By: Matt McHugh
June 24, 2017
Outfielder Brett Kinneman (North Carolina State) struggled in his first week on the Cape, hitting .158 with nine strikeouts in his first seven games. But now, just three games later, his average has soared up to .286, and he reached base safely all four times in Saturday’s win over Yarmouth-Dennis.
“For me, it’s honestly just relaxing and sticking with my approach,” Kinneman said. “Coach [Mike] Roberts and I have talked about some minor tweaks to my swing that I need to do to be successful, and those things have started to work for me here and there.”
Kinneman’s approach is one of the most patient in the league. His seven walks this season lead the Kettleers, and he is tied for fourth in the Cape league.
“Brett has a beautiful swing. He has that prototypical, left-handed, rhythmic swing,” Roberts said. “He’s got what I call old-fashioned buggy-whip – he really throws those hands. He got the ball thrown by him a bit in the first few games, but I think he’s using his legs more now.”
Kinneman’s big swing of the bat came in the sixth inning, when he roped an RBI double to extend Cotuit’s lead to 4-1. Kinneman also filled up the rest of the box score – he drew two walks, was hit by a pitch, stole a base and scored a run.
“That fastball he hit is one of those balls you just love to see come off the bat,” Roberts said. “And as a hitter that has to feel good when you stroke the baseball that way.”
At NC State, Kinneman hit .286 in his sophomore season, and was second on the Wolfpack with 10 home runs. He had shown good range and a good arm in left field, but the Kettleers were waiting for his bat to come around.
“There was a bit of an adjustment period,” Kinneman said. “This is a really good league – you see great arms night in and night out. You see minor flaws in your swing that throw you off a bit. I’m starting to feel much more comfortable at the plate, and hopefully I can stick with it.”
The Kettleers will hit the road for a doubleheader in Orleans on Sunday, while the Red Sox return home to host the Falmouth Commodores.
- Catcher Thomas Dillard (Ole Miss) left the game in the fifth inning with a right hand injury. With runners on second and third, pitcher Jayce Vancena (Michigan) spiked a ball in the dirt. In an effort to block the ball, Dillard stuck out his right arm, and took a ball square off his palm. On the next pitch Alex McKennna (Cal Poly) got hit on his elbow guard, and the ball deflected onto the backside of Dillard’s bare right hand. After the game, Dillard had his hand wrapped up, and was heading to the hospital for x-rays. That makes starter Gian Martellini (Boston College), the only healthy catcher on the active roster, as third stringer Ivan Gonzalez (West Virginia) has been out for about 10 days with pink eye.
- Right handed pitcher David Inman (Florida Southwestern CC) made his Kettleers debut on Saturday, and pitched 2.2 strong innings of relief. He allowed one run on one hit while striking out two batters. Inman, a submarine pitcher, worked as a starter in college, but his role on the Kettleers may be more as a reliever who can go multiple innings.
- With their nine-run outburst on Saturday, the Kettleers have taken the league lead for runs scored, with 56 in ten games. That’s especially impressive considering four teams have played 11 games. Also the team’s .293 average is well above the second-best mark of .277 (Chatham).
- Coach Roberts is known for his extensive use of small ball, and that has been present early in the 2017 season. The Kettleers have 11 sacrifice bunts, while no other Cape team has more than four.