Clara Richards | Washington University in St. Louis
Orleans, MA — After two days of frustrating offensive performance, the Ketts wasted no time putting up runs against Orleans. The first two Ketts batters both rounded the diamond, the first runners to score in the early inning all season. Brooks Baldwin (UNC-Wilmington) batted in leadoff man Chandler Simpson (Georgia Tech), and a high chopper from CJ Kayfus (Miami) brought a second runner home for an early 2-0 lead. In two out of three of their last outings, the club waited until the fourth to notch their first hit. Today, there was no waiting around to see the runners sprint around the basepaths.
The Firebirds immediately retaliated, hitting a two-run bomb over the center-field fence. “I thought I won the counts I needed to, I just left one pitch too far over the plate,” said pitcher Harrison Cohen (George Washington), who gave up his first runs after 9.2 scoreless innings pitched. “He made me pay for it. But that’s the humbling thing about this league.”
Leadoff hitter in the third inning Tyler Johnson (Coastal Carolina) aimed a shot to right field that sailed over the fence, putting the Ketts in a 3-2 lead that they never relinquished. They added four more runs over the next three innings, taking advantage of seven walks given up by the Orleans pitching staff for a 7-3 win. Baldwin had a productive day at the plate, going 3 for 3, and he now leads the Cape League in RBI and hits.
A combined pitching effort from Cohen and Jackson Kelley (Mercer) limited most of the potential threats. Cohen struck out three batters in 2.1 innings pitcher. Kelley replaced him on the bump and did an effective job, throwing 82 pitches and striking out 6. He allowed one run in the fourth but hammered a strikeout with the bases loaded to shut down the potential damage. Despite the pitchers limiting runs scored, the basepaths saw heavy traffic; the Firebirds managed seven hits and left eleven runners stranded.
“I thought we went out there and competed today against a very good Orleans club,” Roberts said.”Our pitching all day long was very very positive, and throwing strikes.”
In a face-paced second game, the Ketts had runners in scoring position but ultimately weren’t able to drive runs in. Despite loading the bases in the fourth with one out, the Ketts closed out the inning scoreless. Again, in the fifth, the Ketts put two runners on with no outs. Simpson popped a ball up in the infield and the Firebirds managed a triple play, throwing out the runners at first and second. It was an impressive execution from Orleans, and it shut down one of the hottest hitters in the Ketts lineup.
Ty Johnson (Ball State) started on the mound for the Ketts in Game 2. He hurled 4.0 innings for the Ketts, recording only one hit and keeping the game even. Throughout his outing, he consistently located his fastball and slider, working ahead in counts and preventing runners from getting in scoring positions.“It felt good to put up zeros,” Johnson said. “It felt nice to be extended a bit more and get some more playing time under my belt.”
William Privette (College of Charleston) and TJ Brock (Ohio State) closed out the last two innings, concluding the seven-inning showdown at 0-0. The Ketts are now 10-2-2 on the season and they lead the West Division by seven points.
After a mandatory off-day on Monday, the Ketts will face Orleans again at Lowell Park on Tuesday for their third matchup in as many days.
Reporter’s Notebook: Takeaways from the game
By Joe Pratt | Baylor University
- Cotuit is the first team in the CCBL to reach 10 wins. The Ketts are now 10-2-2 with a 6-0-1 road record on the season.
- Just two players have hit a home run over Eldredge Park’s 434-foot centerfield fence — Kyle Schwarber and Frank Thomas. Tyler Johnson (Coastal Carolina) joined the two MLB sluggers in the category of notching a homer at Eldredge Park, but Johnson’s ball was directed more toward the right-center field wall — nowhere near the landing spots of Schwarber and Thomas.’ Nonetheless, the first baseman barreled a homer in game one of the doubleheader, accompanying Ryan Ritter (Kentucky) as the only other Kett to smash two home runs this season. Johnson broke the 2-2 tie with a lead-off blast to kick off the top of the third inning. His first homer came against Chatham on June 23, a pinch-hit solo shot to left-center at Lowell Park. Sunday’s bomb sprayed to the other side of the park out to Orleans’ bullpen.
- Jackson Kelley (Mercer) headed up the final 4.2 innings and gave up just a run. Kelley entered the game having tossed seventeen strikeouts on the season and held a WHIP of 0.43. Throwing from nearly every arm slot possible, Kelley let up four hits, bringing him to eight allowed all season. Kelley closed out game one giving up just a run and striking out six opponents. “When you have Kelly backing me up, coming in … he does what he does, and he fills up the zone. So it’s nice to have your boys backing you whenever something goes wrong or [you] have a bad day or something like that. But we got the win so that’s all that matters,” Harrison Cohen said.
Coach Roberts’ roster features several different guys who can fit into various positions in the field. But perhaps no other player has versatility matching that of Brooks Baldwin (UNC Wilmington). Baldwin started game one in center field and was switched over to left field halfway through the 7-inning game. That small shift allowed Baldwin to spend time in each of the outfield positions. He also served from third and first base in fourteen games. During the doubleheader, Brooks only saw time in game one and went 3-for-4 with three singles, an RBI, a run scored, a walk and a stolen base.“I kind of take [versatility] to my advantage and it keeps me in the lineup a little bit more knowing that somebody needs a break that day then I can fill in for him at basically any spot on the field. I might even get behind the plate a little bit,” Baldwin said.
- One major factor to the pitching staff’s success Sunday was its ability to force ground balls. Throughout the 14-inning affair, Kettleers arms created ten groundouts in game one and six groundouts in game two. Sixteen of the forty-two outs came by way of the ground ball, the other outs resulted from sixteen total Ks and eight fly outs. Two outs on Sunday came from a pickoff and an impressive throw from Baldwin to second base.
- In the top of the fifth inning in game two, the Ketts threatened to break the 0-0 tie by putting runners on first and second with no outs. Cam Collier (Chipola) and Justin Miknis (Kent State) set the stage for Chandler Simpson (Georgia Tech). Coach Roberts gave Chandler the green light to bunt with both runners going on the pitch. Simpson took a chop at a low fastball that popped up just to the right of the pitcher’s mound and Orleans’ first baseman came charging in. He made the catch and threw the ball the second from his knees, the shortstop received the ball perfectly and fired it to first to retire all three Cotuit players, resulting in an inning-ending triple-play. Cotuit saw no offense after that deflecting turn of events and cruised their way to a second tie of the summer.