By Will Kraus, Bates College
Video by Jacob Cohen, Boston University
Photos by Josh Muir, Endicott College
July 31, 2019
There were showers in Falmouth on Wednseday night to end the regular season. Ice showers that is for outfielder Cam Hill (Kentucky) courtesy of Oraj Anu (Kentucky) in celebration of Hill’s performance as he robbed a home run in the first half of the doubleheader before coming in to pitch four innings to earn the save in the second game.
“I’ve been coaching on and off the Cape since 1984 and this has been one of the most enjoyable days I’ve ever had. I’ve enjoyed this group the entire summer and today was the pinnacle of the regular season for me and I hope each one of them can look back at this as a really special day. ” said Coach Roberts postgame.
It was truly a special team effort as five position players took the mound for Cotuit in order to preserve the bullpen before the playoffs.
The first half of the twin-bill didn’t go Cotuit’s way as they lost 7-2 in seven innings, officially making them the third seed in the West Division.
Nonetheless, Hill made one of the most remarkable plays of the season in the sixth inning over the right field fence with Coltyn Kessler (Kentucky) on the mound.
Kessler, who normally plays catcher, was the second catcher to throw for the Kettleers in the game following Cody Pasic (Maine).
“I went out there and [Kessler] told me to back up as far as I could and I told him I’d just rob
one for him and I don’t know what happened. I blanked out as soon as it happened. I was like did just happen?”
What happened was that Hill robbed Falmouth’s Austin Masel (Holy Cross) of a home run as he leaped over the fence in right, extending his arm simultaneously to steal a solo shot and keep Kessler’s pitching line unblemished.
Kessler delivered his first pitch of the sixth inning at just 46 miles per hour and had it hit roughly 350 feet but it will go down as a simple F-9 in the scorebook. The Kentucky catcher officially has a 0.00 ERA in two scoreless frames.
However, the Kettleers would put on the real show in the day’s second act.
In just three pitches Cotuit already owned the lead in the second contest. A single by Nick Gonzales (New Mexico State) followed immediately by a triple that Matt Mervis (Duke) tattooed to the right field fence gave the Kettleers a 1-0 advantage from the start.
Cotuit didn’t take their foot off the gas one bit en route to a 13-2 demolition of the Commodores.
Andrew Czech (Walsh) who made his Cape League debut in the first game and had his first hit in the second enhanced the Kettleers’ first inning as he singled to right to bring Mervis home, giving the Kettleers a 2-0 edge heading into the bottom of the first.
Earning the start was outfielder Donta Williams (Arizona).
Williams was outstanding in his 1 ⅔ innings pitched, featuring a slider with above MLB average spin and a fastball that touched 90 miles per hour.
“It’s fun. You obviously only get that opportunity once a summer. So you just have to make the most of it.” Williams said following the game.
Parker Chavers (Coastal Carolina) would come in to pitch 1 ⅓ innings, allowing a run before Hill took the hill and stole the show.
Hill threw the most of any position player, surrendering only one run in four innings, striking out two, and recording a save.
“I didn’t expect anything.” Hill said of his mound debut. “I was in the bullpen and they were
telling me to throw strikes and get by and that’s what I did. It was a blast.”
It was a blast for the Kettleers’ bats as well. Cotuit tallied thirteen runs and fourteen hits in just seven innings of play off of Falmouth’s pitching staff.
Mervis added to his triple with a solo homer and a grand slam. The four-run bomb came in Cotuit’s final inning of the regular season.
When Mervis stepped to the plate the Kettleers had played 43 games and six innings homering 36 times yet had 0 grand slams to show for it.
Mervis changed all that with one swing of the bat, destroying a baseball for a no-doubt slam to right. That brought the score to 13-2, giving Hill more than enough insurance runs to seal the deal and bring Cotuit’s final record to 20-20-4.
The breakout performance from the offense along with Hill’s attitude toward the playoffs bodes well for the Kettleers as they prepare for a run at what would be their record extending seventeenth CCBL title.
“I’m ready to win this dang thing.” Hill said following the ice shower from Anu.
The Kettleers will play the Wareham Gatemen in the first round for the second consecutive season. The best of three series will begin at Spillane Field in Wareham on Friday night.