By Will Kraus, Bates College
Photos by Josh Muir, Endicott College
July 10, 2019
Kyle Nicolas’s (Ball State) fastball has some serious, serious gas. He has legitimate MLB level velocity that topped out at 97 miles per hour at Lowell Park on Wednesday night as he earned his fourth save in a 6-1 win over Falmouth.
Nicolas tossed three scoreless innings against Falmouth, striking out four and shutting the door on the Commodores as he worked through the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings.
“It’s a great feeling knowing that you can come in and your teammates behind you got your back and your teammates in the dugout trust you so all that helps you. So it’s a good feeling to be able to come in and know that everyone’s got my back.” Nicolas commented postgame.
Nicolas also had high praise for his catcher, Coltyn Kessler (Kentucky) who got the start behind the plate for the first time since injuring himself on a foul ball two weeks ago.
“Knowing that I got Kess behind the plate working hard for me is huge.” said Nicolas.
It was an electric performance by Nicolas that brought Lowell Park to its feet and certainly turned many MLB scouts heads as they watched Nicolas bring the heat.
“Just pound the zone, honestly.” Nicolas responded when asked about his game plan. “A couple hitters were different, but most of the time I trust my stuff against anybody else. So I just went with my stuff.”
His stuff worked especially well against Austin Masel (Holy Cross) as Nicolas got the .406 hitter to swing at a fastball well over his head for the second out of the ninth.
As impressive as Nicolas is on the mound he was given a special opportunity to bat as well in the bottom of the eighth.
Nicolas detailed just how long it had been since he’d had an at bat after the game.
“It was high school, senior year of high school.” Nicolas laughed after the victory.
It was quite the scene as the entire Cotuit dugout leaned over the railing on the third base sideline in anticipation of Nicolas’ rare plate appearance.
Shouts of encouragement rained toward Nicolas as he took his stance in the right side of the batter’s box, the entire team smiling as Nicolas got his first Cape League at bat.
“He didn’t even come with any batting gloves!” Oraj Anu (Kentucky) chuckled after the game.
“It was really cool.” Nicolas said postgame. “I came in and they told me I was hitting fifth that inning. So I was like really hoping that guys were gonna get on and it worked out good. They gave me a sleeve to just get some swag on me I didn’t have anything so I had the oven mitt in the back pocket if I got on base.” Nicolas beamed.
Nicolas ended up nearly reaching base as well, hitting a hard grounder to the right side that second baseman Hayden Cantrelle (Louisiana Lafayette) barely fielded to his left before just throwing Nicolas out at first.
The Kettleers’ dugout still clapped and cheered loudly as Nicolas returned to the bench before coming out in the ninth to nail the game down.
“It was really cool. I never thought I’d get an at bat.” Nicolas concluded after the game.
It was truly a fantastic performance by Nicolas and one of the more memorable moments of the 2019 season as one of Cotuit’s best bullpen weapons was given the chance to show his stuff at the plate.
Cotuit (13-11-2) travels to Harwich (12-14) on Thursday for a 6:30 PM start.