By Ben Gainsboro, Stetson University
Photos by Josh Muir, Endicott College
June 26th, 2019
What Happened: The Cotuit Kettleers (6-5-2) tied the Orleans Firebirds (6-4-2) 3-3 at Lowell Park on Wednesday night.
Four Takeaways from Wednesday:
1) Joseph is Na-Has-ty
Joe Nahas (Georgia Southern) entered the game with a 2.25 ERA in eight innings pitched for the Kettleers. All of the innings had come in relief up to this point, so seeing the Georgia Southern Eagle get the start was unexpected. If Nahas was uncomfortable with the change, he didn’t show it, as he faced just 15 Firebirds in four innings pitched. That included 9 strikeouts, one hit, and one walk.
If Nahas was uncomfortable switching from the bullpen to starting rotation, he did not show it.
“It’s definitely a different approach,” Nahas said. “I started the last couple weeks at school, came out of the pen here to start the season. I kind of like the starting routine, you can plan your workouts, you can come in and give it your all, [instead of] conserving your energy.”
After the start, Nahas is now up to 22 strikeouts on the season while simultaneously dropping his ERA to just 1.50. Nahas’s 22 strikeouts are 2nd in the CCBL, trailing just Logan Allen (Harwich, 24).
2) Gonzo is Getting Hot
Nick Gonzales (New Mexico State) had a great day at the dish, smacking two hits (one double) on route to a 2-4 day.
In the last four games, Gonzales has gone 6-14 (.428 AVG) with 4 RBI. After he saw his average dip to .167 June 12th against Hyannis, that has since risen to .289.
His average, combined with his 8 RBI (second on the team) and .469 OBP makes him one of the more deadly hitters in the league thus far as we approach July.
3) Potentially Thin at Catcher
In the bottom of the 5th inning, Coltyn Kessler (Kentucky) fouled a ball off of his knee.
Following a scary couple of minutes, Kessler walked off the field under his own power, with Cody Pasic (Maine) replacing him for the remainder of the game. With Kessler potentially injured for an undisclosed amount of time, that has left Cotuit with just one active catcher (Pasic) on the roster.
“Well he’s sore, without a doubt,” Coach Roberts said. “I’m glad we’re off tomorrow. We’ll see, I have no idea what kind of amount of swelling or that kind of thing. You never know with that one, he could be out just until Friday, or he could be out a week with that type of thing.”
Pasic did a fine job stepping in with limited notice, going 1-3 with a couple of hard-hit balls.
4) The Return of Anu?
Following a sizzling start in which he hit .333 through the first six games of the season, Oraj Anu (Kentucky) had been in a bit of a slump entering today’s game. The big power hitter had gone hitless in his last eleven at-bats, dropping his OPS from an astronomical .952 to .650.
Anu got back in track Wednesday night, lacing a triple to the right-center gap in the bottom of the 6th. The hit scored both Nick Gonzales and Casey Schmitt (San Diego State).
The smack also gave Anu his 8th and 9th RBI of the season, good for first on the Kettleers and tied for second in the CCBL.
The RBI, combined with his two home runs, still make Anu one of the most feared power hitters in the CCBL through the first thirteen games.
The Kettleers get a day off tomorrow, traveling to Fenway Park for a team workout in front of numerous MLB scouts. After the brief break in action, Cotuit is back on the road Friday, traveling to Eldredge Park for a quick rematch with the Firebirds of Orleans (6-4-2). First pitch in that one is scheduled for 7:00 P.M.