By Ben Gainsboro, Stetson University
Photos by Josh Muir, Endicott College
July 1st, 2019
What Happened: Cotuit (8-7-2) beat Hyannis (3-12-1) 9-8 at Lowell Park.
In a game as exciting, nerve-wracking, and full of huge moments as this one was, I felt it appropriate to break out my first “top five” of the year.
For this particular list, I will be talking about the top five moments from Cotuit’s massive win over the Harbor Hawks. These were not necessarily the best moments from the game, but rather the most memorable and important for Cotuit’s dramatic victory.
#5) Donta Williams (Arizona) Walks
The headline may not exactly be exciting, but Donta Williams’ clutch walk in the bottom of the fourth opened the doors for the Kettleeers to pounce.
With Nick Gonzales (New Mexico State) on first (after working a great walk himself), Casey Schmitt (San Diego State) nearly broke the game open with a deep fly to get the Kettleers on the board. Instead, the ball was caught at the warning track, leaving Gonzales on first with Williams striding to the plate.
In his first at bat, Donta worked Nick Mondak (St. John’s) seven pitches before ultimately striking out. This time, with Mondak still sporting a no hitter and the game-tying run on first, Williams won the battle.
He fell behind in the count 1-2 to the Hyannis starter, but then Donta took ball two, fouled off two straight pitches, looked at ball three, and fouled off another potential strike three pitch. In the eighth pitch of the at-bat, Williams took ball four, moving Gonzales over to second.
This all opened the door for Parker Chavers, who did not miss his opportunity. In fact…
#4) Parker Chavers Breaks the Tie (and the ball)
Following an Oraj Anu (Kentucky) lineout and a Mason McWhorter (Georgia Southern) single, Cotuit was now tied at one with two outs in the fourth. The batter: Parker Chavers.
Facing a new pitcher, Joseph Quintal (Fordham), Chavers watched the first two pitches of the at-bat go by. The first was called a strike, and the second missed for a ball.
On the third pitch of the at-bat, Chavers struck, launching a three-run homerun to right field, scoring both Williams and McWhorter.
The longball was Chavers’ second of the season, and the three RBI he earned from the hit brought him up to seven on the year.
Following a stretch of games where the long ball was either non-existent or a rarity, the fourth inning moonshot was a welcome sign to both the dugout and the Kettleer faithful.
At the time, it gave the Kettleers a comfortable 4-1 advantage.
Emphasis on: “At the time.”
#3) Nick Gonzales Saves Cotuit with his…Glove?
Over the course of the past couple games, it is well-documented that Gonzales has been smacking the smithereens out of the baseball. He entered the game on a seven-game hitting streak, overtaking the top of the rankings in the CCBL for both RBI (15) and batting average (.377).
In this ballgame, he went 0-3 with 0 RBI. And yet, he still found a way to make one of the most valuable plays of the night for the Kettleers.
It was the top of the eighth, with Cotuit’s lead going from a commanding 8-3 to a dwindling 8-7.
The Harbor Hawks had struck back for four and were looking for more with the bases loaded and no one out. With the infield in, Jackson Olson (Hartford) got a hold of a pitch from Bo Hofstra (Purdue), launching it precariously towards the 4-6 gap.
If the ball had gotten through, the score likely would have been 9-8 Hyannis. Instead, Gonzales dove like Superman, snaring the ball, looking the runner back at third, and firing to first baseman Mason McWhorter for the first out of the inning.
Instead of a one run hole, Cotuit still had a one run lead.
Of course, Hyannis would tie the game off of a sac fly later in the inning, but the fact remains: Without Gonzales’s heroics, Cotuit would have been losing the ballgame in the bottom of the eighth.
“A lot of key plays,” Coach Mike Roberts said postgame. “But boy you look at the play [where] Nick dove…wow, was that a big play (laughs).”
The game was tied because of the effort, with some power bats coming up in the next frame.
Speaking of power bats…
#2) Oraj Anu’s Power Swing Returns When Cotuit Needs it Most
It was no secret that Anu was struggling a bit at the plate, just ask the man himself:
“It feels great,” Anu said. “Especially since I haven’t hit in a while, especially a homerun (laughs).”
The hit which Anu was referring to was his third long ball of the season, this one absolutely cranked to right center field to begin the bottom of the eighth.
The hit came against Tyler Drabick (Kent State), making his first start on the Cape after arriving earlier today.
Though not a walk-off homer, the reaction the homerun garnered from both the Kettleer bench and the faithful who stayed until the end was about as close to a storybook ending as Cotuit could have asked for.
So, what could have possibly beat that?
#1) Mike Roberts is Thankful
I will keep it brief with this one since it was Will Kraus (fellow writer, Bates College) who conducted the interview and thus deserves to put the excellent scene into his own words.
I will just say this, though. Even though Mike Roberts is often straight-faced, intense, and tough with his players, the bond he shares with said players, and especially this group, was on full display in a truly touching moment between him, his guys, and Will.
That, combined with a postgame meeting with his old mentor, mister Ron Polk, made for a truly special moment, so make sure to check out Will’s game article whenever it comes up.
Cotuit tries to follow up the emotional win with another home win tomorrow vs. Bourne (6-9). First pitch between the Kettleers and the Braves is scheduled for 5:00 P.M. at Lowell Park.