Produced by Cierra Jordan
July 25, 2017
Brewster – After shaking hands, Cotuit headed into the dugout. No post-game meeting. The team packed up from Stony Brook Field and boarded the bus as soon as possible, with no one looking at the field behind.
“We were just dominated,” Cotuit head coach Mike Roberts said.
Cotuit entered Tuesday’s game against Brewster looking to sweep the season series. Instead, Cotuit ended the game with no runs, four hits and four errors in a 9-0 shutout loss. The defeat, in addition to a Falmouth win, keeps Cotuit locked in third place, just two points ahead of Wareham, who owns the tiebreaker.
With the 1-4 teams in the West locked in a heated battle for the division, every remaining game becomes even more critical.
Brewster opened the scoring in the second inning with back-to-back-to-back hits from Justin Kunz (Gardner-Webb), A.J. Graffanino (Washington) and Christian Molfetta (Stanford). Aside from that streak, the first half of the outing remained relatively quiet. Through five innings, Brewster led 2-0.
The game turned south following the fifth inning, when Roberts substituted Jayce Vancena (Michigan) into relief for starter Austin Kitchen (Coastal Carolina). Vancena struggled off the bat, yielding two hits, a walk and a run through his first three batters faced. When he managed to escape the inning without serious damage, Cotuit found itself down 4-0, due to a sacrifice fly from Graffanino, and still unable to put any runs on the board.
As Roberts continued to switch pitchers, the situation didn’t grow any better. Kyle Kemp (Lipscomb) failed to get any defensive support in his one inning, giving up one earned run, but three overall. And the defense continued its slide in the eighth as Christian Demby (N.C. State) allowed two runs, but just one earned.
At the end of the outing it is easy to point at the pitching and the nine runs it gave up, but poor offense and defense have been two facets of Cotuit’s game that has haunted the Kettleers in the past two weeks.
“I think we need to look for our pitches,” Gian Martellini (Boston College) said. “Not the pitcher’s pitch.”
Over the last 11 games, Cotuit has gone just 3-8 and scored more than four runs just three times. During that stretch the pitching has limited its opponent to four or less runs six times, but has just 3-3 in those games.
Against Brewster, through eight innings the Kettleers had more errors (4) than hits (3), and Terrin Vavra (Minnesota) managed just to tie it at four with two outs in the ninth inning.
“We were just making weak contact,” Zack Kone (Duke) said. “We get in some ruts where we don’t put pressure on the defense or the pitcher”
Brewster starter Tony Locey (Georgia) thrived in the shutout win, going deeper into the game than any White Caps pitcher has this season. In eight innings Locey totaled six strikeouts and gave up just three hits.
“(Locey) worked both sides of the plate and mixed pitches effectively,” Martellini said. “He did a really good job.”
Tuesday’s loss marks the third time Cotuit has been shut out this season. Only Vavra recorded more than one hit against Brewster, as he now leads the team in batting average at .325. Cotuit’s batting average continues to slide as a whole. The team is now hitting just .248 for the season.
Cotuit will look to avenge the shut out with a home game against Wareham (16-18-1) on Wednesday.