By: Matt McHugh
July 23, 2017
COTUIT — The Cotuit Kettleers (17-16-1) entered Sunday’s game against the Chatham Anglers (17-18) in a tie with the Falmouth Commodores for first place in the West Division, but a 5-2 loss combined with an 8-7 win from the Bourne Braves knocked the Kettleers down to 2nd.
The Kettleers sent left-hander Mitch Stallings (Duke) to the mound for his second start of the summer. Stallings worked a quick 1-2-3 inning in the first, but gave up a single, walk and RBI double to start off the second.
“I felt pretty good in the first inning — it felt like I was locating my stuff well,” Stallings said. “In the second, I got into the stretch and started flying open, and lost a bit of feel for my fastball. I know what went wrong and am ready to work on that in the next couple days.”
With runners on second and third and nobody out, Stallings generated two groundouts, but a single from Mason Koppens (Northeastern) knocked in both runs and gave Chatham a 3-0 lead after the second inning. A leadoff walk to Josh Stowers (Louisville) to start the third inning marked the end of the day for Stallings.
“Before the game, the bullpen was unbelievable,” pitching coach Jonathan King said. “He even made a comment about how good he felt. So I’m just going to work with him on trying to replicate that feeling, and hopefully take that into his next start.”
Stallings has thrown just 5.2 innings this summer for Cotuit, and before his first appearance on July 10 he hadn’t seen live hitters in six weeks. Stallings thew 76 innings with a 4.50 ERA as Duke’s Friday night starter this season, but their season ended on May 27 in the ACC Tournament.
“Obviously the competition is a step up up here,” Stallings said. “It’s just been getting back to facing hitters, arm strength, and getting that feel back after six weeks off. Especially up here it’s easy to lock in and be mentally prepared, but physically it just takes a bit longer.”
King added: “He just said his timing got a bit off when he started going out of the stretch. That happens sometimes, especially after such a long time off. That’s just part of the game, but that’s a guy we can get right back in there and he’ll be fine.”
Stallings was relieved by Brian Rapp (Boston College), who surrendered a hit, three walks and a sac fly to Nick Patten (Delaware) in his two innings of work.
At the plate, the Kettleers struggled to get going against Chatham starter Austin Bergner (UNC), who went five shutout innings and allowed just one hit while striking out nine. Chandler Avant (Alabama) added a solo shot in the 7th, and Michael Toglia (UCLA) drove in Cotuit’s other run with an RBI groundout.
Both teams are off on Monday; the Kettleers will visit Brewster on Tuesday, and the Anglers will host the Y-D Red Sox.