Produced by Cierra Jordan
July 8, 2017
Bourne – Cotuit has won five straight games for the first time since 2013. Head coach Mike Roberts’ squad hasn’t accomplished this feat since the Kettleers opened the season 6-1 in 2013.
“We’re streaky,” Griffin Conine (Duke) said. “But when we’re hot, we’re pretty dangerous.”
Just one week ago, July 1, Cotuit (13-9) sat at 8-9, coming off back-to-back losses. Since then, the team has gone 5-0 and outscored their opponents 34-18. They continued that streak this Saturday night with a 7-4 victory against Bourne (11-11) at Doran Park.
Right now, Cotuit is the hottest team in the Cape League. After Chatham snapped Orleans’ 10-game win streak, Cotuit now holds the longest winning streak in the Cape. The Kettleers top the West Division by three points and are just two points behind the Firebirds for the top spot in the entire league.
Cotuit took advantage early of a struggling Dylan Coleman (Missouri State) on the mound for Bourne. Coleman walked three and gave up a hit and a sacrifice fly through his first five batters. Just over halfway through their order, Cotuit led 2-0.
But after that early jump, the top of the order cooled off and Bourne responded. Jason Bilous (Coastal Carolina) struggled finding the zone and commanding pitches. The returning starter walked five and gave up three runs in just four innings as the Braves amounted a 3-2 lead.
Two of Cotuit’s unsung heroes answered the call. Luke Alexander (Mississippi State) and Miles Lewis (Michigan) have both flown under the radar with the big bats of Conine, John Cresto (Santa Clara) and Greyson Jenista (Wichita). With the team banged up the past week, Alexander and Lewis have seen ample playing time, Alexander at second base and Lewis in center-field. The duo combined this Saturday for three hits, two RBIs, and a run scored.
“That’s what makes a team,” Cotuit head coach Mike Roberts said. “We have the letters T-E-A-M. You have to have role players on this team and they’ve done an especially good job the last 8-10 days.”
Alexander sparked the offense with a solo home run to right center-field in the top of the fourth. Alexander rolled into the batter’s box, and on the first pitch, towered a fastball up and over the fence for his first home run of the season. The solo shot tied the game at 3-3 heading into the bottom of the fourth.
“He’s sitting still at the plate versus jumping on the ball,” assistant coach Trey McCall said, “You’re just seeing a young man who’s taking advice, making adjustments and starting to see the fruit of his labor.
Alexander’s first home run extended his current hitting streak to eight games, the second-longest streak on the team this year. Conine opened the season with a 10-game hitting streak.
Lewis singled up the middle following Alexander’s home run, but the Michigan product added an RBI of his own in the sixth inning with a line drive into center-field to score Michael Toglia (UCLA). The two hits also extended Lewis’ hitting-streak to five games.
“Coach Roberts is getting me to stop drifting and sit in my stance so I could see the ball a lot longer,” Lewis said. Since I’ve been doing that I’ve felt a lot more comfortable. I got a pitch I could hit and put a good swing on it.”
During the win streak Lewis has raised his batting average from .174 to .262, and that double put Cotuit on top of Bourne 4-3.
Cotuit maintained their lead for the remainder of the contest with some insurance from Conine in the bottom of the ninth. The lefty smacked a deep shot to left center-field, just clearing the fence and Jameson Hannah’s (Dallas Baptist) outstretched glove for his fourth home run of the year. That dinger moves him to second in the Cape League in home runs and also gives him 18 RBIs this campaign, also placing second in the league.
“Anyone in the lineup can go deep at any time,” Conine said. “We’re rolling.”