Clara Richards | Washington University in St. Louis
Yarmouth, MA — Five days ago, the Kettleers played Yarmouth Dennis for a 5-3 loss. In the first inning of the matchup, leadoff hitter Chandler Simpson (Georgia Tech) smashed a rope single. In the team’s second matchup against the YD-Red Sox tonight, there was a strange sense of déjà vu as Simpson stepped up to the plate. Once again, he expertly tapped the ball to a hole in the defense, and he beat the throw to first base with a quick dash across the diamond. In both games, he hit a leadoff single, a demonstration of his speed and bat control.
Yet the resemblence between the two matchups ended there, as the Ketts soared to a 4-1 victory against the team that handed them their second loss of the season just five days prior.
Simpson came around to score the first run of the ballgame, but YD immediately responded. With two outs, they hit a shallow home run over the centerfield wall for starter Christian Little (LSU)’s only earned run in three innings pitched. He gave up only two hits and notched 3 Ks. It was an improved outing from Little’s first appearance on the mound, where his first inning out of the bullpen earned 4 hits and two earned runs.
The Ketts’ offense continued in the third inning, where nine hole Caleb Lomavita (California) hit a single to lead off the inning. After reaching on a walk, Lomavita and Simpson both scored, capitalizing off of a single from Josh Pearson (LSU) and a ground out from Zach Cole (Ball State). Their efforts cemented a 3-1 lead that would only grow.
The Kettleers bought themselves a final insurance run in the ninth to record a three run victory. Simpson hit a single and was batted in by a double from Tyler Johnson (Coastal Carolina). Over the first sixteen games of the season, Simpson has been in a sparkplug for the Ketts offense and gotten on base in three of the last four leadoff appearances, a proven contact hitter. He hit three singles and scored three runs last night alone, and he leads the Cape with a .475 batting average, the only batter in the 400s.
Kyle Karros (UCLA) also had a standout day at the plate. Karros grounded out for his first at-bat, but Roberts pulled him aside and told him to just execute his best swing however many times that he could. He proceded to hit two singles and walked in his next three at-bats.
“Sometimes I go down with a swing that’s not my best swing,” Karros said. “I’ve been doing a lot of work pretty much every morning with Coach Robert, and I knew it was just a matter of time before I was going to start producing a bit. And I’m hoping that this is only the beginning.”
The combination of relievers on the mound staved off any additional runs in an effective and dominant display of pitching. Kenya Huggins (Chipola Junior College) pitched the majority of the relief outing, marking 4 strikeouts in 3 innings pitched. His first inning was particularly impressive; Huggins threw 10 pitches, and 8 were for strikes. He struck out the first four batters he faced with a combination of his fastball and slider.
A combination of three pitchers held the Red Sox to one run in the last three innings. Mark McLaughlin (Tennessee), Ben Johnson (Georgia Southern) and TJ Brock (Ohio State) threw a combined scoreless final nine outs.
The Ketts next face Wareham at their home field at 5:00 p.m. The team’s last matchup was a 5-3 win against the Gateman in Game 8.
By Joe Pratt | Baylor University
The Red Sox will have to wait another day to reach double-digit wins. Cotuit remains the only team to have 10+ victories and are now 12-2-2 after its 4-1 win over Yarmouth-Dennis on Thursday night. The Ketts also improve upon their road record, which now exceeds six wins — now 7-0-1.
- Brooks Baldwin (UNC Wilmington) made the start at second base and has now played in all positions around the diamond except for shortstop, catcher and pitcher. Baldwin fielded each ball hit towards him perfectly, including a double play turn. At the plate, the utility player ripped a double in his first at-bat but was picked off by the Y-D catcher at third base.
- While he didn’t record any hits during game sixteen, left fielder Zach Cole (Ball State) earned his second outfield assist of the season. With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, catcher Caleb Lomavita (Cal Berkeley) appeared to have back-picked the runner on second to end the inning. But the umpires ruled the base runner safe, and the Red Sox’ hopes of narrowing the 3-1 lead were still alive. The batter then dribbled a ball passed third baseman Kyle Karros (UCLA) to Zach Cole who fired a dart to Caleb Lomavita to retire the runner trying to score from second, ending the seventh.
- Christian Little (LSU) made his second appearance and first start in a Kettleers uniform. Other than giving up a solo blast in the first inning, Little threw marvelously for Cotuit. He put in three innings of work while allowing the one earned run in the homer along with two hits and three strikeouts. Kenya Huggins (Chipola) followed with an additional three innings. Pitching out of the bullpen, Huggins gave up no runs on just a hit and struck out the first four batters he faced. Mark McLaughlin (University of Tennessee) came in and recorded just one out and gave up a hit, but coach Roberts made the decision to move on from McLaughlin after facing just two Red Sox. Ben Johnson (Georgia Southern) relieved McLaughlin with four outs and no runs before T.J. Brock (Ohio State) was brought in to make a four-out save. Brock struck out two of the four batters he faced and slammed the door for the Ketts.
- Both Cam Collier (Chipola) and Kenya Huggins played in their final games for the Kettleers on Wednesday night. Collier had one plate appearance but failed to reach base. Huggins showed out in his last outing with three scoreless innings. “I was going out there and doing my business, I knew it was my last outing out here – I’m gonna give it my all, let’s go,” Huggins said.
- Tyler Johnson (Coastal Carolina) had two RBIs and an extra base hit. He scored Chandler Simpson (Georgia Tech) from second after both Simpson and Johnson knocked a pair of doubles. Johnson recovered after striking out in his at-bat before hitting the two-bagger. “I was just over swinging a little bit,” Johnson said, “so I just tried to calm it down and try to see the ball and hit the ball.” It was Simpson’s third run scored of the game, eleventh of the season.