by Clara Richards | Washington University in St. Louis
In the Kettleers’ second matchup against the Bourne Braves, the starting lineup looked drastically different from two days prior. Four players from Tuesday’s victorious starting lineup had taken a plane to the MLB Draft Combine, and Ketts had a total of ten position players in the dugout. There were no backup options.
But Carter Trice (NC State) wasn’t thinking about that as he stepped up to the plate in the fourth inning of a scoreless game. Instead, he was likely thinking about his batting practice that afternoon, one of the best he’s had during his summer ball season so far. Trice only played in one other game this season, the opener at Chatham where he went hitless, but he made his first contact of the season count. He swung long and far for his first homer of the season, executing the adjustments that he’s worked on over the past weeks under head coach Mike Roberts’ tutelage. His long ball put the Ketts on the board 2-0, a sign of confidence despite their altered lineup.
The momentum carried throughout the fourth inning for the Kettleers. An unsettled Braves pitcher allowed issued two consecutive walks, and a single from Ryan Ritter (Kentucky) loaded the bases. On a 3-2 count, Justin Miknis (Kent State) poked the payoff pitch past the shortstop to bring two more runs in. Even after the Braves made a pitching change to control the damage, the Ketts scored a run off of a single from Brooks Baldwin (UNC-Wilmington), and a walk with the bases loaded brought in the final run of the inning. In the fourth alone, the Ketts cycled through twelve batters. The offensive explosion has become a pattern for the Ketts; in their previous matchup against Bourne, they had two innings with three runs each.
The Ketts didn’t add to their six-run lead until the bottom of the eighth. A dropped fly ball under the bright right field lights allowed Zach Cole (Ball State) to cross home plate after he reached on a dropped third strike, bringing the final score to 7-0. Cole, who received a call on Monday from head coach Mike Roberts and immediately booked a flight for the next day, batted .500. He landed two hits in five at-bats and reached base on four out of five plate appearances. “I started pretty hot, but I got brought back down to earth,” Cole said. “The Cape League is the best league in the country, so I had to get out eventually. But I was pleased because I haven’t seen a live at-bat in a couple weeks.”
Cole also started in left field and hurled a bullet from the warning track to throw out a runner at home plate, an impressive play from both Cole and catcher Caleb Lomavita (California). His clutch play with the fly ball kept the Ketts scoreless. “Man, this is what we do all our stuff for. No one ever pays attention to the outfield until something cool like that happens,” he said. “But I just let it drop and just reacted instinctively.”
On the mound, Adam Boucher (Duke) started for the Ketts in his first proper starting appearance since high school. He hammered four strikeouts in as many innings, allowing no hits. He locked down any potential threats with a 93-95 mph fastball. In his first outing for the Ketts, he threw 61 pitches — 7 more than his longest outing during his collegiate season. “I was throwing my off-speed at advantageous locations when I needed to,” Boucher said about his performance on the mound. “I could have been a little better with my fastball, but all in all, it’s a good start. But lots to work on.”
After three and two-thirds innings, Boucher retired the mound to Ethan Chenault (UNC-Wilmington), who allowed two hits and struck out one batter in 2.1 innings pitched. Joe Williams (Pomona-Pitzer) replaced Chenault, and three straight strikeouts for the submarine Sagehen closed out the bottom of the seventh. Will Jacobsen (Harvard) finished out the last one and two-thirds innings, allowing a triple but no earned runs.
This victory marks the best start to the Kettleers season since 2017. They now lead the Cape League in wins. Although they don’t have the highest batting average among their Cape League peers, they do hold the highest OBP, .354, a sign of the Ketts’ patience and eye at the plate. They have outscored their competitors 22-4 over the past four games. Still, Roberts is keeping these wins in perspective, remembering the next 40 games of the season. “Baseball humbles you really quickly,” he said. “But 4-0 is better than 0-4.”
The Ketts have four games in the next three days. They play at home on Friday, June 17 at 5:00 versus Chatham.
Reporter’s Notebook: Takeaways from the game
By Joe Pratt | Baylor University
- Player of the Game:
Brooks Baldwin (UNC Wilmington) went 2-for-4 with two singles, an RBI, and three stolen bags. Baldwin served all nine innings from third base, cleanly fielding the ball each time it came his way.
- Carter Trice (NC State) made a crushing a 2-run homer to deep left-center in his second at-bat of the contest. Trice was one of three Ketts who made their first appearance of the summer. C.J. Kayfus (Miami) recently arrived on the Cape after his sophomore season with the Hurricanes. Kayfus batted lead-off but failed to reach base. Zach Cole batted third and reached base in four of his five attempts Thursday night. The left fielder had singles in each of his first two at-bats and scored on Carter Trice’s home run in the fourth. Cole then scavenged a couple of more bags from a walk and a dropped-third strike. Zach Cole was in left for game four and gunned down one of the Braves’ only potential runs from the outfield grass.
- Adam Boucher (Duke) started and pitched three and two-thirds no-hit innings but was taken out early as he was limited to a certain amount of pitches for the night. The bullpen was stellar again. Relief arms Ethan Chenault (UNC Wilmington), Joe Williams (Pomona-Pitzer), and Will Jacobsen (Harvard) backed up Boucher with five and a third combined shutout frames. As a whole, the pitching staff struck out eight and allowed just three hits.