By Clara Richards | Washington University in St. Louis
Cotuit, MA — On the first pitch of the game against Harwich, the sound of the wood crack set the tone for the next seven innings of baseball. The leadoff Harwich batter hit a long ball to right field for a base hit. The Kettleers let up three runs in the first inning and trailed for the rest of the game, extending the team’s skid to three consecutive losses.
Ty Johnson (Ball State) started on the mound, and he let the leadoff hitters in both the first and second land hits. He let up a home run in the second to bring the score to 4-0, and three runs scored in the top of the third concluded Johnson’s outing with a 7-0 deficit.
The Kettleers offense responded with three runs in the bottom of the third. Their first RBI was a long-hit homer to left field from Tyler Johnson (Coastal Carolina) that brought in the first three runs from the Ketts. Trotter Harlan (College of Charleston) and Brooks Baldwin (UNC-Wilmington) scored after getting on base from two walks. Johnson has now recorded six home runs.
Adam Boucher (Duke) filled the fourth inning, hitting a batter in a bases-loaded situation to bring a runner in. Once again, the infield struggled to cement the final out, and two more runs scored from a single to center field.
Ultimately, the Ketts scored three more runs in the fourth and fifth innings but were never able to catch up to the early lead from the Mariners. Harlan brought another runner in with a single, and Caleb Lomavita (California) scored after an error from the catcher.
Carson Swilling (Auburn) pitched the last three innings before darkness overtook the field. He allowed one earned run with a 50-30 pitch-to-strike ratio.
Calvin Harris (Ole Miss) led the team offensively, going three for four. He said that he felt good at the plate, just aiming to attack the fastball. He played at right field in the matchup, showcasing his arm strength. For a team who has gone 3-5-2 in their last ten games, both Harris and Johnson have shown consistency at the plate, especially with runners in scoring position.
With players coming in and out, this team is attempting to transition into a new phase of their season. The recent losses have been a reminder of that, with 22 players released since the season began. “I would take away that we can get better,” said coach Mike Roberts. “You have to look at it that way. We’ll get better, and right now we’re giving up a lot of runs, but we’re still coming back, and I think that’s the biggest positive I can take away from it.”
The Ketts (14-7-4) hit the road on Sunday to play against Bourne (10-9-6) ahead of an off-day on Monday.
By Joe Pratt | Baylor University
The skid continues: Cotuit has not won a baseball game since July 2 against Hyannis. Moving forward, the Ketts lost to Falmouth 5-0 and 10-7, tied Brewster 1-1, lost to Bourne 12-7, fell against Wareham 7-2 and dropped another ballgame 11-6 against Harwich. The three straight losses is the longest losing streak for Cotuit this season and since starting their first 10 games at an impressive 9-0-1, in their last 10, the Ketts are 3-5-2.
- The new guys stepped up to the plate Saturday as Trotter Harlan (College of Charleston) and Calvin Harris (Ole Miss) spent ample time on the base paths. Harlan walked twice and had an RBI single in the fourth. Harris recorded 3 singles and scored a run in the fifth. Calvin Harris, who was the primary catcher for national championship-winning Ole Miss this year, started at right for Cotuit. Harris is nothing new to highly competitive baseball coming off of a College World Series run. “The competition is pretty similar,” Harris said, “It’s really good competition here, the atmosphere and environment is a little different but I think it’s really cool here.”
- Tyler Johnson (Coastal Carolina) ultimately did the most damage for the Ketts tonight as he went 2-for-3 with a single, a 3-run homer and a walk. The opposite-field blast came in the third to put a dent in Harwich’s 7-0 lead at the time.
- Brooks Baldwin (UNC Wilmington) played in his final game for the Kettleers. Baldwin hit .237 in 18 games last summer but returned to Cotuit and hit at a league-leading .361 clip in 24 games. Now Brooks will prepare for the ‘22 MLB draft in just a few weeks. “I really believe that he’ll play in the big leagues within two years, I think he’s that polished,” Roberts said. “The most important thing about Brooks is I think he is one of the top five to ten most humble players I have ever been around and to be as polished as he is on the field and to be that humble — well, I just say thanks to his parents, his family in Whiteville North Carolina.”
Baldwin had similarly heartfelt praise for his Roberts. “Take everything he says,” he said about his takeaways from the season. “You got to decipher some of it, but most of it, you got to take it to heart. And know that he’s been doing it for a long time, you got to trust what he’s saying. And I did that last year, I took what he said, and it helped me out tremendously this year. And I will become a better person, a better baseball player from it.”
Baldwin, who returned for his second year in Cotuit, said that the small village reminds him of home. “Everybody’s nice to everybody,” he said. “You never know somebody’s gonna buy your lunch. If your car’s broken down, you never know who’s gonna stop and help.”
- State Representative for the 2nd Barnstable District, Kip Diggs, was in attendance and made two proclamations from the State House that she spoke to the crowd before the game on Saturday. Diggs also threw out the ceremonial first pitch and was not always a state representative. He is a retired welterweight boxing champion and had a record of 30 wins in 35 bouts with 3 knockouts.