By: Matt McHugh
July 10, 2017
COTUIT — After a summer and a half away from the Cape Cod league, left-handed pitcher Mitch Stallings (Duke) made his return to the Cotuit Kettleers (14-9-1) on Monday. He pitched the fifth inning in Monday’s 9-9 tie vs. Hyannis, and allowed one run on two hits.
Stallings spent the 2015 season with the Kettleers, and appeared in 11 games out of the bullpen. He put up a 3.79 ERA, and only walked four batters in his 19 innings of work.
“It’s pretty similar to ,” Stallings said. “It’s good to be back, and it felt good to be back in front of the great fans here in Cotuit.”
One big similarity for Stallings — Jonathan King, who pitched with Stallings in 2015 for the Kettleers and now serves as Cotuit’s pitching coach.
“It’s a familiar feeling,” Stalling said. “It’s always nice to feel comfortable with who you have around you.”
King started eight games for Cotuit in 2015, but that was not the last time he spoke with Stallings. This year, when King’s Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets visited Stallings and the Blue Devils, the two were able to reconnect.
“When we played at Duke this May, he knew a bunch of guys on our team so he came over to our hotel and we hung out for a bit,” King said. “He knew I was coming up here to coach, so we talked about it as a possibility. And sure enough, it happened.”
At Duke this season, Stallings made the transition into their rotation, and settled in as the team’s Friday night starter. He compiled a 4.50 ERA in 14 games, and struck out 74 batters in 76 innings. As for his role this summer, there are still a few possibilities.
“It depends on what we need as a staff right now,” King said. “It depends what coach [Chris] Pollard at Duke wants him to do too. We know he’s capable of starting and relieving. He was their closer two years ago and their Friday night guy this year. He adds experience and maturity to our staff, and we’re excited to have him.”
Stallings added: “I started in high school, so it was something I was comfortable with before this season. Coming out here, not having thrown in a game since the ACC Tournament in May, I’m just trying to work back into it and do whatever I can to help.”
Stallings also gets to connect with two of his Duke teammates this summer, joining Griffin Conine and Zack Kone as the third Duke Blue Devil on the Kettleers roster.
“I gave them an idea of what to expect coming in,” Stallings said. “I tried to tell them just how fun it is to play out here. They’ve both been doing great things, so it’s really fun to see.”
The Kettleers round out their homestand as the host the Chatham Anglers on July 11.
- To make room on the roster for Stallings, Dylan King (Belmont) was released on July 9. King, Jonathan’s younger brother, threw nine innings and allowed three runs while striking out 12 this summer. He had not pitched since June 21 due to an injury.
- Another Kettleer made his 2017 Cape League debut on Monday. Blake Reese (Florida) got the start in centerfield and went 0-2 with an RBI. Reese played all over the diamond for the Gators during their national championship run, and is expected to serve in a utility role for the Kettleers.
- First baseman Michael Toglia (UCLA) is one of the hottest bats in the Cape League. He is hitting .500 in his last five games, and has driven in six runs in that time.
- Despite giving up four earned runs in four innings on Monday, Zane Collins (Wright State) is still fifth in the league among qualified pitchers in ERA with a 2.38 mark.
- Infielder Luke Alexander (Mississippi State) extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a base hit on Monday. Alexander’s streak now ties Griffin Conine for the longest streak by a Kettleer this season.