of the season. This streak comes just over a week after Cotuit head coach Mike Roberts talked about how the team was coming around, and with good all around play, could be contenders later on in the season.
“We’re playing together, we know how we act, personalities, that’s part of it,” Klein said. “And we’re just playing cleaner baseball. Since (Roberts ‘reset’ the team), our brand of baseball is changing, it’s going in the right direction.”
In its past two games, Cotuit has posted a combined twenty hits, 15 runs, and just one error. This streak of positive play comes after Cotuit started the season 1-11, it’s worst start in the history of the club. Roberts says that this is the turnaround for the team, and from here on out the team has a lot of positive things to look forward to.
“I can’t say anything but wonderful things about this club,” Roberts said. “To fight through what we had early on, and stick together the way they have right now. Let’s see how well we play in the month of July.”
Cotuit expecting four new players
Cotuit is expecting four new players within the next week or two, with two slated to arrive tomorrow. Roberts said that Clay Fisher (UC Santa Barbara), Devon Gradford (UC Santa Barbara), Jason Bilous (Coastal Carolina) and Rio Gomez (Arizona) are all expected to be up on the Cape soon.
Gradford showed up before Friday’s game, and afterwards spoke with the team outside of the dugout. Fisher, who tried out for Team USA but failed to make the team, is arriving late Friday night according to Roberts.
“I was absolutely sure, and I’ve never seen (Fisher) play, from everything I’ve heard that he would make (Team USA),” Roberts said. “I wake up to a text from him at 4 A.M. and I say, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s 4 A.M. and the sun’s getting ready to come up and I’m smiling’.”
Fresh off of their College World Series matchup, Bilous and Gomez are also slated to arrive in the coming weeks. The two pitchers, who helped carry their teams deep into the collegiate postseason, will help supplement a Kettleers’ pitching staff that struggled early in the season, but has since been stellar.
Roberts said that he expects Gomez earlier than Bilous, though, because Bilous and the rest of the Chanticleers— the 2016 NCAA College World Series Champions— have a victory celebration and other events lined up in Myrtle Beach this week that Roberts says he needs to “stay for and really enjoy”.
“The thing that you worry about in regard to players, is how many player’s you’re going to have at the end,” Roberts said. “Between injuries, school starting early; you get to a point where there’s nobody available. You want to keep that roster as full as you can.”