By Will Kraus, Bates College
Photos by Josh Muir, Endicott College
Video by Jacob Cohen, Boston University
July 19, 2019
HYANNIS, MA – The Cotuit Kettleers have simply taken over McKeon Park in Hyannis this year, defeating them soundly Friday night 15-5 to become the first Cape League team to clinch a playoff berth.
Kettleers contributed up and down the line-up in another thumping of the rival Harbor Hawks.
“I’m very impressed.” Coach Roberts said, smiling after the game. “I really am. I don’t get impressed very easily at all. But I don’t mind saying I think there’s some pretty good baseball players on this club. We’ve got some good hand action, we certainly have some power. I enjoy watching each one of them go to the plate and swing the bat the way they do.”
Among those players that impressed the skipperwere Joey Loperfido (Duke), Parker Chavers (Coastal Carolina), and Nick Gonzales (New Mexico State) who all sent balls out of the yard.
Loperfido put Cotuit ahead in the fourth, on a beautiful, soaring two-run homer to right center that left the bat at 101 miles per hour and traveled an astounding 430 feet.
“I’ve just been working with Coach Roberts a lot.” Loperfido said postgame. “We’ve been working on hitting inside pitches. [Hyannis’s starter Cole Pletka (Dayton)] came in on a fastball that I missed 2-0 in my first at bat against him. I just anticipated a fastball coming in and got a good swing.”
The Kettleers had plenty of ‘good swings’ to go around, including Chavers’ 371 foot three RBI shot to right field in the fifth inning that put the Kettleers in a commanding 7-2 lead.
Cotuit wouldn’t stop there.
“As I told the team after the game, I really appreciate how they interact with one another.” Roberts commented. “They really compete. I can’t say enough about their competitive nature. I’m really appreciative of these young men.”
Gonzales showed that ‘competitive nature’ with his power as well in the sixth. Gonzales hit a towering drive to dead-centerfield, the deepest part of the ballpark that didn’t seem to want to come down.
The All-Star second baseman’s seventh homer of the year traveled 403 feet and gave the
Kettleers even more run insurance as Cotuit took a 9-2 stranglehold on the contest. The Kettleers kept their foot on the gas too, scoring six more times in the final four innings.
Coach Roberts had pitching staff as well, particularly praising his starter Jackson Wolf (West Virginia) after he struggled in his last start.
“Well he pitched tonight.” Roberts said of Wolf. “He didn’t just throw, he pitched. He used his changeup some, particularly against righties. I like that he bounced back and what he showed me.”
The team’s combined efforts at Hyannis have resulted in three wins in which Cotuit has outscored the Harbor Hawks by a combined margin of 43-9.
“I’m thankful for this team.” Roberts simply sums up the Kettleers’ great showing on Friday.
Cotuit (17-13-3) plays the Harbor Hawks (6-25-1) at Lowell Park on Saturday. First pitch is set for 5 PM.