By: Matt McHugh
July 30, 2017
FALMOUTH — As the regular season winds down, the Cotuit Kettleers (19-19-1) are dealing with a tired and depleted pitching corps, and an 11-inning battle against the Falmouth Commodores (21-19-1) did them no favors on Sunday evening. However, right handed pitcher Brian Rapp (Boston College) came in and threw 4.1 innings of shutout baseball, preserving the rest of the bullpen and keeping the Kettleers in the game.
Rapp entered the game in a tight spot in the sixth inning, with the go-ahead run on second base and two outs, and he induced a popout from cleanup hitter Josh Breaux (McClennan CC) to end the inning. Rapp went on to throw four more scoreless innings while allowing just two hits and striking out six batters.
“I thought my first pitch strike was much better than it had been,” Rapp said. “I was just trying to use my breaking ball early and pound fastballs to get early contact.”
“Whenever you get the ball as a long reliever, you go out there with the mentality that I’m going to get as many outs as I possibly can,” Rapp added. “It’s whatever coach says, but I don’t want anybody taking the ball from me.”
Rapp had extensive experience as a starter at Boston College, starting 10 games and throwing 71.2 innings in his junior season. However, with the Kettleers his first star at Brewster on June 23 went poorly, and he has since shifted to a long relief role.
“I think in general I’ve felt more comfortable on the mound lately,” Rapp said. “I had a bit of a layoff right after our college season, and kind of got outside of myself in the first game here, but now I’m just happy to do whatever I can to help the team.”
“What I saw tonight is what I’m sure the BC coaches see on a regular basis,” coach Mike Roberts added. “I saw a great competitor. He got into a tough game and really upped his execution.”
The Kettleers have not had an off day since July 27, and do not have one for the remainder of the regular season. Additionally, a make-up doubleheader on July 31 gives the team nine games in eight days to round out the season.
“The thing I wanted to make sure of was that I didn’t pitch [Rapp] out,” Roberts said. “He threw 50 pitches, and we still have five games in four days. We’ve got 45+ innings over the next five days, and now my biggest concern is if we have enough pitching for the next few days.”
Rapp’s four innings surely helped Roberts and the Kettleers by saving some arms for Monday’s doubleheder. Rapp has a 2.16 ERA over 16.2 innings since his move to the bullpen.
“I’ve been working with coach [Jonathan] King and coach Roberts a ton and they’ve been a great help,” Rapp said. “Slowly but surely I’m getting there. I’m getting better and that’s all that counts.”
The Kettleers play a doubleheader tomorrow, starting at Hyannis at noon, followed by a game at Wareham at 6:30.
- Right Fielder Griffin Conine (Duke) is hitting .429 in the last seven days, boosting his average on the season to .326, which leads the team.
- First baseman Michael Toglia (UCLA) bounced back from his four-strikeout game on Saturday with a solo home run in Sunday’s contest. It was his third home run of the season.
- Infielder Terrin Vavra (Minnesota) served as the designated hitter once again as he is working back from a shoulder injury. Vavra batted third and went 0-4.