By Clara Richards | Washington University in St. Louis
The Kettleers were handed the first season loss, a 4-2 defeat against Harwich on their Cotuit home turf. A combination of defensive errors and a hard-hitting Harwich team put pressure on the Ketts’ offense which they couldn’t respond to. The bats kept swinging but never made contact, sending the Mariners home with an underdog win against the top team in the league.
The Ketts fell behind early in the second inning, giving up one run off of three hits. Yet, for the second consecutive game, the offense responded quickly, with their first hit in the fourth inning to get on the board. Leadoff hitter Chandler Simpson (GA Tech) hit a single to left field, and he advanced off of a sacrifice bunt from Victor Scott (West Virginia University). Simpson sprinted across home plate when Brooks Baldwin (UNC-Wilmington) hit a double that seemed to drift through the shortstop’s glove and into left field, evening the score 1-1.
Kade Morris (Nevada) aided the initial offensive shutdown, hurling a fastball that reached 95, and he combined that with a brutally effective slider to strike out four batters and allow four hits. The right-hander showed impressive versatility for the Ketts throughout his appearances against a variety of different lineups. In his second matchup in Hyannis, he described his slider as a minus, mostly relying on his fastball. In his third outing, though, he knew that he was pitching to mostly right-handed batters, meaning that he would have to execute his slider for outs. “He was pitching the fastball, playing off his slider, and I think he pitched well,” pitching coach Andrew Shreiner said.
After a pitching change, the Ketts struggled to dispatch batters. New arrival Christian Little (LSU) replaced Morris at the top of the seventh and never was able to work into a rhythm. With two outs, he gave up three consecutive hits to allow a run to score, putting the Mariners in the lead for the second time. Little struggled with throwing his offspeed for a strike, which forced him to rely mostly on his fastball and his cutter. “Going forward, once he starts to get a feel back on the mound, the velo will start to come back and things will get much sharper,” Shreiner said.
He allowed one more hit at the top of the eighth before the call to the bullpen to bring up Will Jacobsen (Harvard). Yet the bats were hot for the Mariners once again, and Jacobsen’s first batter tanked a two-run home run over the fence to lengthen the lead to 4-1.
The Kettleers attempted to answer the offensive pressure. Simpson hit a single in the eighth and showed gritty baserunning, advancing to third on two wild pitches. A single from Baldwin brought him home, narrowing the Mariner’s lead, but Baldwin was caught stealing to shut down the inning. Simpson individually had an outstanding evening, and he was credited with half of the Ketts’ hits, landing three in four at-bats.
Head coach Mike Roberts pointed to the defensive issues as areas of concern. “We had three errors on the board yesterday and three errors on the board today,” he said. “Pitching and defense will always be where you go back to, to start.”
Still, he felt that the loss was a useful learning experience for the team. “Everyone can play up, but you have to learn to play down, to play when you struggle a little bit,” he said. “A really good team can win sometimes when you play ugly, and all of that will happen the whole summer.”
The Kettleers have a busy schedule ahead, with 23 innings of play over two days. The pitching staff will have to decide on who to start in competitive matchups as they manage the roster while juggling competing obligations between Team USA, the College World Series, and the MLB draft. “I think we stick with what we got, at least going into a bigger situation,” Shreiner said. “Honestly, we’re probably going to use our main guys at the beginning, but guys are going to have to step up.”
The Ketts next play the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox to conclude their homestand at 5:00 p.m. The Y-D Sox are currently 5-4-2 and are the other division leader.
By Joe Pratt | Baylor University
The Kettleers had not lost a baseball game since last summer until Friday night. Harwich not only snapped a three-game skid, the Mariners did something that hadn’t been done this season – defeat the Kettleers. The Ketts fell in game eleven 4-2 and now hold a record of 9-1-1.
- The game featured arguably the best two starting pitchers in the CCBL with Kade Morris (University of Nevada) for Cotuit and Sean Sullivan (Northwestern) for Harwich, taking to the mound on Red Shirt Friday. Sullivan walked away with the win after 6.0 innings of work, allowing one earned run on three hits. Morris was not issued the loss in game eleven and pitched 6.0 frames with one earned run on four hits.
- The bullpens for each squad ended up being the difference. Christian Little (LSU) made his first appearance in a Ketts uniform but was shaky out of the gates. Recent transfer from Vanderbilt, Little, threw for one inning and gave up two runs on four hits. Will Jacobsen (Harvard) was the third and final arm to see action Friday night. Jacobsen tossed for the remaining two frames, giving up a run on one hit. The Mariners’ ‘pen combined for one earned run and three hits in three innings of relief.
- Offensively, Coptuit struggled with the bats early on but finally received a hit from Chandler Simpson (Georgia Tech) to lead off the fourth inning. Simpson bounced back after striking out in the first and notched three singles, one being a bunt base hit. The speedy second baseman also recorded two runs scored and a stolen base.
- Brooks Baldwin (UNC Wilmington) scored both runs for Cotuit in the fourth and in the eighth. Baldwin had two RBI singles and finished the night after a solid 2-for-4 performance.
- Before the game, the Kettleers recognized the local first-responders during the Red Shirt Friday pregame ceremony. Ketts’ outfielder Josh Pearson (LSU) changed caps with Cotuit Fire Department’s chief. Pearson was a part of the pregame service for good reason as his father is the fire chief of his hometown, West Monroe, Lou.