By: Matt McHugh and Matt Liberman
August 6, 2017
BOURNE — Michael Toglia (UCLA) crouched down in the on-deck circle. His right hand held his bat while he used his left to cover his eyes.
As the rest of Cotuit lined up next to the mound to shake hands, Toglia stared at his bat and took two practice swings.
After a hectic seven hours, the Kettleers season came to a close on Sunday, as the Bourne Braves took Game 1 of the series at Lowell Park, then topped the Kettleers 4-2 at Doran Park to advance to the West division finals.
The Kettleers and Braves battled for 10 innings on Saturday, but with the score knotted at 3-3 at Lowell Park at 7:30, the game was suspended due to darkness.
“We absolutely could have played,” Toglia said. “This is kind of a worst case scenario. Tommorow is kind of an awkward day. I wanted to finish the game tonight.”
At 2 p.m. on Sunday, the game resumed in the top of the 11th, and quickly slipped away from the Kettleers.
A leadoff double followed by a walk put Cotuit left-hander Austin Kitchen (Coastal Carolina) in a tough situation. Kitchen induced a groundball from Lyle Lin (Arizona State), but an errant throw from third baseman Zack Kone (Duke) followed by a fielding error from right fielder Griffin Conine (Duke) allowed both runs to score. The Braves went on to add another run on a two-out RBI single from Jared Triolo (Houston).
At 2:30 p.m., 21.5 hours after first pitch, the Braves took game 1 by a score of 6-3.
“One thing I’ve told them is are you there for every pitch,” Roberts said. “[Kitchen] needs everybody behind him, in front of him on the bench to be there every pitch. If you are, then you play well. You have to play great defense and we obviously struggled with that today.”
In Game 2, the Braves jumped out to an early lead, plating three runs off Cotuit starter Chase Shugart (Texas) in the first inning. Although Shugart settled down, allowing just one run over the next 4.2 innings, the Kettleers could not muster up enough offense.
The Kettleers scored once in the first inning on an RBI single from Michael Toglia (UCLA), but stranded two runners in scoring position. They went on to leave the bases loaded in both the sixth and the eighth innings, and the only other run came on a solo shot from Griffin Conine in the 4th.
“Obviously we had two big swings, but playoff baseball comes down to pitching and defense and timely hitting,” Roberts said.
The Kettleers went 15-28-1 last season – the worst record in franchise history. This season, they improved to 22-21-1 in the regular season, earning them the no. 2 seed in the west. Greyson Jenista hit .229 last year, and raised his average 81 points on his way to league MVP honors this season.
“Winning is obviously important, but for me the best part was the people,” Jenista said. “It’s about the relationships you build, and that’s what I think most of us will take back with us.”
Roberts added: “Summer baseball on the Cape is just special. Cotuit is definitely a unique village. You look this afternoon at 2 o’clock to finish a game the stands were full on the home side. It’s a special place, and I’m thankful to be here, and I’m thankful for the young men I have the opportunity to be around.”
- Griffin Conine won the CCBL’s Most Outstanding Prospect, as voted on by MLB scouts, and the All-Star Game MVP after hitting a home run in the game. Conine also finished the regular season as the only Cape player to finish in the top five in batting average, home runs and RBIs.
- Greyson Jenista won the CCBL MVP in his second season with the Kettleers. Jenista hit .310 with three home runs and 16 RBIs.
- Zane Collins (Wright State) won Cotuit Pitcher of the Year. Collins finished with a record of 4-2, a 2.25 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 28 innings.
- Michael Toglia’s late power-surge, moved him into the top five in the league in home runs. He ended the season with six.