By: Matt McHugh
July 2, 2017
COTUIT — The Cotuit Kettleers (9-9) came into Sunday’s game against Hyannis Harbor Hawks (7-10-1) having lost two straight, and with a record under .500 for the only time all season. They were in need of a big offensive day, and that’s what they got in their 11-8 win, but it did not come easy.
The offense got rolling early, as first baseman John Cresto (Santa Clara) picked up his team leading 15th RBI of the season with a double, and Gian Martellini (Boston College) drove him in with a sacrifice fly. In the 2nd, Thomas Dillard (Ole Miss) and Chandler Avant (Alabama) added home runs to extend the lead to 5-1.
Dillard, who entered the game hitting .148 with no extra base hits, lined a two-run shot to left. Dillard hit four home runs for Ole Miss this season, and finally was able to harness his power on Sunday.
“We’ve done some extra work,” coach Mike Robets said. “Sometimes I’d like to think that it pays off. I thought I saw some hand action from some guys I had not seen. And the ball just exploded off the bat all night.”
Martellini continued his hot day at the plate as well, tagging new pitcher Ethan Larrison (Indiana State) for a two-run homer in the third inning, his second of the year. That brought Martellini’s RBI total on the season to 12, third-best on the Kettleers.
“You see the guys on base and you definitely wanna drive them in,” Martellini said. “You just have to stay locked in on your pitch, not the pitcher’s pitch. He’s trying to get you to roll over or pop out, but you have to look for something in your zone.”
The Kettleers kept pouring on the offense, adding four runs in the fifth to get their lead up to 11-1, but that’s about where the good news ended for Cotuit.
The seventh inning included just four hits for the Harbor Hawks, but the Kettleers committed three errors and gave up six runs to get Hyannis right back in the game.
“You kind of shut down when you get that type of lead,” Roberts said. “You get a couple runs, they make a couple errors and it’s a little stressful. The thing I would like to continue to clean up is the defense. When I see five errors on the board, that’s the reason you give up six runs.”
However, the early offensive explosion proved to be enough for Cotuit to hold on, and the win gets them back to the .500 mark with a 9-9 record.
Another big reason for the offensive success today – Griffin Conine (Duke) returned to the leadoff spot in the lineup. Conine missed the past two games while attending the College Home Run Derby in Omaha. He leads the Kettleers with a .349 average, and contributed a three-run double in Sunday’s win.
“I’m thankful he got back,” Roberts said. “I think he might’ve played the game half asleep. Having Griffin at the top of the order really helps. He has a very professional approach. When teammates see that I think it makes them work on their game a little harder.”
The Kettleers hit the road on Monday as they make their first trip of the year to Wareham to play the Gatemen. The Harbor Hawks return home to host the Harwich Mariners.