By Will Kraus, Bates College
Photos by Josh Muir, Endicott College
Video by Jacob Cohen, Boston University
June 26, 2019
Cotuit Catcher Cody Pasic (Maine) appeared to tag runner Zach Daniels’ (Tennessee) abdomen before his hand touched home plate as Daniels slid in the top of the seventh. But the home plate umpire spread his arms indicating Daniels was safe and had tied the game for the Orleans Firebirds 3-3.
Pasic vehemently questioned the call as Cotuit’s fans roared in outrage at the perceived miscall on Wednesday night.
All Cotuit skipper Mike Roberts could do was shake his head from the dugout, looking just as perplexed as the rest of the Kettleers fans. “I’m learning to be very silent.” Roberts said postgame.
Parker Chavers (Coastal Carolina) had just thrown a dart home from left field as Daniels tagged up from third on what became a sacrifice fly by Zach Kokoska (Kansas State). Daniels would score the final run of the game as Orleans pulled out a tie in Cotuit.
The game began as a pitchers’ duel as Cotuit starter Joe Nahas (Georgia Southern) and Orleans’ Adam Seminaris (Long Beach State) kept it scoreless through three.
Nahas, who had done well in a relief role for the Kettleers, was nothing short of dominant in his first start for Cotuit. He went four innings allowing just one hit and striking out a whopping nine Firebirds while giving up 0 runs.
“I saw the scouting report that a lot of their guys have high strikeout to walks ratio so I knew that I needed to throw fastballs in the zone.” Those mid-90s fastballs in the zone paid off as eight of his nine punchouts came via his fastball that appeared unhittable to Orleans.
The only time Nahas ran into any sort of trouble came in the second inning after an infield error and his only walk. Coach Roberts walked out to the mound to talk it over, the same way he did with pitcher Jackson Wolf (West Virginia) earlier in the season.
“He just kind of reminded me that my best stuff was better than theirs.” said Nahas.
“Yeah, I’m kind of aggressive with it you know it’s time to get the job done. I don’t plan to go to the mound that often the whole year but when I go they’ll have a clear understanding of my message.” Roberts commented.
Whatever his message has been it’s certainly worked as Jackson went on to not allow a hit following Roberts’ mound visit and Nahas did the same. Roberts’ meeting with reliever Beck Way (Belmont Abbey) later in the game also set him on track. That’s three mound visits Roberts has made that resulted in quality performances by his pitching staff, making him look very much like a ‘pitcher whisperer.’
Cotuit struck first in the fourth inning, as Nick Gonzales (New Mexico State) crossed home on a force out at second that Chavers grounded into.
Oraj Anu (Kentucky) would extend Cotuit’s lead to 3-0 when he rocketed a ball in the gap between center and right that rolled to the fence. As Gonzales and Casey Schmitt (San Diego State) scored Anu sprinted around the bases, laying out headfirst as he slid safely into third with a two RBI triple.
Then came the top of the seventh when Orleans’ Daniels tripled home two runs on a very similar hit to right-center that cut Cotuit’s lead to just one. Then came the controversial sac fly that tied the ballgame.
Cotuit would threaten in the top of the ninth as newcomer Mason McWhorter (Georgia Southern) laced a single with two outs that Cam Hill (Kentucky) followed with a walk. But Orleans was able to keep the Kettleers from walking off, leaving Coach Roberts saying that “I don’t like kissing my sister or kissing that pole over there at all and that’s what 3-3 is kinda like.”
Nevertheless Cotuit accumulated a point out of the game.
The Kettleers (6-5-2) will take on the very same Orleans Firebirds (6-4-2) in Orleans at 7 PM on Friday night.
Tomorrow the club heads North to Fenway Park where players will work out in front of MLB scouts.