By Ben Gainsboro, Stetson University
Photos by Josh Muir, Endicott College
June 29th, 2019
The Cotuit Kettleers (7-6-2) defeated the Wareham Gatemen (8-6-1) by a decisive score of 11-3 at Lowell Park on Saturday night.
One Cheer for: Reid Johnston (NC State)
What he Did:
Johnston, in his second start of the season, pitched 5 innings of 2 hit ball, not allowing a run while striking out 2.
He now owns a 1.13 ERA, not bad for a guy that has already thrown 8 innings of work. Possibly most impressively, the NC State product has walked a grand total of 0 hitters in his eight innings of work. For a team that struggled with walks earlier in the season, this sort of stat from a starter undoubtedly makes Coach Roberts pleased.
For Johnston early on in the season, it has been all about inducing soft contact.
“Coming into the game I knew they are a team that puts the bat on the ball,” Johnston said. “I wasn’t trying to do anything out of the ordinary, just trying to hit my spots and when they put it in play, we had people there to make a play.”
To top it all off, Johnston was credited for the win, putting his line at 1-0 on the year.
Two Cheers for: Donta Williams (Arizona)
What he did:
Though Williams’ line of 2-3 with an RBI did not exactly blow you away, watching the game told a different story.
In the top of the fifth, Mike Antico (St. John’s) struck one well out to center. After staggering with his initial step, Donta turned the other way and made a falling catch out in deep center.
The catch warranted praise from the Kettleers faithful, as they realized the center fielder had taken away an extra base hit from the Gatemen.
As Williams jogged back into the dugout, a number of Kettleer fans gave him a loud round of applause, Donta’s smile shining all the way back from center to the third base line.
“It was a 3-1 count, and I knew something hittable was coming,” Williams said. “Sure enough he [crushed] it, it was a line drive about as hard as a ball could be hit. I just turned the wrong way and kind of got tripped up a little bit, and I just came up with the ball. I don’t know how, I couldn’t tell you how, it just happened (laughs).”
Williams’ RBI came in the bottom of the fourth, when he brought home Mason McWhorter (Georgia Southern) with a sacrifice fly to center.
Three Cheers for: Nick Gonzales (New Mexico State)
What he did:
The better question would have been what he did not do.
The New Mexico State Aggie smacked the ball around Lowell Park, going 4-5 with a triple, home run, and a jaw-dropping 5 RBI.
The 5 RBI day helped Gonzales surpass Austin Welles (Yarmouth-Dennis) for the most RBI in the CCBL, and it is not particularly close.
Gonzales has 15 on the year, with Welles in second place at 12.
Not seen in the box score was Gonzales 5 defensive putouts. Though the stellar second basemen struggled a bit early in the year with errors, he looked silky smooth in this one, constantly moving his feet and hitting the glove of first basemen Mason McWhorter.
“They (Sam Neiderman and Aram Leighton, our announcers) asked who you think Nick is kind of like,” Coach Mike Roberts said. “And I said Brian [Roberts], short, compact swing, lot of baseball savvy, makes hard contact often, really a lot of [similarities].”
Roberts is of course talking about his son, Brian Roberts, who played for the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees in a career spanning 2001-2013. The former second basemen hit .276 in the majors with 542 career RBI.
For Gonzales, who still has a year left in college, to be compared to one of the top second basemen in Orioles history is no small feat, and high praise from Roberts.
2: Walks allowed by Cotuit Kettleer pitching in this one, one by Beck Way (Belmont Abbey), and one by Richard Brereton (Emory).
3: Runs scored by Donta Williams, bringing his total up to 6 runs on the season.
3: Extra base hits for the Cotuit Kettleers. The number remains the secret recipe of success for Cotuit. When they have reached the threshold of 3 RBI, they are 6-0-1. When they have not reached that mark, they are 1-6-1.
5: RBI in this contest for Nick Gonzales, the highest single game total for a Kettleer so far this season.
8: Combined hits for Gonzales in the last two Kettleer ballgames
23: Combined hits for the Kettleers in this last stretch of two games, which comes out to 11.5 hits per game in these last two
Cotuit heads to Wareham for another one on Sunday. First pitch is set for 6:30 PM at Spillane Field.