By: Shane Petagna (U. Of Tampa)
Given the nickname “Cole-hei” by his teammates at the College of Charleston, two-way player Cole Mathis is starting to make a name for himself with the Cotuit Kettleers.
“At the College of Charleston it happened my freshman year. I didn't hit much, but I pitched a lot and they just started calling me ‘Cole-hei’ after [Shohei] Ohtani,” Mathis said. “Nothing's really stuck here, but that's just a school ball thing. Other guys that I play against and other teammates around the league know me by that so it's just cool when I see them around.”
As a second-year player for the Cougars, Mathis did just about everything for the team like how Ohtani is putting on another MVP-type performance for the Los Angeles Angels this season.
Mathis led the College of Charleston in numerous offensive categories like batting average, slugging percentage and walks, while also posting the lowest ERA among the Cougars' pitching staff. His performance was noticed nationally, as he was awarded All-CAA Second Team and Second-Team All-American by NCBWA.
Now in Cotuit, Mathis has already made an impact on the mound and at the plate, appearing in multiple games on both sides of the ball.
His best game of the season came on Wednesday against the Hyannis Harbor Hawks as he powered the Cotuit offense to a 6-1 win. Mathis went 2-3 with two extra-base hits and three RBIs, plus a walk.
The first hit was a towering blast to left field over the foul pole for a two-run home run which gave the Kettleers a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning.
“I've been struggling a bit lately so my goal today was just to have the least amount of two-strike counts,” said Mathis. “I was just trying to jump on something early and luckily in my first at-bat I got ahead so I was able to get a fastball up in the zone.”
Later in the sixth, Mathis hooked an off-speed offering down the left-field line for an RBI double that blew the game open for Cotuit as the Ketts would go up 5-1.
Mathis’ big night as a batter sets up what could be another huge step forward as a collegiate pitcher and hitter for Cotuit. On the mound, he’s already struck out seven batters across 4 2/3 innings pitched while walking one. His home run on Wednesday made him the fifth Kettleer to go deep this season.
“Coming to Cotuit to it was just obviously about being in the Cape Cod League was just a great experience. Everybody said it's great and it's obviously the top-tier baseball league, so that's what kind of drew me in,” said Mathis. “Plus the fact that Coach Roberts allowed me to be a two-way player was a big reason that I chose Cotuit.”