By Ben Gainsboro, Stetson University
Photos by Josh Muir, Endicott College
Video by Jacob Cohen, Boston University
July 6th, 2019
COTUIT – It was unbearably hot.
Interns crowded into the announcer’s booth at Lowell Park, making the small space seem even smaller.
Right inside the door, the old AC unit was cranked all the way up and set to a brisk sixty-two degrees. The old machine was no solace, we just had a hot day on our hands.
Step outside, and you were even worse off. The sun was bright, sure, but it was the dampness, the literal weight of the air, that made it so sweat inducing.
Then, right as the national anthem was sung and the players took the field, it became cloudy and cool, a climate that fellow writer Will Kraus called “comfortable.”
And he was right, what had been a scorching day just a few minutes prior, had almost mythically turned into a picturesque night for baseball.
Little did we know, the weirdness of this one had just begun.
The game started out the right way for Cotuit, with Jackson Wolf (West Virginia) getting the start against new Chatham arrival, Hugh Fisher (Vanderbilt).
Cotuit struck first in the bottom of the first when Nick Gonzales (New Mexico State) hit his second leadoff home run of the season to left center. While Gonzales’s prior home runs (three coming into today) were mostly liners, this one was a moonshot, seemingly touching the gray and white clouds overlooking Lowell Park before sneaking over the fence past center-fielder Colin Hall (Georgia Tech).
But, like Chatham (14-7-1) has done all season, the Anglers fought back in the next frame.
Following a Kendrick Calilao (Florida) hit by pitch, former Kettleer (last season) Brady Smith (Florida) hit a shot to left field, clearing the fence and giving Chatham the 2-1 advantage.
Following the inning, Coach Mike Roberts had a rather animated discussion with Wolf and Cody Pasic (Maine), a discussion he downplayed after the game.
“We just went over pitch selection,” Roberts said. “Pitch selection against certain hitters, that type of thing.”
And while Chatham has shown a tendency to come back in games so far this season, so has Cotuit. Pasic, who was under the gun the inning before, delivered a huge hit, singling home Casey Schmitt (San Diego State) and tying the game at two apiece. The RBI was Pasic’s fifth on the year.
After Pasic’s hit, Adam Oviedo (Oral Roberts) got one of his own, bringing home Joey Loperfido (Duke) from second on a liner of his own. As we entered the third, Cotuit now had the advantage over the Anglers at 3-2.
Chatham would tie the game off of a sac-fly in the third, ending Wolf’s day after three innings. To relieve him was Bo Hofstra (Purdue).
“He’s done a wonderful job the last two outings after his arm stiffened up,” Coach Mike Roberts said. “Bo’s got a lot of experience at Purdue and we have a lot of confidence in him, so I thought he threw the ball extremely well against a very good club.”
In three and a third innings, Hofstra allowed two runs, but struck out four Anglers when put in a tough spot.
“It felt really [good], kept the ball low in the zone,” Hofstra said. “Didn’t try to do too much with the fastball, just tried to locate it. It felt good.”
Though Hofstra took the loss on the day, his ability to battle out of tough situations all season long via strikeouts and double plays has been impressive.
“I don’t really plan for it (double plays), Hofstra said, smiling. “But the double play is a pitcher’s best friend. You just keep it low in the zone and create ground balls.”
One of those runs came from Paxton Wallace (Wichita State) of Chatham in the fourth when he laced a double to left, scoring Brady Smith all the way from first base.
Hofstra’s other earned run came in the seventh with Casey Schmitt on the mound. With bases loaded and two out, Jorge Arenas (Stetson) singled in between the third baseman and shortstop, bringing home Paxton Wallace from third. Since Wallace had reached earlier in the inning via a single (against Hofstra), the run was credited to Bo.
In the seventh, which would prove to be Cotuit’s final chance, a 1-1 fastball whizzed past the glove of Brady Smith and hit home plate umpire Dan Henry squarely in the head/neck area.
Following a concerning five minutes with Henry down and both trainers out to see him, he was able to walk off the field (with assistance) towards the locker room. His condition is unknown at this time.
What followed was a 12-15-minute delay as the other two umpires tried to figure out how to continue. Eventually, they decided to finish the game with just two umpires, Mike Rabideau and Frank Auditore.
Cotuit went down in order in the seventh, and the game was called due to darkness right after that.
As of now, the game is officially being protested by Mike Roberts and the Kettleers.
“I felt like we needed to do something to take a look at,” Roberts said postgame. “It was an unexpected delay. Both coaches were willing to finish the game later, at either their site or here, they said we weren’t allowed to do that, even if the coaches agreed on it and that’s fine, whatever they decide. It’s their league, they can decide what they want to.”
Any updates revolving around the protest will be relayed once we receive them.
Cotuit (10-10-2) faces off with Bourne (7-13) on Sunday, July 7th. First pitch at Doran Park is set for 6:00 P.M.