By Clara Richards | Washington University in St. Louis
Cotuit, MA — On Sunday afternoon, a pitcher’s battle descended onto Lowell Park. For the first six innings of the double header against Brewster, the scores stayed frozen at zeros despite hits and runners left stranded. Both teams were leading their respective divisions, and both ball clubs made it clear at the outset that they would fight for every pitch. With two outs in the seventh, a tie felt imminent. Yet as the ball left the pitcher’s hand with one runner on base, it flew wide of the plate and missed the catcher’s glove. Seizing the opportunity, Carter Trice (NC State) sprinted to home plate, the team scrambling out of the dugout to celebrate the walk-off run. For seven innings, the game had been a pitching battle, so felt like a fitting conclusion fitting that the game-winning run was a wild pitch that bounced off of the fence and allowed Trice to cross home plate.
Harrison Cohen (George Washington) pitched the first four innings of the matchup, relying on ground outs and striking out 3 batters. He also showcased a sneaky pickoff move in the second for a third out. Cohen was relieved by Jackson Kelley (Mercer) in the same pitching combination of the victorious Falmouth matchup. Kelley, who was named the player of the game, struck out the first six batters with a deadly combination of his submarine pitches and his ¾ arm slot to conclude the first outing.
This game also demonstrated the Ketts’ stellar infield and outfield, with Brooks Baldwin in right field making several diving plays. “For me on the mound, I’m trying to execute my pitch as best as I can,” said Cohen. “I have faith that everyone behind me will be able to make the plays. And I think that’s the sign of a really good team.”
After their first 1-0 victory, the Kettleers huddled in the dugout as the rain started to trickle in. Yet despite starting the second game with a similarly competitive first two innings, Trice hit a leadoff single to start a productive third inning for Ketts. A sacrifice fly and a HBP loaded the bases, and a single from Zachary Cole (Ball State) brought Trice home to score the first run of the game. Two pitches later, Caleb Lomavita (California) scored off of a wild pitch, and a single from CJ Kayfus (Miami) brought a third runner home. The offensive productivity continued in the later innings as well, as darkness slowly descended onto Lowell Park. Trice advanced to first base on a walk, and single from Lomavita along with a sacrifice fly from Brooks Baldwin brought him back to home plate. Lomavita brought home the final run of the night after advancing to second base on a wild pitch and scoring off of a single from Cole. The Ketts concluded the game with a comfortable 5-0 victory, outscoring the Whitecaps 6-0 over the course of fourteen innings.
Trice had a standout day offensively, with one hit in two at-bats and bringing two runs across the plate. As the designated hitter and nine-hole, he has batted .333, and in only 15 at-bats, he’s scored 5 runs. The batting order, with Trice hitting before Brooks Baldwin (UNC-Wilmington), has showed Roberts’ ingenious planning; Trice has been able to get on base, and Baldwin has shown precision and accuracy when it comes to laying down sacrifice bunts or flies to bring advance runners.
In the second game, a combination of arms took the mound. Tyler Bosma (Kentucky) started his second outing, and after facing twelve batters, he retired the mound to William Privette (College of Charleston). Privette threw 40 pitches and 28 strikes, and the closer has become a reliable and effective arm out of the bullpen for Roberts in competitive situations. Finally, closer TJ Brock (Ohio State) pitched the final inning, striking out three out of four batters faced and firing 96 mph fastballs that were untouchable.
The Kettleers’ defense has been an unsolvable puzzle so far for Cape League opponents, and these two wins represent the team’s fifth shutout in seven games. Their twelve pitchers have thrown a combined ERA of 0.46, allowing three earned runs total, and they’ve hit or walked .86 batters per inning pitched. In the past, Roberts said that in any game that has two walks or less and no errors, he feels like he has a good chance of winning. This season, the Ketts have done that and more.
The Kettleers have won their seven games in many different manners. They’ve pushed for a 13 hit, 8 run blowout win, fought hard for a 6-4 victory in their home opener. Today’s two victories highlighted the team’s ability to play small ball and hold their own against the team with the top record in the East league.
“That’s a very good club, I’m telling you that now,” Roberts said. “It was a very good club, with defensive and offensive guys, and their pitching was very good. They had a couple guys that were throwing gas out there, so it was certainly enjoyable to play.”
While the victories are a feather in this team’s cap, Roberts is never concentrating on the score. “We focus on each individual pitch, and that’s something in my philosophy that we discuss often. We talk about, “Look, guys, we’re here to play baseball. I want you there every pitch, and if you’re not there every pitch, you need to go home.”… and win or lose, it’s a really really good group of guys.”
After a day off on Monday, the Kettleers are back on the road against the Wareham Gateman at 6 p.m. ET on Tuesday. The Gatemen are 3-2 on the season.
Reporter’s Notebook: Takeaways from the game
by Joe Pratt | Baylor University
- Players of the game: Jackson Kelley (Mercer), Brooks Baldwin (UNC Wilmington)
- Carter Trice (NC State) was the winning run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. Trice led off the inning with a single through the left side. He then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Brooks Baldwin (UNC Wilmington), and then to third on a groundout back to the pitcher. That brought up Kyle Karros (UCLA) with two gone, and the third baseman let a wild pitch from Brewster’s Ryan Chasse (Campbell) to bounce against the fence, bringing home Trice as the game-winning run for a final score of 1-0.
- Jackson Kelley (Mercer) was credited with the win after three frames, starting off his appearance with six straight Ks and finished up the contest after giving up just one hit.
- Brooks Baldwin had two successful bunts Sunday afternoon, one for an infield single in the fifth and then again as a sacrifice to advance the winning run to scoring position. Baldwin also impressed in the outfield with a diving snag on a line-drive back in the second. In the top of the seventh, Baldwin gunned down Brewster’s potential go-ahead run at second for the first out of the inning.
- Players of the game: C.J. Kayfus (Miami), William Privette (College of Charleston)
- C.J. Kayfus (Miami) went 3-for-3 with three singles as just one of the knocks made it to the outfield grass. The other two were spiked onto the infield grass and Kayfus beat out the throws from the Brewster middle-infielders. Playing at first for Cotuit, Kayfus has accumulated a batting average of .385. After being in Miami, Kayfus is anything but new to rainy conditions. “In our regionals at University of Miami there was rain on and off so [I was] prepared for it,” Kayfus said.
- Tyler Bosma has settled into his spot as the third starter in the rotation as he followed Harrison Cohen in game two of the doubleheader. Bosma retired nine out of the twelve batters he faced, giving up two hits and no runs with five strikeouts.
- Relief arm Will Privette (College of Charleston) tossed three frames after Bosma and struck out four while giving up one hit. Privette now has nine Ks in six innings of work this season.
- Caleb Lomavita (Cal Berkeley) reached base in all three of his at-bats with a pair of singles and a hit-by-pitch. Lomavita also scored on a wild pitch and on a Zach Cole double. The Hawaii native received pitches behind the plate and finished up the day 2-for-2.
- Brooks Baldwin had his second effective sac bunt of the day to put both runners in scoring position. Baldwin also made another diving catch out in right to prevent Brewster’s third base hit of the game.
- Cotuit has now outscored opponents 34-6 and currently have the lowest ERA of any other team on the Cape. Even the next best team in the CCBL, the Brewster White Caps, could not scramble together any sort of offense as they fell 6-0 on the day to the Ketts.