By Will Kraus, Bates College
Photos by Josh Muir, Endicott College
July 17, 2019
Gonzales Gets Cotuit Going
In a 7-6 thriller on Wednesday night there were four big hits. Two of those hits courtesy of Mason McWhorter (Georgia Southern) and Parker Chavers (Coastal Carolina) came to tie the game and take the lead.
But the other two off the bat of Nick Gonzales (New Mexico State), the number one catalyst of Cotuit’s offense all season long, were just as important in the Kettleers’ eventual comeback.
The Home Run
Gonzales’ first big hit came in the third inning when Cotuit’s offense was really scuffling.
In fact, heading into the third the Kettleers hadn’t produced a run in nineteen innings and were in danger of extending that number to twenty with two outs.
But Cotuit had just the man up to the task.
Gonzales stepped to the plate from the right side with his team down 3-0, getting into his incredibly consistent batting stance before Hyannis pitcher Tommy McCollum (Wingate) delivered his pitch. Gonzales took a called strike but wouldn’t take a second, launching a ball down the right field line that soared out of Lowell Park into the surrounding forest. The solo shot sent the Lowell Loyal to their feet with his sixth homer of the year.
Gonzales’ home run only made the game 3-1, but there’s something to be said for getting the team on the scoreboard. There is a psychological impact seeing a member of the team cross home safely that can turn an offense from off to on. That’s exactly what would happen as Cotuit managed to muster enough runs to keep them within striking distance for the big sixth inning.
Starting the Rally and Snapping the RISP Drought
Gonzales’ second RBI hit was just as pivotal.
Cotuit was in serious danger of falling to the last place Harbor Hawks 6-3 in the sixth as the overcast clouds threatened to make the field too dark to play beyond six innings.
Gonzales came to bat with two outs once more, but this time Cam Hill (Kentucky) stood at second and Adam Oviedo (Oral Roberts) took his lead at first.
This at bat was more of a battle as Gonzales worked a full count, one strike away from a third straight loss for the Kettleers.
However, Gonzales made the next pitch Hyannis reliever Trevor DeLaite’s (Maine) last, not his team’s final out.
Gonzales hit a laser into right field that scored Hill and began a rally that would lead to Cotuit’s victory.
Gonzales’ big time hit snapped yet another offensive scuffle for the Kettleers as well.
In their last nineteen at bats with runners in scoring position the Kettleers were a combined 0-19.
That dates back three games and nearly twenty-seven innings since a hit with runners in scoring position.
Gonzales’ hit with runners on first and second snapped that drought, sparking two more hits with RISP in the very same inning. Gonzales has simply been the gas pedal for Cotuit’s offense throughout the 2019 campaign. Wednesday was more of the same in a marvelous season for the All-Star second baseman who led all of Division I baseball this year with a .432 average.
The Kettleers (16-13-3) will travel to Falmouth tomorrow to play the Commodores (15-12-1) at 6 PM.