By: James Middleton | West Chester University
Wareham, MA – The Kettleer offense scored fourteen runs against the Gatemen on Friday night. In most cases, that is what sticks out when reading a box score, but not this time, as the Cotuit pitching staff bounced back in a big way carrying a no-hitter through seven and two-thirds innings on the way to a 14-4 victory over Wareham.
"Janzen [Keisel] has been working very hard in the bullpen, and I thought Janzen tonight was very polished on the mound. It was fun to watch him throw tonight and see his work pay off," said Head Coach Mike Roberts on Cotuit's starter Janzen Keisel.
Making his sixth appearance and fourth start of the summer was Janzen Keisel (Oklahoma State) for Cotuit. The right-hander pitched five innings on the mound, allowing just one base runner via the walk. Keisel didn't allow any runs or hits and walked away with the decision moving to 2-0 on the season.
"Just the ability to command the zone and throw fastballs to both sides of the plate. Keeping them off balance by just throwing strikes with my secondary pitches was the key to showing them that I could execute a pitch early, and then I could live off the fastball," said Keisel.
When Keisel came off the mound, he talked with Coach Roberts to try and get one more inning in, but ultimately the decision was made to put Jacob Shafer (UNC-Wilmington) on the mound. Shafer was making his first appearance since July 5th and didn't miss a beat. The righty twirled two innings, not allowing a single base runner and striking out one during his time.
The versatile submariner Cam Schuelke (College of Central Florida) was the third and final arm the Kettleers used in Friday's contest. Schuelke struck out two in the eighth before an error, and two walks brought up Wareham's three-hole hitter. Tommy Splaine was able to bloop one into left, just out of the reach of Cotuit's left-fielder, to notch the Gatemen's first hit of the night. Wareham followed that up with another weak hit off the bat of Dorian Gonzalez for their second hit. Wareham scored three in the eighth and one in the ninth, but Schuelke was still dominant, striking out four in his stint on the hill.
"Schuelke's outstanding. They got two or three hits off of weak contact, but the three guys that went out there tonight are outstanding pitchers for our club," said Roberts.
The Kettleers scored in bunches, putting up crooked numbers in five of the nine innings. James McCoy (Kentucky) set the table in the second with a double to center field. The switch-hitter has been red hot as he was 9-29 heading into the contest with the Gatemen. A flyout brought up Trevor Haskins (Stanford), who ran into one, putting the ball just fair over the left-field fence for a two-run homer. Haskins tallied three more hits on the night as he went 4-for-5 with three runs batted in against Wareham.
"Just trying to keep the process simple. Wasn't trying to do too much with the baseball, I think kind of in previous at-bats I was over swinging a little bit, so I was trying to stay short and direct to the baseball," said Haskins.
The bats would strike again in the fourth, where they put up a three-spot. Teo Banks (Tulane) started it off with a no-doubter into the parking lot in left field. Two singles and a walk would bring the recently nominated all-star Carter Mathison to the plate as he earned a bases-loaded walk to bring home the second tally. Cole Mathis (Charleston) followed that up with a sacrifice fly to center field for the final run in the inning.
In the fifth, Haskins earned his second RBI with a single to right field, scoring Banks, who got on with a walk. Dylan Johnson (Charleston) would single up the middle to put two runners on for Brock Wills (UNC-Wilmington). Wills sent a liner to right field to clear the bases and bring the Kettleer lead to eight in the fifth.
Cotuit followed the fourth and fifth with another three-run inning in the sixth, courtesy of the long ball. Cole Mathis hit a solo shot into the left-field bleachers for his seventh homer, which keeps him in the lead amongst the Ketts. A walk to Jacob Tobias (Arizona State) set up Grant Norris (Penn State), who found the short porch in left for a two-run homer, his fourth of the season.
The Ketts took a break in the seventh before tacking on their last three runs of the game in the eighth. Norris and Banks found themselves on the bases by a pair of fielder's choices, which brought up Haskins, who hit his third single of the night to score Norris. Later in the inning, Cotuit found themselves with the bases loaded and drew a walk to score the first runner, and Mathison got hit by a pitch to score the fourteenth tally of the contest.
With the win over Wareham, the Ketts get back on track, putting a result in the win column for the first time in four games, and is the first team to clinch a berth for the playoffs. With ten games to go, all Cotuit can do is play for seeding, as they are now locked into at least two more games come August. The Ketts will take a two-day break as the All-Star Game festivities will be held over the weekend before they welcome Brewster to Lowell Park on Monday.