By Joe Pratt | Baylor University
This morning, Victor Scott (West Virginia) thought that he was going to be in California by the time the sun set. The outfielder woke up at 4:30 a.m. to catch a flight to the MLB combine, driving all the way to Boston-Logan airport. But when he reached the kiosk, the flight attendants told him that his flight was scheduled for the next day. Victor made the hour and twenty minute drive back to Cotuit for the home opener, and he made it worth his time; after a close six innings, he slung a long ball over the fence for the go-ahead home run, the crowd on its feet around him.
Shortly before then, the Ketts’ streak of scoreless innings halted in the top of the third during the home opener. The Braves’ first baseman Christopher Brito scored after Ketts’ Tyler Bosma (Kentucky) issued his first walk of the contest. Brito crossed the plate after an overthrown ball by Ryan Ritter (Kentucky), the first error for Cotuit this season. Tyler Bosma walked his second batter of the inning to set up what would be a two-run single for Ryan Proto. Bosma stopped the bleeding with his only strikeout in his outing, and the 6-foot-6 lefthander was replaced after four frames of work.
“We made a couple of errors which hurt us but I think what happens in a lot of baseball games is making mistakes, giving up some runs. We ask, “Okay, are you capable of fighting from behind,’ and tonight is the first night we’ve had to come from behind,” head coach Mike Roberts said. “They did a great job of coming down the stretch, so it was really good. If we eliminate the errors and the walks, it won’t be such a battle some nights.”
Cotuit was not down for long as they clawed back for three runs of their own in the bottom of the fourth. Victor Scott was hit by the pitch for the second time in the game and nabbed his third bag in just two trips around the base paths. Cam Collier (Chipola) followed with a single to put runners on first and second with one out. Then, the Ketts earned their first tally of the matchup with Kade Kern’s (Ohio State) RBI-single. A wild pitch that reached the fence behind home plate allowed Collier and Kern to scamper into scoring position. Cotuit’s slugger Peyton Williams then hit a high fly ball to right, and Collier cashed in on Williams’ sac-fly. The Ketts knotted up the score on Ryan Ritter’s clutch RBI-double.
Still, the scoring bonanza all started by Scott reaching on a HBP. “Just knowing that like the game comes full circle and having good [at-bats] and having good players it all comes around,” Victor Scott said. “That’s just a product of those two hit-by-pitches.”
Bourne broke the 3-3 tie in the seventh after an RBI-single to give the Braves a 4-3 lead. But once again, the Braves’ lead did not stand for long; Chandler Simpson (Georgia Tech) reached base four times all night and led off the seventh with an infield-single and on over to second on a throwing error by Bourne’s third baseman. After one bunt attempt that trickled just to the left of the third baseline, Brooks Baldwin (UNC-Wilmington) chopped another bunt just a few feet fair from the line and runners were on the corners with no outs. Graham Pauley (Duke) then hit a grounder and the middle infielders got the force out at second but failed to turn two. After the second out was recorded in the innings, Victor Scott dug in. West Virginia’s quick center fielder took the first pitch in the count – ball one as Pauley snagged second base on a steal. Scott looked on to Reed Mascolo and watched the ball glide out of his hands. The barrel of the bat let out a crack that Mascolo would hear all the way back to Bourne as Scott demolished the ball into deep right, a two-run blast to bring home the winning runs of the game.
“[Victor Scott] has done a great job and we’ll miss him the next five games when these guys go into the Combine, but these other guys will get out there to play,” Roberts said.
Relievers Daniel Brooks (College of Charleston), William Privette (College of Charleston) and TJ Brock (Ohio State) split up the final five innings after Tyler Bosma pitched a solid first four. Bosma gave up three unearned runs and four hits. Brooks took out six Braves in order with one strikeout, and he was followed by his teammate Privette, who allowed a run on two hits. Brock collected his first save of the young season, retiring the three Bourne batters he faced, striking out two of them.
Seven bases were stolen successfully by Ketts players Tuesday night, three of which were taken by Victor Scott. Chandler Simpson stole two bags and Pauley and Ritter took the other two bases. But one key small-ball move by coach Mike Roberts in the fourth inning caught the eyes of only a handful of keen baseball spectators. Be sure to read the Reporters’ Notebook for the full details on this interesting moment in the game.
The Kettleers have their first day off of the ‘22 season but are back on the diamond Thursday, once again facing the Bourne Braves. The time for the matchup is 6 p.m. ET, and Adam Boucher (Duke) will likely be Cotuit’s starter for game four. Notable Ketts such as Scott, Simpson, Ritter, Peyton Williams (Iowa), and Kenya Huggins (Chipola) will miss the next five games as they will be at the MLB Combine in San Diego, Calif.
Reporter’s Notebook: Three takeaways from the game
By Clara Richards | Washington University in St. Louis
- Chandler Simpson moved from the nine-hole to leadoff hitter, a sign that Roberts was impressed by his hitting against Falmouth. Tonight, his performance lived up to expectations again, with a leadoff single and scoring two hits in three at-bats. Coming into his wood-bat summer in Cotuit, the question for Scott was never if he could make contact in the first place. The rising junior hit .434 against ACC competition, and last summer at Fond du Lac, he showed his potential in the wood-bat leagues of Wisconsin. In his time with the Ketts, he also has shown to be solid defensively though. He recorded a .939 fielding percentage in his collegiate season, and in two games at second base, he has been a rock-solid second baseman.
- Victor Scott took his time running the bases after hitting a beautifully popped ball that sailed through a cloudless sky. He paused before stomping on third, and he glanced at the sky and then around him at the crowd as he secured the game-leading runs for the village team. The crowd on the sidelines rose to their feet, bells clanged, and even the children playing tractors under the bleachers stopped to watch. It was a beautifully placed ball in a game that felt like it was a village outing for the town of Cotuit. The hot dog line wrapped all the way along the back side of the bleachers, the Coop selling burgers as fast as they could make them. The local little league ran around in miniature Ketts jerseys, Lowell Park simultaneously a playground and a proving ground for future potential big leaguers. Through the first seven innings, the game felt electric; the crowd showed out for the new team of Kettleers, and in turn, the new team of Kettleers showed their stuff for the crowd.
“It’s always such a great venue to play at and have our home fans and in the ninth inning I hear them up there, like in college, ‘C-O-T-U-I-T’. And where else do you get that in summer baseball — except maybe the Savannah Bananas,” Roberts said. “Here really is a fun place to play, and I think our guys already understand that and enjoy being here.
- In the fourth inning, head coach Mike Roberts pulled aside the batter at the plate, Brooks Baldwin, to make a move that was only visible if you were paying close attention to the details. It was a move that appealed to the baseball devotees of the crowd, the ones who were following every pitch and every baserunner. As the Braves were warming up a new pitcher, Roberts told Brooks, a switch hitter, that he wanted the outfielder to take the pitch right-handed. Brooks paused, confused. He didn’t think he could switch in the middle of an at-bat — even while he was unstrapping his elbow guard, he wasn’t sure of the legality of the change. But Roberts has been around the ballpark for a long time, and after a quick conversation with the umpires, Brooks went up to the plate righty on righty. “I think I was as far away from the plate as I could be, and I was scared,” he said. “I had never been righty on righty before.” The pitcher threw a breaking ball, and it was blown away from the plate for a ball. Both runners on base executed an impeccably timed double steal in a magnificent coaching effort. It was proof of the speed of the baserunners and Roberts’ focus on small ball combined with his in-and-out knowledge of the rules, utilizing every one of his players’ tools to his advantage.