By Will Kraus, Bates College
Video by Jacob Cohen, Boston University
Photos by Josh Muir, Endicott College
August 3, 2019
Wareham left the gate open, wide open and Cotuit took advantage, steam-rolling the Gatemen’s hopes of clinching the opening series at Lowell Park in a 22-2 laugher on Saturday to follow up the 8-7 heartbreaking loss at Wareham Friday.
“The guys really bounced back and whether it was 3-2 or whatever the score was that really doesn’t make any difference.” Coach Roberts said postgame. “The most important thing is we came out with a win at home to get a chance to play that third game.”
You know it was a great team win when the entire Kettleers roster was named the star of the game and all eleven Cotuit batters reached base, every starter scoring at least a run.
To start the pivotal elimination game for Cotuit was Sean Sullivan (California Berkeley), who tossed a scoreless first before the Kettleers got right to business in the bottom half of the inning when Oraj Anu (Kentucky) tattooed a double in the right-center gap that scored Matt Mervis (Duke) all the way from first and put Cotuit up 1-0.
In the third and fourth innings you might have thought that Casey Schmitt (San Diego State) and Parker Chavers (Coastal Carolina) were trying to knock down the entire forest of Lowell Park as they each hit towering shots that entered the very tops of the trees in the outfield woods.
The right-handed Schmitt’s blast came in the third and traveled 396 feet to left field with an astounding 104 miles per hour exit velocity, bringing Anu to the plate as well to give the Kettleers the 3-0 edge.
Chaver’s solo shot came to start the bottom of the fourth as he pulled one way out of the park.
But with a 4-0 lead the bats were just getting started.
Nick Gonzales (New Mexico State), who was presented with the Cape League’s Most Valuable Player award before the game, looked the part with the bases loaded later in the fourth inning, belting a baseball into left field that brought Adam Oviedo (Oral Roberts) home.
Mervis would then hit a sac fly that allowed Donta Willilams (Arizona) to give his best slip-and-slide re-enactment as he laid out head-first his arms stretched out in front of him to give Cotuit a 6-0 lead.
Anu tacked on his second and third of his 5 RBI performance with a single that bounced over Wareham second baseman Matt McLain’s (California Los Angeles) head before Oviedo walked in a run, bringing the score to 9-0.
The Gatemen answered with a run in the fifth, but the Kettleers punched right back on the back of Cotuit native Cody Pasic (Maine).
While the left-handed batting Pasic had homered for the West in the All-Star Game, he had yet to do so for Cotuit. He picked just the right time for his first Kettleers’ dinger, smashing a lead-off home run on a 3-2 count into the outfield’s forest in right that sent the Lowell Loyal to their feet as the Kettleers increased their advantage to 10-1.
“I knew the fastball was coming 3-2.” Pasic said after the game. “I knew we had the lead so if I can get the barrel on it that’s the key and that’s what I did.”
It was clearly a memorable moment from the home-town catcher as Pasic continued to describe his homer.
“Every moment here is special.” said Pasic. “I’ve been coming here ever since I was a little kid and rounding the bases, seeing all my loved ones over there, there’s nothing like it. I’m just extremely happy to be here.”
In the seventh inning the game truly got out of hand as Cotuit plated ten runs, their highest run total in any inning of the season.
Within the inning Pasic, Gonzales, and Mervis all batted twice.
Mervis smacked his third home run in as many games that gave the Kettleers a nineteen run cushion in the incredible seventh.
While the offense was outstanding, so were Cotuit’s pitchers, especially Sullivan.
Sullivan threw the first five innings, surrendering only one run to the Gatemen while striking out six.
Roberts raved about his starter’s performance.
“I don’t think he’s a freshman anymore.” Roberts said. “He’s really done a fantastic job for us. He just has the It factor, he has pitch ability. He’s one of those guys to me that looks like that there was a mound in his bedroom with a crib. He just is comfortable out there.”
When Sullivan was asked if he had the It factor his coach detailed he responded “I hope I do. That’s awesome. Especially from him that’s high praise.”
“I was feeling pretty good.” Sullivan went on. “I felt good in the pen before the game. I knew I had to throw first pitch strikes. That was a little bit of a struggle today, but I kind of finessed my way through it. My guys behind me got my back. They put up twenty-two runs today so I’m pretty happy about that.” said the smiling Sullivan.
Relievers Matt Moore (Purdue), Harrison Cohen (George Washington), and Cole Beavin
(Florida State) closed the rout out to force a game three.
“I don’t think I tell them anything.” Roberts said when asked what his advice for his team is for game three. “I just let them play. These guys are fun to be around and you know I just let them go.”
It will be a tough act to follow for the Kettleers after they scored the most runs in a playoff game of any Cape League team in nineteen years, but Cotuit will travel back to Spillane Field on Sunday for a 6:45 PM start in a winner take all game three.