By Ben Gainsboro, Stetson University
Photos by Josh Muir, Endicott College
Video by Jacob Cohen, Boston University
July 15th, 2019
BOURNE, MA – Heads shot up from the Cotuit dugout as the ball was launched to left center field.
The team did not seem completely ready, as they were still congratulating Nick Gonzales (New Mexico State) for his hit just an at-bat earlier, a solo home run to lead off the game vs. Bourne.
“He (Gonzales) is very comfortable with any style of pitcher on the mound,” Coach Mike Roberts said postgame. “And his swing is about as short and compact as any swing I’ve ever seen in college baseball. And I’ve seen some pretty good ones (laughs).”
Casey Schmitt (San Diego State), not to be outdone by his infield partner, decided to join in on the fun as the next batter, smacking a solo home run for his fifth of the year, tying Gonzales.
It was the second time this season Cotuit has gone back-to-back, the first coming vs. Yarmouth-Dennis on June 16th.
As the dugout realized what had happened, hoots and hollers rained down on Casey as he smacked hands with his coach, Mike Roberts, and smiled at his teammates on the way to the plate.
Cotuit was up 2-0, in the first inning, against one of the best starters on the Cape in Mac Lardner (Gonzaga).
Coming into the start, the Gonzaga Bulldog was 2-1 with a 0.82 ERA.
In fact, he hadn’t allowed more than one run in any of his four prior starts coming into the ballgame.
Following the hot start, Chris Holcolm (Tulane) took the bump for Cotuit, starting his first game after spending the first month or so as a reliever.
The southpaw was sharp in his first inning, striking out two Braves and allowing just one to reach base (hit by pitch).
In his second inning, however, he ran into trouble.
After loading the bases, Kyle Hess (Pittsburgh) was able to single up the middle, bringing home both Jud Fabian (Florida) and Jared Poland (Louisville) to knot the game at two.
Holcolm then walked the next batter, Cody Morisette (Boston College), loading the bases again.
That would prove to be the end of his night, as Richard Brereton (Emory) entered to try and get Cotuit out of the bases loaded jam.
And that he did, forcing Zavier Warren (Central Michigan) to ground out and Cade Beloso (LSU) to fly out.
“I’ve had confidence in Richard all year,” Roberts said. “He’s a very intelligent young man, both in the classroom and on the baseball field, and tonight he made a huge adjustment. His breaking ball was down in the strike zone, the best it’s been all summer, so he did an excellent job to keep us in the game.”
Brereton would throw four scoreless innings in this one, striking out four Braves and allowing just three hits.
Unfortunately for Cotuit, as Brereton tried to keep them afloat, the bats decided to sink.
The Kettleers managed just two more hits against Lardner from innings three to six, with them both coming in the form of singles. Lardner only issued one walk in his six innings of work.
With the score still tied in the eighth, Cotuit got its best chance to gain the lead when Gonzales began the inning with an infield single. He then moved to second on a wild pitch from Jared Poland.
Casey Schmitt then gave a productive out, poking the ball to second base which allowed Gonzales to move to third.
The next batter, Parker Chavers (Coastal Carolina) worked a brilliant walk, which gave Cotuit runners on first and third and just one out.
Unfortunately, it was not meant to be, as both Mason McWhorter (Georgia Southern) and Christian Robinson (Stanford) would strike out to end the threat.
In the next frame, Jud Fabian hit the go-ahead homer to give Bourne the 3-2 lead. The Braves would never look back.
It was Cotuit’s first loss in the last five ballgames.
“Our problem tonight was that we just struck out way too much with men on base,” Roberts said after the loss. “I told them [after the game], we will move the baseball with people on base because we are going to shorten our swings and we are going to practice moving the baseball. That part is unacceptable.”
Cotuit (15-12-3) will have a chance to move some runners along the basepaths Tuesday night when they head to Eldridge Park to face off with the Firebirds of Orleans (14-11-2). First pitch in that game is set for 7:00 P.M.