By Will Kraus, Bates College
Photos by Josh Muir, Endicott College
June 28, 2019
The Orleans Firebirds (7-4-2) defeated the Kettleers (6-6-2) 10-6 on Friday night at Eldredge Park.
It was a tough night for the Kettleers on both sides of the ball in regards to runners in scoring position.
Orleans had an incredible 23 at bats with runners in scoring position. That stat alone tells you it was a long night for Cotuit.
What’s more, Orleans had ten hits with RISP giving them a .435 batting average that helped the Firebirds get ten runners home.
Meanwhile on the offensive side of the spectrum Cotuit went just 3 for 12, a .250 average with runners on second or third.
That combination of Orleans taking advantage of scoring opportunities while Cotuit struggled was a major reason the Kettleers fell back to a .500 winning percentage for the third time this season.
The Extra Base Hit Benchmark
Over the Kettleers’ first fourteen games it’s quite apparent that Cotuit’s wins tend to depend on extra base hits.
In games where the Kettleers don’t reach the three extra base hit threshold Cotuit now has a record of 1-6-1. At Eldredge Park the Kettleers accumulated two extra base hits courtesy of Nick Gonzales (New Mexico State)
Nick Gonzales is Dominating
Nick Gonzales has played in each of Cotuit’s fourteen games to this point, mainly batting lead off or second in the order. Nick Gonzales has reached base in each of Cotuit’s fourteen games to this point.
While areas of play have ebbed and flowed Gonzales has remained a key constant at the top of the order, practically ensuring the Kettleers with a baserunner multiple times every game.
Gonzales has a .500 on base percentage that ranks first in the entire Cape League for batters with a minimum of 2.7 plate appearances per game. Within the same parameters Gonzales has a .341 batting average that is tied for third best on the Cape.
Gonzales added to his impressive stats at Orleans coming just a home run shy of a cycle in a 4-5 performance in which he tacked on two runs batted in to put his RBI total in double digits for the season at ten. Gonzales has some power too, with two long balls so far for Cotuit in 2019.
The second baseman, who lead the nation in Division I batting average(.432), is heating up along with the summer as he is 10 for his last 19. That is great news for Cotuit and bad news for the pitchers who have to throw to him as Gonzales has shown he can consistently rake at New Mexico State.
Cotuit’s next two games this weekend come against the Western Division leading Wareham Gatemen(8-5-1).
The first game is Saturday at Lowell Park with a first pitch set for 5 PM. The teams are scheduled to play for the first time this year at Spillane Field in Wareham on Sunday at 6:30 PM.
A sweep will be a tough task against Wareham, but Cotuit has a chance to be a point ahead of the Gatemen for first place if they get it done.