By Clara Richards | Washington University in St. Louis
Through the first seven innings of the Ketts’ matchup, Cotuit kept the Orleans offense completely locked down.
Ben Johnson (Georgia Southern) started on the bump with the plan to throw around four innings and then retire the mound. He dominated the first frame — two strikeouts and a popup to left field — and then continued in the second with two more Ks and a 6-3 groundout. He allowed his first hit in the third inning but didn’t flinch, throwing his off-speed for consistent strikes throughout his 5 2/3 innings pitched. “I probably should have left him in for nine innings,” head coach Mike Roberts joked in his postgame interview with sideline reporter Jenna Meyer.
Despite not having pitched more than three innings, he nearly doubled that number in his start, and he was also brutally effective, throwing 64 pitches with 50 of them for strikes. “I was going mostly splitters to lefties, because they move straight down or maybe a bit away, and mostly slider to righties,” Johnson said about his pitch selection. “I wanted to mix it up to where I wasn’t getting cookie cutter with my selection, so they wouldn’t know what to expect at any point.”
While the Ketts offense landed three hits to Orleans’ ten, they weren’t able to scratch any runs across in the early innings, with a total of seven runners left stranded. Eddie Park (Stanford) had a dominant night at the plate, going three for four with one extra-base hit. Before tonight, he hadn’t landed more than one hit in his previous ten games with Cotuit.
“Coming to the Cape, my identity is as a singles guy. I found a way to get on base and keep the line moving,” Park said. “But once I got here, I wanted to take my game to the next level— start being able to drive balls in the gaps and over the fences. And that’s something I worked on with Coach Roberts during practice, and I try to translate that into game.”
In the eighth inning, after reliever Max Gieg (Boston College) subbed in for Cam Schuelke (UCF), the previously scoreless game fell apart for the Ketts. A third hit in the inning brought the first run in for the Firebirds. Although Max Meier (Stanford) was able to cement the last out with bases loaded in the eighth, the damage continued in the ninth. Five more runs crossed to bring the final score to a 6-0 loss, Meier allowing 5 earned runs in 1.1 innings.
Even after the matchup, Cotuit still clings to the title of the West Division by one point over the Hyannis Harbor Hawks, but Yarmouth-Dennis now leads the entire Cape League by one point. The Ketts return to Brewster on Thursday. Brewster has a 2-3-5 record in the last ten days, with both teams looking for a win after losses tonight.
Reporter’s Notebook: Takeaways from the game
By Joe Pratt | Baylor University
The Kettleers are 1-7-2 in their last 10 games. In that span, Cotuit has scored 37 runs to its opponents’ 69, giving up an average of nearly 7 runs per game and scoring just under 4 per game.
- Before giving up 6 runs in the eighth and ninth, Ben Johnson (Georgia Southern) shoved for almost 6 frames. The right hander gave up just one hit in 5.2 IP with 1 BB and 7 Ks. Cam Schuelke (Florida Gulf Coast), Max Gieg (Boston College) and Max Meier (Stanford) all saw time in relief. Schuelke faced four batters, he too gave up one hit. Gieg and Meier combined for two innings of work. Gieg gave up a run on two hits and Meier 5 runs on 5 hits.
- Offensively, Cotuit recorded 3 hits and no runs. All three of the hits came from center fielder Eddie Park (Stanford) as he went 3-for-4 with singles in the fourth and ninth, along with a double in the seventh. ”Something that I kind of struggled with early on in the Cape season, I was working on a bunch of different little mechanical things where I kind of didn’t focus on the main point of hitting which is hitting — beating the pitcher,” Park said. “Today, I really, mechanics aside, it was just me versus the pitcher, and I think that’s what I did well today.
The Ketts will play in Brewster tomorrow at 5 p.m.