By Ben Gainsboro, Stetson University
Video by Jacob Cohen, Boston University
Photos by Josh Muir, Endicott College
June 28th, 2019
ORLEANS MA – “If we went 4-2-1 every week this season, I will be a very happy coach.”
The words came following a 9-9 tie to Yarmouth-Dennis back on June 16th. Cotuit had just finished up its first week of the season, leading the West division and owning the best run differential in the CCBL. Coach Mike Roberts was happy, he was jubilant, and he was eager to talk about his club.
After every interview, however, coach would always reiterate the same words, or at least a spin of them.
“It’s a long season.”
He would smile wryly after the words, the sixteen year-tenured coach seemingly knowing something that we interns did not.
Following a 2-4-2 stretch, coach’s words have a different meaning.
It is a long season on the Cape, a long and grueling forty-four game schedule that will feature ups and will most certainly feature some downs.
As coach made his way over to us following this game, a 10-6 loss to Orleans, he was still as courteous and polite as ever, but the happiness and jubilation had been replaced with more of a focused intensity.
Baseball is always easy when your team is winning, it is when the going gets tough that great coaches are distanced from the simply “good.”
“You can’t drive in as many runs as you give up,” Coach Mike Roberts said. “Our defense has struggled in lots of ways, I wish I could tell you why. Each one of these guys plays every day at school and they’re good enough to play quality defense, but up to this point as a team we have not done that well.”
The Kettleers recorded three errors in this game, the fourth time this season Cotuit has recorded at least two.
It appeared early on, however, that Cotuit would be able to overcome the spotty defense.
In the first, Cotuit struck for two, with Mason McWhorter (Georgia Southern) lacing a single into center to plate Nick Gonzales (New Mexico State). Later in the inning, Oraj Anu (Kentucky) brought Parker Chavers (Coastal Carolina) in for the second run in the inning. Following an RBI triple by Gonzales in the second, which scored Cody Pasic (Maine), Cotuit found themselves with an early 3-0 lead.
Unfortunately, things went south for the Kettleers after that.
Orleans struck back in the third, scoring three runs on four hits to knot the game at 3.
Later, in the bottom of the fourth, the Orleans offense struck again, scoring three runs (four hits) against a combination of starter Sean Sullivan (Cal) and reliever Chris Farrell (William & Mary). After four, Cotuit found themselves down 6-3.
What followed was five innings of back and forth baseball.
Cotuit, being the fighters that they are, pushed back in innings six and eight, continuously making the game closer than Orleans found comfortable.
However, after every Cotuit rally, Orleans would answer with offense of their own, ultimately punching back hard enough to knock Cotuit out, winning the game by a score of 10-6.
For Cotuit, Nick Gonzales was the stud, mashing three hits (two for extra bases) on route to a four hit, two RBI day. The ten RBI on the season for Gonzales is good for third (tied) in the CCBL. Funny enough, he is tied with another Kettleer, Oraj Anu, for the spot.
The road loss kicks off a brutal twenty-three game stretch for the Cotuit, a stretch partially influenced by the bad luck we have had with rain so far this season.
Coach Roberts, for one, seemingly was not phased by the potentially grueling schedule.
“I don’t have a problem with twenty-three days in a row,” Roberts said. “I really think it tells you a lot about every player.”
Coach Roberts would continue.
“You gotta light it up every night. It’ll be fun, we’ll just play the twenty-three days in a row and add it up at the end and we will see how we do.”
The tough stretch continues tomorrow, with Cotuit playing at home vs. Wareham (8-5-1), the current sole leaders in the West division. The first pitch in that game is set for 5 P.M. at Lowell park.