By: Shane Petagna (U. Tampa)
HARWICH, Mass. – The winless streak for the Cotuit Kettleers continued Thursday in another poor team pitching performance. A 10-2 loss to the Harwich Mariners marked the third consecutive game allowing 10 or more runs as the team endures a 0-3-1 stretch after beginning the season 22-7.
“I hope we can just get back to where we were throwing strikes and that's the biggest thing,” said Cotuit pitching coach Andrew Shreiner.
Transition with the pitching staff has been a theme since the end of the MLB Draft on the Kettleers roster as seven pitchers have made their season debuts since July 11. Brian Young (Rider) was one of those seven new arms.
The Kettleers gave Young a lead from the jump in his first outing, taking the lead on a James McCoy (Kentucky) RBI single to complete a two-out rally. Young worked around a one-out walk to toss a scoreless bottom half of the frame. However, the next time out began the troubles once again for an already struggling pitching staff.
Two singles and a walk immediately loaded the bases for Harwich. Needing outs right away, they wouldn’t come for Young a Bryan Arendt (UNC Wilmington) double to deep left field gave the Mariners a 2-1 advantage. In the next plate appearance, an Ali Camarillo (Texas A&M) single to center field plated two more.
Two innings later, Arendt and Camarillo struck again from the bottom of the order to set up runners on the corners after a walk and opposite-field single. A fielder’s choice scored a run before a throwing error ended Young’s afternoon, which ended with a line of six earned runs on five hits and five walks over 3 1/3 innings pitched.
Will Jacobsen (Harvard) entered in relief but immediately walked two batters in a row to bring in a sixth run for Harwich as the Kettleers’ struggles with control continued over their winless skid. Over the last four games, Cotuit has walked 34 with the bullpen being responsible for 24 of the free passes.
A sacrifice fly capped off the inning for the Mariners, giving them a comfortable 7-1 lead that they never looked back from. The Harwich pitching staff held the Cotuit offense in check as starter Zane Probst (Alabama) allowed an earned run over five innings pitched. Southpaw Collin Caldwell (Georgia) turned in three innings of relief and surrendered just one run despite walking four batters.
The game was over by the bottom of the eighth inning once McCoy entered to pitch trailing 8-2. In his second appearance as a pitcher for Cotuit in three games, he labored through two earned runs while managing to strike out two hitters.
“I think we're fine,” said Shreiner. “It's kind of a good time to hit this because now we can fine-tune it going into the stretch of the playoffs, and not hitting it right before playoffs.”
Despite the recent slide, Cotuit maintains first place in the West Division and has the opportunity to clinch a playoff berth with a win over the Wareham Gatemen on Friday. The Kettleers will have a full arsenal of experienced arms available as they try to enter the All-Star break on a positive note.
First pitch at Spillane Field is set for 6 p.m.