By Will Kraus, Bates College
Photos by Josh Muir, Endicott College
Video by Jacob Cohen, Boston University
July 25, 2019
“I just think we got the league right where we want them.” is what Coach Roberts said after a 9-1 loss to Harwich at home Thursday night.
It’s not exactly what you’d expect a skipper to say when the team struggles, but Roberts related the situation to his alma mater school’s (North Carolina) legendary basketball coach Dean Smith.
“Right now there’s not a lot of confidence out there.” said Roberts postgame. “Dean Smith is the greatest coach that I’ve ever been around and I watched him for thirty-six years as an undergraduate, a graduate student, and working alongside of him. You know I’d watch them and toward the end of the game North Carolina would be down by six with thirty eight seconds to go and he just let the guys come to the bench and smiled and said ‘Look, we got them right where we want them.’”
That’s the mentality the veteran Kettleers coach is taking into the final seven games of the regular season.
It’s certainly an encouraging attitude Roberts has following a game in which Cotuit didn’t do much of anything well.
Three of the Mariners’ first six runs were scored on wild pitches and Cotuit is now just 1-18 with runners in scoring position over the last three games, leaving twenty-two men on base in the process.
Harwich struck first for four in the second off of starter Kyle Nicolas (Ball State). The Mariners would continue to extend the lead throughout the game, tacking on a pair of runs in the fourth, a single score in the seventh, and two in the ninth in their 9-1 victory.
The overall highlight of the game came in the ninth inning when Niko Kavadas (Notre Dame) reclaimed the league lead with his ninth homer. Kavadas shot one 386 feet off the bat to right with a 104 miles per hour exit velocity.
Nick Gonzales (New Mexico State) would score Cotuit’s only run in the eighth off of a grounder by Matt Mervis (Duke).
Roberts spoke to adjustments he’d like to see from his batters and pitchers following the defeat. “I want them to swing at every [type of] pitch, every time they go up there. I don’t want them thinking about fastball, curveball, slider, change-up. I want our pitchers to throw their secondary pitches in every count and we’re not doing that.” Roberts commented
The Kettleers are winless in their last four and have a tough schedule to close out the season. Cotuit will play four teams in seven games. Those four teams are the one and two seeds for each division and a combined 25 games over .500.
In other words Cotuit has their work cut out for them, but also a real opportunity to prove themselves and recapture some confidence heading into the playoffs.
“We just gotta get our mojo and get our confidence back and if I stay confident and I let them relax we’ll be okay.” Roberts concluded.
Cotuit’s (17-16-4) tough schedule will begin with Wareham (19-16-1) at Lowell Park on Friday First pitch is set for 5 PM.