By Ben Gainsboro, Stetson University
Photos by Josh Muir, Endicott College
Video by Jacob Cohen, Boston University
June 24th, 2019
CHATHAM MA – Coach Roberts was hot. Very, very, hot.
It was the top of the seventh, with Cotuit trailing Chatham 2-1. Oraj Anu (Kentucky) had just struck out, but the ball had passed Chatham catcher Brady Smith (Florida). Anu hustled down to first base, earning the bag as Parker Chavers (Coastal Carolina) advanced to third.
Following the play, the umpires, led by home plate ump Sam Finn, gathered together in the middle of the diamond to discuss the play. Following a few seconds of deliberation, third base ump Mike Rabideau signaled for an out, which threw Roberts into a frenzy.
“Well we were all confused,” Roberts said. “When they don’t make the call immediately, it tells me that they don’t really know what to call.”
The veteran skipper went right up to Finn, getting in his face and barking his thoughts on the previous play.
All the while, the sun had dipped down and out of Veterans Field, leaving the park dark and slightly cooler than it had been a couple innings prior.
Behind the altercation, fans had bundled up, replacing their T-shirts with baggy sweatshirts and blankets.
“How can you be 100% sure when the call was reversed on the field?” Roberts asked Finn, the question ringing through the Veterans Park bleachers.
The comment drew praise from the Kettleer faithful who took the trip to Chatham. Words of encouragement were rained down to Roberts from the away side, which seemed to only fuel the riled-up skipper more.
On the other side, Chatham’s fans were not so happy. They urged the coach to get off the field so the game could continue.
Then, in a turn that could only be described as “comically perfect”, a young Chatham fan began singing her rendition of “Take me Out to the Ballgame.” Except, for this young fan, it was more accurately “Twake me Wout to the Bwallgwame.”
The high-pitched voice, mixed with the shivering cold fans, and then topped with Roberts and Finn’s animated arguing at home plate made for a truly unique seventh inning stretch on Monday night at Veterans park.
When Roberts finally cooled off and play was resumed, Chatham struck for another two. These two RBI came courtesy of an Alejandro Toral (Miami) double, and a Cade Cabbiness (Oklahoma State) fielder’s choice. At the end of the inning, it was Chatham leading Cotuit 4-1.
The Kettleers would push back in the eighth, when Nick Gonzales (Nex Mexico State) laced a single into the outfield to score Christian Robinson (Stanford) from second. The RBI was Gonzales’s eighth of the season.
While Cotuit pressed later in the inning, Chatham kept the Kettleers from scoring any more runs.
The same could be said about the ninth, with Chatham closing the door and taking the game by a final of 4-2.
Not to be lost in the shuffle, however, was Jackson Wolf’s (West Virginia) rock solid start.
“He’s got tremendous talent,” Coach Roberts said. “It’s great to see it come out. I don’t know that he could have pitched much better than he did tonight.”
Coach was not exaggerating. The West Virginia product went 5.2 innings pitched, striking out seven Anglers while allowing just three hits (two runs).
While his first start required an early mound visit from Coach and a lot of shaking heads, this start was confidence from the get-go, with Wolf displaying passion and fire on the mound throughout.
Looking ahead to this week, Coach Roberts appeared confident that his guys could get back on track.
“[The] Little things [need to improve], the little things,” Coach Roberts said. “When you’re in a one run game…that’s my job to close the gap. When we lose I go home, it’s my fault. When we win, I congratulate my players.”
Cotuit is back on the road tomorrow at Wareham (6-5-1). First pitch is set for 6:45 P.M. at Spillane Field.