By Will Kraus, Bates College
Photos by Josh Muir, Endicott College
Video by Jacob Cohen, Boston University
July 5, 2019
Coach Mike Roberts held an important meeting with his club at Lowell Park before the Kettleers left for Hyannis on Friday to take on the Harbor Hawks.
The meeting came following two straight losses to Falmouth in which Cotuit scored a total of two runs.
Roberts preached effort to the Kettleers and the team responded in a major way as every Cotuit starter scored at least one run at Hyannis en route to a 16-4 demolition of the Harbor Hawks.
Parker Chavers (Coastal Carolina) for one showed how seriously he took Roberts’ message as he went to Hyannis’s batting cage for extra practice following the usual swings on the field.
Chavers’ effort and performance served as a microcosm for that of the team as the added practice paid off on the first pitch of the fifth inning.
Chavers sent one deep into right, flipping his bat as he rounded the bases.
It was quite the emphatic response following Hyannis’s fourth inning in which Jordan Westburg (Mississippi State) cut Cotuit’s lead to 4-3 after a three run homer.
Chavers’ RBI would prove to be the game winner, though the Kettleers would add eleven more runs to seal the deal.
When asked if he was satisfied with his team’s effort Coach Roberts said “Yeah, but not because of the score. I go by each individual and I thought the last two days against Falmouth our effort was pretty marginal. The guys really did have a great effort.”
The game got off to an ugly start from the first for Hyannis as in the first at bat of the game a Nick Gonzales (New Mexico State) ground ball right to the second baseman somehow found its way to the outfield grass, extending Gonzales’ on base streak to 76 games dating back to his college season.
Matt Mervis (Duke) would make Hyannis pay for that mistake just two batters later as the lefty pulled a ball down the right field line and out of McKeon Park for his first home run in his Cape League career, putting Cotuit in front 2-0.
Mervis would go on to have himself a night as he led the game with six runs batted in and came a triple away from the cycle.
While the sixteen run smacking points toward an impressive display by Cotuit’s bats, pitching and fielding efforts should not go overlooked.
The Kettleers’ pitching staff held Hyannis to a stingy .200 batting average with runners in scoring position over the course of the night.
Start Reid Johnston (North Carolina State) specifically showed an incredible ability to deal with adversity. In three innings of scoreless work Johnston put zeros up on the scoreboard despite an abundance of Harbor Hawks on the base paths.
In fact, Johnston let eight players on base yet none of them crossed the plate.
“Reid fought and finessed even though he didn’t have great stuff tonight but I really appreciate his effort.” Roberts said postgame.
Another special effort that could go under the radar in a 16-4 drubbing is the defensive play of Adam Oviedo (Oral Roberts) at shortstop.
Oviedo was the catalyst for two double plays including an incredible sequence to the end the bottom of the third.
Hyannis was threatening with runners on first and second when Rowdey Jordan (Mississippi State) lined a ball that seemed destined to drop into left field and give Hyannis its first run.
But Oviedo fully extended his left arm, snatching the ball in the very top pocket of his glove before landing and having the wherewithal to dive glove first into second base to get Cotuit safely out of the inning with a solo double play.
All in all it was a fantastic all around effort win to snap the minor skid.
Cotuit’s combination of 11-0, 9-8, and 16-4 victories over Hyannis (3-16-1) puts the Kettleers in prime position to win the Patriot Cup for the fourth year in a row.
The Kettleers (10-9-2) will host the team with the best record in the Cape League, the Chatham Anglers (13-7-1) on Saturday evening at 5 PM.