By Zach Kaplan
Penn State University
July 12, 2018
COTUIT– Consistency is something that Mike Roberts preaches to his team, both in the field and at the plate.
John Baker (Ball State) has been the reliable starter that Roberts has called upon this year, and yet again on Thursday, Baker pitched well enough to keep the Kettleers in the game. The junior went five innings for the Kets, allowing two earned runs on five hits with four strikeouts.
“Baker keeps giving us five strong innings and a chance to win,” said Mike Roberts after the game. “He throws strikes and has been a great help to us this year.”
“Every time I go out there, I just try to compete,” said Baker after the game. “Gotta have a short-term memory on the mound, take it each pitch at a time.”
Roberts also gave credit to his bullpen, specifically Ryan Lefner (St. Louis) and Stephen Schoch (UMBC), who combined to throw five innings scoreless in relief on Thursday.
“They did a better job of keeping the ball down and they also changed speeds,” said Roberts. “When you change speeds, it takes a really good hitter to sit on it. I thought our bullpen did an excellent job.”
Lefner went three innings, allowing only one hit with one strikeout, while Schoch threw two innings with one hit and three strikeouts to keep Cotuit in the game.
Humphreys, Smith continue their hot streaks at the plate
The Kettleers nearly had their second fair/foul home run controversy on Thursday. Zach Humphreys (TCU) took the first pitch he saw to lead off the third inning and drove it into the left field corner.
It initially looked like it curved around the foul pole but the third base umpire called it foul. After a conference with all three umpires, they overturned the call giving Humphreys his second home run of the season.
“I hit second base and I was not too happy. I could see it going fair from first base, and luckily they overturned the call and saved me a bit of anger.”
As he went 3 for 4 against Wareham, Humphreys upped his batting average to .280 on the year, the highest average of any Kettleer with more than 20 at-bats on the season.
Humphreys credited a less passive approach to his recent success at the plate.
“I think its just being more aggressive. I usually never swing at the first pitch. Not putting myself in a two strike hole, I’ve just been attacking right at them.”
Brady Smith has also been impressive for the Kets since his arrival on the Cape in early July. In seven games with Cotuit, Smith has now hit safely in six of them, as he went 2 for 4 on Thursday, including a clutch RBI single that tied the game at two in the ninth inning.
On the season, Smith is batting .471 (8 for 17) with a run and two RBI’s for the Florida Gator. Even with the small sample size, Smith is making a considerable impact for a freshman thus far, and hopes to continue to do so as the summer continues.
Gammons makes another appearance at Lowell Park
Legendary sportswriter Peter Gammons made his second appearance at Lowell Park last night to take in the game between Wareham and Cotuit.
It was the second game that he has attended this season, having been present for Opening Day back on June 12, when Peyton Burdick (Wright State) hit three home runs en route to a 10-1 Cotuit rout of Brewster.
Gammons resides in Bourne and mentioned that he tries to make it to a few Cape League games per week. He is fond of Lowell Park, mentioning on the Opening Day broadcast with broadcasters Sam Brief (Northwestern) and Sam Neidermann (Indiana) that he considers the park to be one of the nicest in America.
He plans to take in a couple more games before heading down to Washington D.C. this weekend, ahead of Major League Baseball’s Home Run Derby and All-Star Game, scheduled for early next week.
As for the Kettleers, they travel over the bridge on Friday as they take on Wareham in the second game of the home-and-home series. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m.