By Jon Mettus
July 1, 2016
COTUIT — Jack Klein (Stanford) says he doesn’t try to guess pitches. But over the last two games, it seems like he’s known what pitches were coming before they reached the plate.
He watched one ball before hammering a home run high into the trees beyond left field in fourth inning. It was one of four hits he had on the day in his five at-bats. He drove in three runs and scored once to lead the Kettleers (4-14) to a 7-6 win over the Wareham Gatemen (9-8-1) for Cotuit’s first winning streak of the season. The team’s 13 hits were the most in a game for the Kettleers this season and they have now won three out of their last five games after dropping the first 11 of 12.
“We’re beginning to let’s just say see some small signs that we have chance to be a pretty good club in the Cape League,” head coach Mike Roberts said.
Before Klein could get his first hit, the Kettleers were already up 3-0. A botched pickoff move landed Cal Stevenson (Arizona) at third base before Alonzo Jones Jr. (Vanderbilt) singled up the middle to send him home. Quinn Brodey (Stanford) singled with a grounder into right field to put runners on the corners. Then, it looked like Tim Susnara (Oregon) would groundout to third to end the inning, but Preston Grand Pre (UCLA) spiked his throw to first into the dirt and two runs came around to score.
Klein pushed the lead to 4-0 with his first hit of the game — a grounder up the middle the rolled out to center field.
After Pat Dorrian (Lynn) homered to lead off the fourth inning and Jason Delay (Vanderbilt) followed with a single, the Gatemen opted for Tom Cosgrove (Manhattan) to replace starter Jake Walters (Alabama).
He fared even worse as Klein lofted the next pitch he saw for a two-run home run — just a bit higher and farther than the one he hit one game prior.
Klein tapped helmets with Delay as he crossed the plate. Quinn Brodey (Stanford) yelled out, “He’s feeling it,” as Klein returned to the dugout.
‘Whatever I have, whatever my swing is right now,” Klein said, “I’m going to use it to the best of my ability.”
The Gatemen came back with four runs in the final two innings — including two home runs — but the Kettleers were able to hold onto the big lead built in the first four innings by Klein and Co.
Klein is a man on a mission this season with plenty to prove.
His average has gone down each of his three years at Stanford to .202 this spring. With concerns about his ability at the plate, Klein was drafted in the 33rd round this year by the Phillies as a pitcher.
But it’s not what he wants to do.
“Jack has a real mountain to climb,” Roberts said. “A goal, I think. He has a lot of motivation and he also has a lot of self motivation.”
On the Cape this summer, in front of all the scouts, Klein has excelled.
He would be sixth in the league with a .357 average if he had the 1.6 more plate appearances to qualify for the leaderboard and his seven RBI lead the team.
Klein is hitting 1.000 with four RBI when there are two outs and runners in scoring position. In six at-bats with runners in scoring position, he’s hitting .667 with five RBI.
“I try not to think about the numbers,” Klein said. “If it’s meant to be and I get to keep playing baseball that’s great.”