By: Matt McHugh
August 1, 2017
COTUIT — The Kettleers are gearing up for the postseason, and their newest player is here to bring some recent postseason experience — as recent as two days ago.
Right-handed sidearmer Stephen Schoch (UMBC) was the closer for the Bethesda Big Train of the Cal Ripken Collegiate summer league, and on Sunday he was on the mound for the final out as the Big Train won the league title. Just two days later, he was on the mound for the Cotuit Kettleers, and pitched three innings in the Kettleers 8-6 win over Bourne.
“I was very excited…I’ve wanted to play on Cape Cod since I was little,” Schoch said. “I’m just happy the Kettleers took a chance and let me come up.”
Schoch came in with a runner on first and nobody out in the sixth inning, and on the first pitch he induced a 1-6-3 double play, and went on to retire the next six batters he faced. He finished with one run allowed on two hits over three innings while picking up two strikeouts.
With the Big Train, Schoch was close to unhittable — he threw 30.1 scoreless innings and struck out 40 batters while walking just one. The Cal Ripken League is one of the higher-level collegiate summer leagues, with 41 alumni selected in the 2017 MLB draft.
“We had a really good team,” Schoch said. “Knowing you can trust your defense and make your pitches. If a hitter makes a good swing, you know your defense will pick you up. That confidence is the most important part.”
Schoch spent his freshman season at Appalachian State, where he had a 4.46 ERA in 34.1 innings. He transferred to UMBC after his freshman year, and per NCAA rules he sat out the entire 2017 season.
“Just getting back on the field is the most refreshing feeling,” Schoch said. “When I was sitting out I just got so angry seeing all my buddies out there on the field. I was just there back against the wall knowing I can’t do anything. That just motivated me to keep working hard to do my best when I can be out there.”
Not only is Schoch back on the field, but he is also in the perfect spot for his unique skill-set. Kettleers coach Mike Roberts is a well-known aficionado of submariners, and even had one earlier this summer (David Inman — Coastal Carolina).
“Well there’s no doubt I love submariners,” Roberts said. “I have for 35 years. I would have flown down and driven him back myself just to have a submariner on the team. He did a fantastic job. Really appreciate all the pitchers today.”
“I told him I didn’t throw too hard but instead kind of funky and [Roberts] ate it up, so I was very happy to hear that,” Schoch added. “At least someone still likes it.”
Schoch’s addition to the roster brings Cotuit’s total back up to the maximum 30 spots. The Kettleers have added three pitchers in the past week: Schoch, Josh Andrews (Grand Canyon) and Mark Moclair (Tampa).
“This is the most arms at the end of the season we have ever had,” Roberts said. “Will it make a difference in the playoffs? I hope it does.”
The Kettleers will host the Y-D Red Sox for their final regular season home game on Wednesday at 4:30 pm.
- Schoch became the 25th pitcher to appear in a game for the Kettleers this season. The Kettleers have used 45 different players over the course of the season.
- Michael Toglia’s (UCLA) grand slam was the first grand slam for the Kettleers this year. All five of Toglia’s home runs have come batting left-handed. The switch hitter entered Tuesday’s game hitting .247 with a .468 slugging percentage from the left side this season.
- Tuesday’s start was Jason Bilous’s (Coastal Carolina) fifth start against the Bourne Braves this season. No Kettleers pitcher has had more starts against one team than Bilous has against the Braves. He owns a 6.41 ERA against the Braves this season.
- Third baseman Zack Kone (Duke) went 2-4 with 2 RBIs on Tuesday, and he finished the regular season with a .444 batting average in 18 at bats against the Braves.