By Ben Fischer
University of Maryland
June 18, 2018
COTUIT – While the Cotuit Kettleers were unable to defeat the Bourne Braves on Monday, they had a bright spot on the mound with the start of John Baker (Ball State). Baker, in his second Cotuit start, was the tough-luck loser in Cotuit’s 4-1 defeat. Despite picking up the loss, Baker continued his good form in the early-going in Cotuit.
“I went out there today with the mindset of attacking the strike zone and staying with a quick tempo and it seemed to work out pretty well for me,” Baker said.
Working quickly and throwing strikes have been the two biggest points of emphasis for Cotuit pitchers. Those ideas have been hammered home by head coach Mike Roberts and pitching coach Jerry Weinstein.
“Before I came here I didn’t really go with that quick a tempo,” Baker said. “That’s probably been the biggest adjustment for me, just staying quick and trying to keep the batters off-balance as much as I can.”
A second team All-MAC pitcher in his sophomore year at Ball State, Baker certainly didn’t struggle in NCAA play, but has been pitching at an even higher level early in the Cape League season.
Even in a loss, Baker kept hitters off-balance for the most part, allowing just five hits and striking out five batters in six innings. That brings his season totals to just two runs on 11 hits with 13 punchouts in 11 innings.
“He was just pounding the zone and his tempo was unbelievable. It was just put down the sign and go,” catcher Rey Pastrana (Marshall) said. “He did a great job commanding his fastball and throwing his breaking ball later in the game for strikes.”
As the Kettleers develop their team identity, it seems clear that their pitching will be a key to success and Baker will be at the forefront of their staff.