By Will Kraus, Bates College
Photos by Josh Muir, Endicott College
Video by Jacob Cohen, Boston University
July 11, 2019
Cotuit’s fans traveled in droves to Harwich on Thursday night, clapping in unison as the tall righty Matt Mervis (Duke) wound up for a fastball that he blew by Harwich’s Patrick Winkel (Connecticut) to seal a 2-0 win over the Mariners in the ninth.
It was the cherry on top of an already outstanding relief performance by Mervis who struck out six consecutive batters to finish off the Mariners.
“What can you say about Matt Mervis? That’s his best outing of the year.” Coach Roberts commented postgame.
Mervis threw three scoreless innings including seven strikeouts as he stifled Harwich hitters to record his first save and reduce his ERA to just 2.25 on the year.
Reid Johnston (North Carolina State) was stellar as well, earning his second win in his fourth start as a Kettleer. The 6-3 righty shut Harwich down for 0 runs and just two hits over six superb frames to lower his already incredible 0.81 ERA to just 0.52.
“Well I thought that it was a .08 ERA and that’s the reason I put him out there.” Roberts said jokingly following the game.
“Reid’s been really good I don’t care what the ERA is. He’s had a couple of outstanding outings. That was an extremely mature outing by Reid today. There’s been two games he has pitched that I call very professional, tremendous poise, stayed ahead in the count, used all his pitches and he did that tonight.” said the sixteen year Cotuit skipper.
Center fielder Donta Williams (Arizona) had a fantastic game for Cotuit as well, impressing on both sides of the ball.
“He helped lead us to this win.” Roberts said after the game.
Williams’ big day began in the bottom of the first when he threw out Daniel Cabrera (Louisiana State) as Cabrera tried to turn a single into a double.
“I honestly didn’t see him at the time, I just thought I should throw the ball in as fast as I can.” Williams said as he recalled the play.
“Throwing the guy out in the bottom of the first inning was a huge out. You never know what can happen after that.” said Roberts.
In the very first at bat of the next inning Donta showed off his swing as well, taking starter Antonio Menendez (Wake Forest) 414 feet deep to right field with an eye-popping 103 mile per hour exit velocity.
“We knew [Menendez] was obviously from the side.” said Williams as he explained his big home run. “A type of pitcher like that means you kind of got to get on top of the plate. It kind of runs in on you. They’d been saying he was kind of running in so I just knew I was gonna get a fastball middle, middle-in and I was just ready for it.”
Williams hit another ball extremely hard in the ninth right off of Harwich pitcher Cam Baumann’s (Iowa) jaw. It was a scary scene as Harwich’s trainers rushed onto the field to pull Baumann from the game.
Luckily it appears Baumann will be alright.
“Number one, we told the Harwich people that we’re very glad that the Harwich pitcher is okay.” said Roberts when asked about Baumann’s status. “He’s gonna have to have some stitches and he’s very fortunate.” Roberts continued.
“You can’t put it into words.” Williams said of the moment. “I just started praying right when I saw it happen. It’s just devastating and scary for something like that to happen. I’m just wishing and praying the best for him and I hope that everything is okay.”
Coach Roberts continued to rave about Williams’ performance as the team packed their bags for the Kettleers’ bus.
“That was Donta’s best game this summer and he showed what I call MLB hands tonight. When you hear that crack of the ball off of the bat, both the line-drive and the home run were two balls that anybody playing this game would love to hit like that.”
Williams would end up scoring on a base knock to center by Adam Oviedo (Oral Roberts) later in the inning to widen Cotuit’s lead to two runs before Mervis came in to shut it down.
It was a big win for Cotuit (14-11-2) as the Kettleers kept pace with the division leading Wareham Gatemen (15-11-1) and simultaneously moved three games above .500 for the first time since the opening week of the season.
It appears star player Nick Gonzales (New Mexico State) is going to be okay following a scary collision on Wednesday as he slid into home plate. Reports are he suffered a bone bruise.
“Big relief, you don’t want anyone to have a broken leg or ankle or knee damage.” Roberts said at Harwich. “He’s got a big contusion. I didn’t sleep until I got that news last night and then I still struggled with that a little bit. His parents are here which is really a great time for them to be here. They can help him. Nick will be back in a couple of days and we’ll all welcome him back. We’re thankful that we’ll get him back this summer.”
The Kettleers will face off against the Harwich Mariners (12-15) once again on Friday night for a 5 PM first pitch at Lowell Park.