June 18, 2017
Cotuit—Paul Martellini watched as his son, Gian (Boston College), stepped into the batter’s box in the bottom of the eighth inning. It was the first game of a doubleheader between the Cotuit (4-0) and Brewster (2-2), and in these doubleheaders the teams only play seven innings each game in order to protect their players from injury. Thus, Martellini’s at-bat with runners on first and third was a potential game-winner.
The catcher struggled throughout the game with three strikeouts in three at-bats. Now, with a runner in scoring position, he earned the opportunity for the perfect Father’s Day gift. Martellini smacked the first pitch into shallow center field, scoring Greyson Jenista (Wichita State), who sprinted home from third to give Cotuit the game-winning run. In all the celebration, a moment of relief for Martellini, who couldn’t find the ball most of the day.
“I just hit first base, turned around and the guys mobbed me,” Martellini said.
Paul stood by the gate, a proud father, eager to hug his son when the team broke before the doubleheader.
“It means a lot,” Paul said. “I know how hard he works and I’m happy for him.”
Martellini’s walk-off single gave Cotuit the 4-3 win in game one of the doubleheader this Sunday at Lowell Park. Martellini, and the team though, were lucky to be in position to win in the first place. Noah Davis (UC Santa Barbara) started the first contest, and struggled. After one time through the Brewster order Davis was down 1-0, having given up four hits, a walk and a wild pitch and only earned three outs.
He now faced Travis Swaggerty (South Alabama) in the top of the second inning with the bases loaded and no outs. Swaggerty hit a sharp ground ball to second base, where Ako Thomas (Michigan) made a heads-up play to throw the runner out at home and prevent a run, but with one out the bases remained loaded.
Connor Smith (Western Michigan), followed up the first out with a popup to left field, deep enough for most to tag and score. Devin Foyle (Kansas) took off from third, but Brett Kinneman (NC State) sent a rocket home from left field to gun down Foyle and end the inning. Two consecutive innings Davis faced huge trouble and escaped with minimal damage.
The third would be different, and head coach Mike Roberts saw enough. Davis walked the first two batters, forcing Roberts to bring in Adam Scott (Wofford). Scott gave up a single against his first hitter to load the bases, the first two base runners belonging to Davis. But Scott then proceeded to force three consecutive flyouts to escape another jam.
“We know that anyone can go out there, and do their job and get those outs that we need,” Scott said. “Those runs are critical to keep off the board.
Scott wouldn’t last long though, setting up turbulence for himself. After three consecutive line drives, another run, and White Caps aboard first and third, Roberts signaled to his bullpen. This time for Jayce Vancena (Michigan). The right-hander entered the game with two outs, but a red-hot Pete Schuler (Kent State) at the dish. Schuler opened the game 2-2, with two line drives, the first of which driving in a run. With the pressure on, and runners on the corners, Vancena fooled Schuler and shut down the first baseman swinging.
Four innings in and Brewster was tied with Cotuit despite putting runners aboard on 12 different occasions. Cotuit managed to strand nine Brewster base runners and force two outs at home to prevent runs.
Vancena, who arguably delivered the performance of the day tossed two strikeouts in 2.1 innings and did not allow a single base runner, the only Cotuit pitcher to do so.
“It’s pounding the zone,” Vancena said. “We have a lot of strong arms with plus off-speed and that just helps with forcing soft contact.”
Clark Cota (UNC Wilmington) nearly blew Scott and Vancena’s hard work by allowing a leadoff home run to tie the game at 3-3 in the top of the sixth. But the hard-throwing righty regained his composure to strike out the side, before Zane Collins (Wright State) would eventually come in to snatch the win.
A sigh of relief from Martellini after his walk-off single was only possible because of the tremendous work that the relief core provided to close a wide-open door in several crucial moments.
“We were very fortunate in the first game to win that ballgame,” Roberts said. “Pitching always dominates.”
The Kettleers’ next game is Monday, June 19, in a make-up game at Chatham. First pitch is at 7:00 p.m.
- Brewster reached base twice as many times as Cotuit, 14-7, and the White Caps left more runners on base within the first four innings than the Kettleers put aboard in eight innings.
- Jayce Vancena was the only pitcher in either game of the doubleheader who threw more than one inning without allowing a single base runner.
- Cotuit is currently the only undefeated team in the Cape Cod Baseball League. The Kettleers boast the number one run differential, +12 runs, allowing the least runs in the league thus far, 7.
- Zane Collins earned the win in both games today, appearing in relief. The two wins he earned today make him the league leader in wins. No one else has two.
- Griffin Conine (Duke) currently leads the league in RBIs with six.
- Cotuit currently has three players in the top five of the West Division in batting average: Conine (.467) ranks third, Ako Thomas (.444) ranks fourth and Zack Kone (.417) ranks fifth.