By Matt Feldman
July 10, 2016
Cotuit (8-17-1) topped the Hyannis Harbor Hawks (11-15), 2-1, Sunday night at McKeon Park in Hyannis. Though the Kettleers posted less hits and more errors than Hyannis, it was strong pitching and defense that got Cotuit out of jams throughout the game en route to just its second one-run victory this season.
Cal Stevenson’s arm
In the bottom of the eighth inning Sunday night, with just one out and a runner on third base, Hyannis batter Carl Stajduhar (New Mexico) smashed a deep fly ball to center field. As Cal Stevenson (Arizona) circled under it, Stevenson’s teammates began yelling, “tag!”. Stevenson made the catch, then gunned the ball to catcher Tim Susnara (Oregon).
As the ball sailed in from center field, Harbor Hawk base runner Chris Cullen (South Carolina) beelined to the plate from third base. But as he approached the plate, Susnara corralled the baseball and applied the tag. The double play— accented by Stevenson’s 275-foot throw and Susnara’s tag at the plate— helped the Kettleers escape the eighth inning unscathed, and stay on top of the Harbor Hawks, 2-1.
“Stevenson bailed us out there,” Cotuit head coach Mike Roberts said. “Certain plays in every game make a big difference in… the attitude of the club. We all know he can throw… in that instance, was it going to be accurate? And in that case it was.”
Eddie Muhl in the “Band-Aid” role
After Taylor Lehman (Penn State) went one and one-third innings in relief for the Kettleers, Roberts elected to pull him for right hander Eddie Muhl (George Washington). It was a situation Muhl has been in before— he calls it “the Band-Aid guy.”
“I think it’s always fun when you come into situations like that. You get to show what you’re made of,” Muhl said.
With a 3-1 count and runners on base, it was up to Muhl to get the Kettleers out of the inning in a situation that Lehman had gotten into. But it wasn’t troubling for Muhl at all. After walking the first batter, the hurler got out of the jam, notching two quick outs and leaving the mound almost as quickly as he had entered it. In total, Muhl went two and two-thirds innings for the Kettleers, notching his second win of the season.
“You zero in, for me usually around the fourth or fifth inning. It’s a mental, daily process,” Muhl said. “The consistency is a big part of it. So as long as you’re doing it every day, it gets easier and easier.”
Roberson as a closer
Josh Roberson (UNC-Wilmington) closed the game for Cotuit Sunday night, throwing the final two innings. The power right-hander allowed just one hit in his two innings of work, striking out two, walking one, and hitting another with a pitch. Roberts has talked about Roberson as a pitcher with promise— he throws hard (low-mid 90s) and has poise on the mound, but his accuracy is shaky.
Shaky or not, Roberson’s performance was enough to get the save last night for the Kettleers, as he again proved that he can be a reliable closer. He said he wouldn’t be surprised to find himself in that role for a majority of the last month of the season; Roberts told him early on that he would be a late inning guy, and he has become extremely comfortable in that spot.
“(The coaching staff) assigns roles from time to time,” Roberson said. “It hasn’t been too hard to adjust to.”