By Ben Gainsboro, Stetson University
June 14th, 2019
Photos by Josh Muir, Endicott College
Video by Jacob Cohen, Boston University
BREWSTER MA – With twenty-five runs in the Kettleers last three games, it would be safe to say Cotuit is finding its “rhythm.” This would not have been apparent, however, had you gone to the team’s Welcome Party on Thursday night at Barnstable United Elementary school.
A day before the Kettleers went on the road to defeat Brewster 8-2, the players were forced to introduce themselves to the Cotuit faithful in an unorthodox way: By hitting the dance floor.
The players performed dance routines that had been (apparently) practiced before running them live. While many players appeared gun-shy and reclusive, one player stepped up and delivered an attention-grabbing performance in his skit, basking in the light of the stage and feeding off the crowd’s energy. The longer the routine went on, the more comfortable Mason Dodd (Belmont Abbey) appeared in front of the Kettleers fanbase.
One day later, and Dodd was now hitting third in a stacked Cotuit Kettleers lineup. The lineup, which features players from Kentucky (SEC), TCU (Big 12), Texas (Big 12), NC State (ACC) and Xavier (Big East), had a kid from Belmont Abbey (Division II) in the game’s most important lineup spot.
The Kettleers faltered in this game early, allowing two unearned runs on three errors in the bottom of the first inning.
“…does Mike Roberts like the start of that ballgame?” Coach Mike Roberts said. “No, Mike Roberts does not like the start. Two routine ground balls in the infield that we didn’t handle well. We are a lot more talented than that.”
Thankfully for Coach Roberts, Mason Dodd was ready to dance once again in the second. With bases loaded and two out, Dodd strode to the plate in a key situation. Look around the bases and you see powerhouses. Cody Pasic (University of Maine), a D1 player, on first. Cam Hill (Kentucky), an SEC man, on second. And Nick Gonzales (New Mexico State), the leading hitter (batting average-wise) in Division one last season. Just like on the dance floor the night prior, Dodd was not phased.
“Baseball is baseball.” Dodd said. “Everyone’s got to throw the ball, [the] pitcher [has] to throw it across the plate and all I’ve got to do is hit it. It’s just baseball.”
And hit it he did. Dodd delivered the drive of the night to dead center field, bringing home the three guys ahead of him to give the Cotuit Kettleers the lead, 4-2. On the season, Dodd is hitting .357 with a home run and five RBI.
On the flip side, saying Zach McCambley (Coastal Carolina) was anything short of spectacular as the starting pitcher for the Kettleers on Friday night would be doing him an injustice. McCambley threw 4 innings of one hit ball, allowing two runs (both unearned) and walking just two.
“I thought our pitching was really good,” Mike Roberts said. “All three guys that went out there today threw the ball really well. Those were two unearned runs in the first inning so, yes, they threw the ball great.”
Beck Way (Belmont Abbey) relieved McCambley in the fourth, pitching two solid innings for the Kettleers. The righty allowed just two hits and struck out two, while simultaneously keeping the Whitecaps out of the scoring column.
Oraj Anu (Kentucky) got the scoring going again for the Kettleers in the top of the sixth, earning an RBI from a fielder’s choice ground ball up the middle. The RBI was Anu’s fifth of the season and extended the Kettleers lead to 7-2.
In the top of the ninth, Casey Schmitt (San Diego State) gave us the lone home run of the night, a rarity when you are playing at Stony Brook. As many were commenting before the game, the ball always appears to “fly” out of this smaller park.
Schmitt’s home run to left on a first pitch fastball was his first of the season. It also brought his RBI total up to five, matching Mason Dodd and Oraj Anu for not only the most on the team, but also the most in the Cape Cod Baseball League.
Closing the game for the Kettleers was Joseph Nahas (Georgia Southern). Simply put, the righty was near unhittable through three innings, striking out a staggering six Whitecaps and allowing just two to reach base, one via the walk and one via a base hit. All in all, Kettleers pitching allowed zero earned runs, gave up just four hits, and struck out twelve Whitecaps.
Coach Roberts has been enjoying watching his team through the first couple games of the season.
“My neck is hurting,” Coach Roberts said. “We’ve got a big group of guys and all I’ve been doing is looking up. These guys are men, it’s a large group of guys and I’m thankful for them. I like this group, I’m just kind of watching them play and I want to do that.”
At the same time, however, Roberts does not want the guys to get too comfortable in coming from behind in ball games.
“I think what the guys have to learn,” Coach Roberts said. “Is that you might be able to do that now in the league, but two weeks from now, you might not be able to do that. The league will be much stronger at that time.”
The Kettleers are back in action Saturday, June 15th vs. Harwich (1-2). First pitch is set for 5 P.M. at Lowell Park.