By Will Kraus, Bates College
June 16, 2019
If there’s one thing the Kettleers have proven after their first week of baseball, it’s that they just never quit.
After falling to the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox 7-2 in the first seven inning game of a doubleheader the Kettleers found themselves on the verge of their first losing streak of the season in the second game heading into the top of the seventh.
Down three runs and three outs away from defeat Cotuit’s chances of mounting a comeback looked quite bleak.
Y-D reliever Zack Matthews (Oklahoma University) had just retired the heart of Cotuit’s order, the 3-4-5 hitters in the top of the sixth, striking out all three on four pitches. All signs seemed to point to a Cotuit loss.
Matthews strode back to the mound from the third base dugout in the seventh to put Cotuit away. But the Kettleers had other ideas.
Walks by Adam Oviedo (Texas Christian University) and Donta Williams (Arizona University) followed by two laser singles to left from Nick Gonzales (New Mexico State University) and newcomer Matthew Mervis (Duke) who arrived on the Cape just last night brought Cotuit within one run of tying the game forcing Y-D’s manager, Scott Pickler to make a change.
In came Chase Smith (Pittsburgh University) from the bullpen to try to right the ship. Smith who took the loss against Cotuit on opening day was faced with a tough out in left-handed Parker Chavers (Coastal Carolina).
After one pitch Chavers slammed a double into left field past a diving Austin Wells (Arizona University) that allowed Gonzales to score with ease and Mervis to slide in just ahead of the catcher’s tag to give Cotuit an 8-7 lead.
Teammates swarmed Gonzales and Mervis, as they headed to the dugout providing what almost felt like a walk-off hit despite being on the road.
Chavers would later put Cotuit up 9-7, scoring on a wild pitch by Smith and Cotuit looked as though they would grab their fifth win of the season. Unfortunately for the Kettleers Y-D was able to secure a tie game after a costly error with the final score of 9-9.
But make no mistake, the 2019 Kettleers are an inspiringly resilient bunch and getting a point in the standings in a game in which Cotuit trailed by three with three outs to go is no small feat.
“I think it says a lot, the ability to come back and win a ballgame.” Oviedo said postgame when asked about his team’s resilience. “I’m excited for what this team can do. I’m just pumped and ready to get going.”
Oviedo’s Breakout Game
Adam Oviedo had his share of heroics in the opener against Y-D, driving in the eventual winning run on opening day. He did even more damage in Sunday’s second game, homering twice off of Y-D starter Jack Leftwich (Florida University).
Oviedo once again showed an ability to hit with two strikes as both home runs came with him one strike away from being retired.
His first shot came in the third inning on an 0-2 count that soared over Y-D centerfielder, Jake Palmer’s (California Irvine) head.
Oviedo noted he received some help on his second home run of the game in the fifth inning from teammate Cameron Hill (Kentucky University) “The second at bat Cam Hill did give me a little scouting report on the guy. He did let me know that he threw a first pitch fastball and that he’ll throw soft if he gets ahead with two strikes and he did. Having that in mind was awesome to fall back to.” said Oviedo.
On Oviedo’s second home run Leftwich fought back from a 3-0 count to push the count to 3-2. Then came the offspeed pitch Hill told Oviedo to look for. Oviedo took advantage of the advice, getting all of it as the baseball disappeared deep in between the trees behind the left centerfield fence.
When asked about how he tried to improve in his last two games off Oviedo commented “Just watch the game of baseball. Coach said the other day that you can learn a lot from watching other guys play. In the past couple days I took off I’ve watched and I think I’ve gotten a little better, you know just settling down and getting back to playing baseball.”
Oviedo kept the pressure on Y-D in Cotuit’s five run seventh, forcing a walk that made it first and second with one out.
Big Flies for Father’s Day
Cotuit and Y-D combined for seven home runs in the two games on Sunday.
All of Cotuit’s blasts were solo shots in the second game, the first coming off the bat of Williams followed immediately by Oviedo’s first bomb. The Williams-Oviedo combination marked Cotuit’s first back-to-back home runs of 2019.
Chavers got in on the action with a solo home run in the fourth and Oviedo went yard in the fifth.
All three Y-D home runs came from Wells who made Red Wilson Field look miniature with two bombs in the first game and one in the second. Wells lost two baseballs deep into the centerfield woods and one that cleared a house in right field.
The Kettleers, now 4-2-1 on the year head to Chatham to face the Anglers (4-3) on Tuesday night at 7 PM.