By Ben Gainsboro, Stetson University
Video by Jacob Cohen, Boston University
Photos by Josh Muir, Endicott College
June 16th, 2019
YARMOUTH MA – The Cotuit Kettleers came out cold on Sunday afternoon. No batting practice, no infield/outfield, and a cold, rainy afternoon to greet them. It seemed like a recipe for disaster, as the Father’s Day doubleheader featured two shorter, seven inning contests.
Cotuit’s very own Sam Neidermann echoed this sentiment in the announcer’s booth when he said: “This is a shortened contest, Cotuit coming out hot is a must.”
With a strong traveling fanbase behind them and an even stronger wind gusting to a shortened right field porch, it looked as if everything was in store for a big game one at Yarmouth.
Instead, after four, the Kettleers found themselves down 7-2.
The two runs for the Kettleers came via an RBI double to left for Allbry Major (Xavier) in the first, which plated Cam Hill (Kentucky) for his CCBL-leading ninth run scored on the season. The RBI was also Major’s second on the season. The other run came off of a Cam Williams (Texas) chopper to the shortstop in the top of the fourth. The throw sailed over the first basemen’s head and plated Mason Dodd (Belmont Abbey), his sixth run of the season.
That score of 7-2 in the fourth ended up being the final, as Cotuit’s three-game win streak came to an end. Chris Farrell (William & Mary) was credited for the loss in his second start of the season for the Kettleers.
The cold start for the Kettleers, combined with the cold weather, was not the first chapter that Cotuit envisioned for Father’s Day afternoon.
Thankfully, Cotuit got a second chance in game two of the doubleheader, a game that featured newcomer Matt Mervis (Duke) hitting second for Mike Roberts’ Kettleers. If Roberts thought that putting Mervis in the two-hole in his game at Cotuit was a quick jump, he certainly didn’t show it.
“I think good baseball players can play on Christmas day,” Roberts said. “After they’ve opened their presents and put their uniform on, [they can] still play.”
Game two of the doubleheader started very much like the first, with Y-D leading the Kettleers 7-3 after four.
For Cotuit, they stayed alive via the longball through the first four frames. Donta Williams (Arizona) got the fireworks started in the third with his first home run of the season, a first pitch crank over the right field wall.
The next batter, Adam Oviedo (TCU), took a 1-2 pitch over the fence for his first homerun of the season. The back-to-back homeruns were the first pair that the Kettleers have connected on in 2019.
The next inning, Parker Chavers (Coastal Carolina) got in on the action, smashing a 2-1 pitch to left center for his first round-tripper.
Still, even with all of the power being displayed by Cotuit, they found themselves down four entering the fifth.
In the fifth, it was the Kettleer returner, Adam Oviedo, who once again got the inning going in the right direction.
With the count full and bases empty, Oviedo stepped out of the box and looked up at the scoreboard. He then stepped a few feet back into the box, extended his arms, and took a long look at his bat. He exhaled, before looked back at the pitcher. The move is a regular for Oviedo and gives the impression of composure in even the tensest of situations.
The next pitch, Oviedo hammered his second home run of the game over the centerfield wall. Cotuit had four hits, each of them homeruns.
Two innings later, and Cotuit was on their last legs.
With two outs and the scoreboard still at 7-4, Nick Gonzales (New Mexico State) strode to the plate with Donta Williams on second and Adam Oviedo on first. He singled, scoring Williams and cutting the Y-D lead to 7-5. The Kettleers fans that had powered through the cold and slow start shot to their feet, breathing life back into what had been a lifeless day for Cotuit up to that point.
The next batter, Matt Mervis, fouled off three straight pitches before singling to left, scoring Oviedo from second and moving Gonzales to bag number two. The score was now 7-6, with Cotuit threatening for more in a game that many assumed was over just a couple minutes prior.
The next batter, another newcomer in the form of Parker Chavers (Coastal Carolina), delivered the hit of the night for the Kettleers on a 1-0 fastball. The ball was laced the opposite way, scoring both Gonzales and Mervis. The double gave the Kettleers their first lead of the day, 8-7.
“What we talked about is that I’m really glad that we scored five runs in the 7th inning,” Coach Roberts said. “Again, it’s a lot of new people, you’re trying to coordinate it, and when you look at it, I’m faithful that they play hard right now.”
Chavers later scored on a wild pitch, giving the Kettleers the 9-7 lead going into the bottom half of the final inning.
Unfortunately, the lead was not to be preserved, as Y-D struck for two against Richard Brereton (Belmont Abbey) in the bottom half of the seventh. Only one of the runs was earned, the other coming off of a Nick Gonzales bobble at second.
While the loss hurt the fans, who were cheering so hard for the Kettleers comeback just a couple pitches prior, Coach Roberts made sure to stay positive after the game.
“Every year up here if we were 4-2-1 at the end of the first week, I’d be thankful,” Coach Roberts said. “I’d be happy, because it’s just a lot of new people.”
Coach was overall impressed with his team’s opening week of play.
“I’m happy leaving here today,” Roberts said. “We’ve had a good week, and we’re looking forward to 7 games in 6 days to see how we improve this week.”
Following an off day tomorrow, Cotuit is back in business Tuesday night at Chatham (4-3). First pitch is set for 7 P.M. from Veterans Field.