By Ben Gainsboro, Stetson University
Photos by Josh Muir, Endicott College
July 4th, 2019
COTUIT – The interns followed closely behind the team truck, with Kettleer players sitting and leaning over both sides of the sturdy vehicle.
The players tossed a variety of candy to kids, adults, and everything in between as the truck moved slowly through the streets of Cotuit, MA, the site of the yearly Fourth of July Parade.
“There’s just nothing like it, man,” broadcaster Sam Neidermann said. “The town, the people coming together…it’s special.”
Standing behind the truck, a large tractor-trailer, your vision looking directly ahead was obstructed by the front of the vehicle. As a result, all you saw was a flood of people on both sides of the street, American flags waving.
For a smaller village like Cotuit, seeing the sheer volume of people show up to this annual event was astounding, and the showing of Patriotism and fandom for the Kettleers and the town of Cotuit was, as Neidermann put it, “special.”
Of course, the parade and events that followed at Lowell Park was just the first half of a jam-packed day in Cotuit for the Fourth. Once the dunk tank was put away and the coaches and players switched out their USA gear for jersey’s, we were ready to play ball.
Cotuit played hosts to Falmouth; a team they had seen just a day prior. Getting the start for the Kettleers was Sean Sullivan (Cal), his first outing since June 28th at Orleans. And, like the game vs. Orleans, it started a bit rocky for the Golden Bear.
Falmouth struck in the first, with Zach Deloach (Texas A&M) scoring Hayden Cantrelle (Louisiana-Lafayette) with a sac-fly.
Then, in the third, Trei Cruz (Rice) rifled a triple to right, past Parker Chavers (Coastal Carolina). The rope scored both Blake Dunn (Western Michigan) and Troy Claunch (Oregon State), giving Falmouth the early 3-0 advantage.
The third spelled the end for Sullivan, as he left the game with five hits allowed, three runs, two walks, and four strikeouts in three innings pitched.
In the fourth, Cotuit struck back when Matthew Mervis (Duke) singled to center, scoring Parker Chavers from second.
Not to be lost in the slower pace of this game was the dominance of Chris Holcolm (Tulane). The local kid from Marstons Mills, MA, pitched three and two-thirds innings, allowing four hits and three walks but zero runs, while also striking out four Commodores.
“I thought he was very mature,” Coach Roberts said postgame. “The last performance (vs. Hyannis, July 1st) he came in and walked three guys, but today he was very mature, and Matt Mervis was as well.”
Holcolm still had a bit of issues with walks, as he issued three free passes in his three and two-thirds, but he consistently fought hard to keep the runs from scoring and eliminating any potential damage.
Unfortunately, the Cotuit bats were unable to claw back into this one late.
The best opportunity for Cotuit came in the seventh, when both Sam Ferri (Arizona State) and Mervis walked to begin the inning. After a pitching change brought in Caleb Wurster (UConn), Cam Hill (Kentucky) dug in with two on and zero out.
Hill showed bunt on the first five pitches, eventually running the count to full. Before the payoff pitch, Hill jogged over to Mike Robert on the third base line to talk about this pivotal sixth pitch with the game-tying run at first base. Unfortunately, the sixth pitch was another strike, with Hill attempting to bunt the ball into play and advance the two runners.
Oraj Anu (Kentucky) then pinch-hit for Christian Robinson (Stanford), but popped out to first. With two on and two out, Nick Gonzales (New Mexico State) put a good jolt into one, but flew out to right field to end the promising inning.
Falmouth would tack on another run in the ninth, and closer Thomas Girard (Duke) put down the Kettleers in order to end the ballgame. The loss was Cotuit’s second straight.
Coach Roberts in the preseason was preaching consistency above all to his guys, looking for consistent efforts in every game.
After the game, Coach was asked about how his team is progressing in that front twenty games into the season.
“Definitely progressed,” Coach Roberts said. “We’re certainly better than we were two or three weeks ago, but again we’ve got to get thirty people there, communicating, and prepared on every pitch. And if we do that we will win more often, and that’s our goal.”
Cotuit (9-9-2) will look to get back in the win-column on Friday night vs. Hyannis (3-15-1). First pitch at McKeon Park is scheduled for 6:00 P.M.