By Ben Gainsboro, Stetson University
Photos by Josh Muir, Endicott College
July 25th, 2019
The Matchup: Cotuit (17-16-4) does battle with the Wareham Gatemen (19-16-1) in a massive matchup on Friday night.
Where: The game will be played at Lowell Park in Cotuit, MA. First pitch is set for 5:00 P.M. If you can’t make it, catch the game on the Cotuit radio broadcast, hosted by Aram Leighton (Syracuse) and Sam Neiderman (Indiana).
The Last Meeting: It seems like forever since these two western division rivals have crossed paths. In actuality, it’s only been 17 days, dating back to July 8th. In that game, Cotuit was able to best the Gatemen by a score of 11-5.
Chris Farrell (William & Mary) got the start in that game, lasting three innings and allowing just one earned.
Matt Moore (Purdue) was the winner on the day and pitched magnificently at Spillane Field. The big lefty went three innings, striking out three Gatemen and allowing just two hits (zero runs).
Offensively, it was one of Cotuit’s better outings of the season against Wareham starter William Fleming (Wake Forest).
The team hit five doubles, two coming from Mason McWhorter (Georgia Southern), two coming from Casey Schmitt (San Diego State), and one from Allbry Major (Xavier).
Robbie Martin (Florida State) tripled, and both Parker Chavers (Coastal Carolina) and Schmitt left the yard with home runs.
All in all, Cotuit had fourteen hits and six extra-base hits.
Casey Schmitt and Mason McWhorter combined for a stellar 8 RBI between the pair.
Since Then: Wareham
Since the loss, Wareham has gone 7-5.
Another fun stat, against teams not named the Falmouth Commodores, the Gatemen are 7-1 in that span.
Wareham has played consistently well against most teams in that stretch, beating the likes of Yarmouth-Dennis (twice) and Chatham. However, against the Commodores, Wareham was outscored by seven runs.
Roster-wise, Wareham has been relatively steady throughout the season. Each team in the Cape league loses guys, but Wareham has actually been pretty fortunate in that regard since July 8th.
The one notable loss, however, was Darren Baker (Cal) on July 22nd. The son of longtime Expos/Nationals manager Dusty Baker was one of the best hitters on the Cape, evident by his .342 batting average and 12 stolen bases.
The Gatemen have scored just four runs in two games since Baker’s departure.
Since Then: Cotuit
Since the last meeting with Wareham, Cotuit is 5-6-2, one of the Kettleers roughest stretches of the season.
Great performances were still mixed in with the slower offensive games, mainly the 15-5 win over Hyannis on July 19th.
All-in-all, however, it’s been a difficult stretch for the usually destructive Kettleer offense.
Cotuit was hit with the roster bug far worse than Wareham, as Kole Ramage (Arkansas), Zach McCambley (Coastal Carolina) and Allbry Major (Xavier) have all been released since the last meeting.
Ramage was one of the Kettleers go-to arms, sporting a 3.60 ERA at the time of his departure. He was also a guy that could pitch as both a starter and reliever.
The loss of Major hurt as well, as Allbry was sporting an otherworldly .407 with seven doubles for the Kettleers in 17 games.
Joey Loperfido (Duke) has done a wonderful job of picking up the slack in his absence, but there is no denying Major’s importance to the club.
Lastly, the loss of starter Zach McCambley has probably been the toughest pill to swallow for Cotuit. McCambley was stellar, sporting a 1.74 ERA and 24 strikeouts in just 20.2 innings pitched. He had just one start where he allowed more than one run across five outings.
What’s on the Line?
A lot, to be frank.
Cotuit is currently down one point to Wareham in the west standings, equaling one half of a game. With upcoming matchups against Chatham, Yarmouth-Dennis, Wareham (twice) and Falmouth (three times), it is now or never for the suddenly cold Cotuit offense.
Falmouth remains very much within reach of first place at 41 points (one and a half games back), but the Commodores have three more games left to play than the Kettleers.
Likewise, the Bourne Braves are suddenly only nine points (4.5 games) back from the Kettleers for the third-place spot in the west.
With Wareham coming to town, in front of a potentially massive Friday night crowd, it is a prime opportunity for Cotuit to get back on track and back in the win column.