By: Matt McHugh
July 12, 2017
HYANNIS — With the halfway point of the season in the rearview mirror, the Cotuit Kettleers (14-11-1) are beginning to shake up their pitching staff for the home stretch. The first major sign of that came in Wednesday’s 3-2 loss at Hyannis (10-13-2), when Chase Cohen (Georgia Southern) made his first start of the season.
Cohen had appeared in five games for the Kettleers – all in relief – and had pitched well, with a 3.17 ERA and nine strikeouts to just one walk. With the departure of Adam Scott (Wofford), Cohen took over the starting spot and went 3.1 innings. He allowed one earned run and struck out three.
“I’ve had a week off so my arm felt good and ready to go out there,” Cohen said. “I got into my routine, and pregame was a lot easier to adapt to.”
Cohen is familiar with the routine of a starting pitcher, starting 31 games in his first two years at Georgia Southern. However, in his first month with the Kettleers, he was pushed to a long relief role, which he says was actually quite helpful.
“Being in relief, I had gotten better in the stretch, and that was one of my main goals for the summer since I struggled with that at school,” Cohen said. “But overall, I’m definitely more comfortable starting and felt good out there today.”
As other pitchers start to depart and hit their innings limits for the summer, Cohen and others will be called upon to take on more innings down the stretch.
“We need to work Chase back into the rotation, because we’re going to lose Noah Davis (UCSB) after tomorrow and we’ve already lost Adam Scott,” coach Mike Roberts said. “We have other guys on limits, so we’ve gotta work through that. Even though we have 16 pitchers on the roster, we have to figure out ways to get guys into the rotation. Cohen did a great job, but we also have to look at a few other guys in that spot.”
The Kettleers travel to Wareham tomorrow to play the Gatemen (11-14-1).
- Florida pitcher Michael Byrne was officially added to Cotuit’s roster, and he arrived for the second half of Wednesday’s game in Hyannis. Byrne served as Florida’s closer this season, putting up a 1.67 ERA in 38 games, and compiling 19 saves. He struck out 93 batters in 75.2 innings, and should provide a big boost to Cotuit’s pitching staff.
- Griffin Conine (Duke) extended his hitting streak to nine games with a 2-4 day. Conine had a 10-game hitting streak earlier this season, and leads the team with a .351 average.
- Zack Kone (Duke) returned to Cotuit’s lineup after two days off and launched his second home run of the season.
- Terrin Vavra (Minnesota) went 2-3 with a walk and a stolen base in his first start since July 1. Vavra was a productive everyday shortstop for the Golden Gophers this season, but has battled through injury and been limited to just eight games for the Kettleers this summer.