By Jon Mettus
July 4, 2016
FALMOUTH — The Kettleers were held to just two hits on their way to losing to Falmouth, 2-0, at Guv Fuller Field on Monday. They came into the game having won three of their last four games.
Alonzo Jones out, Ryan Hagan in
Second baseman and occasional outfielder Alonzo Jones Jr. (Vanderbilt) was originally on the lineup sheet hanging in Cotuit’s dugout prior to the game, but after batting practice Jones was swapped for Ryan Hagan (Mercer) at second base.
Jones fouled a pitch off his foot in Sunday’s game and briefly remained on the ground when it happened. But he walked it off and was never taken out of the game.
With swelling and soreness, though, he was taken out of the lineup after batting practice.
“I knew he hit the ball off his foot,” Cotuit head coach Mike Roberts said, “I didn’t know how sore it was. And we’re just trying to give him a day or two.”
Hagan had an assist and a putout on Monday. He was 1-for-3 on the day with a single into center field, accounting for half of the team’s hits.
Jared Padgett returns
Jared Padgett (Mississippi State) pitched for the first time in two weeks, entering with one out in the fifth inning and lasting only until the end of the frame.
His start was less than ideal. His arm “didn’t feel so hot” when he began to warm-up in the bullpen and he let Trevor Larnach (Oregon State) single into right with a grounder. Then Willie Burger (Penn State) hit a belt-high changeup on a line into the gap in left-center field. Larnach rounded third, but ran into the home plate umpire that was behind third in the case of a play there. The Kettleers then tagged him out and the umpire signaled for an out.
What followed was a nearly 20-minute long discussion between all the umpires, the umpires and the two head coaches, and finally Roberts and the home plate umpire. Padgett spent the delay tossing with his catcher and focusing on hitting his spots.
Padgett came out of the break firing, striking out the next two batters on four pitches each. He ran off the mound wagging his finger and begging Roberts for one more inning.
“He’s a competitor. He wants to pitch,” Roberts said. “But I’m trying to be really careful with him right now.”
They will monitor the reaction in Padgett’s elbow on Tuesday and he likely will play catch with team trainer Craig Moody, he said.
“I did a pretty decent job,” Padgett said. “It was nice coming back out. I know that’s why I’m here. I just wanted to pitch and I’m glad I got another opportunity at it.”
Cal Becker bends, but doesn’t break
Cal Becker (Sonoma State) was solid on the mound in his starting appearance, going 3 1/3 innings and giving up no runs, two hits and three walks and striking out three.
He allowed at least one runner on base in each one of the innings he pitched, but never let one cross the plate.
In the first and second, it was a two-out walk and single, respectively. He solved those with a flyout to center and strikeout, respectively. He notably made two plays on chopped balls toward the mound that normally would be taken by fielders and eaten for infield singles to get the outs instead.
The fourth is where Becker got into a bit of trouble. He retired the first batter, but then issued a single and a walk to the next two. After a first-pitch ball, his 67th pitch of the night, to the fourth batter, Roberts subbed in Rio Gomez (Arizona) for his first appearance.
Gomez loaded the bases, then induced an inning-ending double play.
“Im’ very pleased in the progress that Cal has made absolutely,” Roberts said. “I thought he did a very good job.”
Winless away from home
With the loss to Falmouth on Monday night, the Kettleers dropped to 0-10 on the road this season — compared to 5-7 at home.
The last four losses have all been away from home and by one or two runs.