By: James Middleton | West Chester University
Yarmouth-Dennis, MA – It's crunch time in Cotuit. With nine games left before and playoff seeding on the line, Cotuit traveled to YD to take on the top-seeded Red Sox. The Kettleers needed a bounce-back performance, and that they did as the offense came alive in the sixth when newly activated Sean Keys (Bucknell) hit a grand slam over the right field fence to break the game open. The Ketts rode that momentum on the way to a 10-3 win over YD.
"I was the third batter of the inning, and the first two had gotten first pitch sliders, so that's what I was looking for, and luckily I got it first pitch and put a good swing on it," said Keys on his grand slam.
Camron Hill (Georgia Tech) earned the start on the mound for the sixth time this season. The southpaw ran into some trouble in the first, as two walks put runners on the bases, and the Red Sox was able to put one of those runners ninety feet away with two outs. Hill bore down and struck out YD's five-hole hitter to strand the runners and bring up the Cotuit bats. He put together a line of three innings, one hit, no runs, and five punchouts on the day.
"When Cam [Hill] takes the hill, we believe we're going to win; he provides a lot of confidence when he is on the mound," said Head Coach Mike Roberts.
After Hill got out of the jam in the bottom of the first, it was time for the offense to go to work. Three walks in the innings loaded the bases for Brock Wills (UNC-Wilmington). Wills skyed a ball to deep center field for a sacrifice fly, scoring the first Kett of the night.
The third inning is when the Kettleers did their damage, putting up a crooked number in the box score. Trevor Haskins (Stanford) led it off when he reached base on an error by the YD third baseman. This brought up Cole Mathis (Charleston), who hit a two-run blast to stretch the lead to three. A hit-by-pitch, double by Carter Mathison (Indiana), and a walk loaded the bases for Keys' third-inning grand slam.
"They both have short compact swings, and they're really strong. When you're short and compact and consistent in your approach, good things happen," said Roberts on Mathis and Keys.
In the fourth, Cam Schuelke (College of Central Florida) was called upon to be the first arm out of the bullpen. The submariner was able to bridge the gap between Hill and Robert Hughes (Clemson) and save some arms in the Cotuit bullpen. Schuelke tossed four innings, striking out four, while giving up the lone three runs the Red Sox had. Hughes was brought in to pitch the eighth and ninth innings to close the ballgame. The right-hander earned the win and struck out four in his appearance.
"They are really outstanding pitchers. When you have Schuelke and Hughes behind Hill, we definitely believe we're going to win as well. That was one of the better pitching performances for us this year," said Roberts.
In the final three frames, the Ketts scored one run in each of them. In the seventh, a double off the bat of Keys brought home Dylan Johnson (Charleston). The lone run in the eighth came off a solo shot by none other than Cole Mathis. Mathis' two homers bring him to nine on the season, putting him in second place in the Cape League. In the ninth, Jacob Tobias (Arizona State) hit an RBI single to right field to bring home the game's final tally.
With the win, the Ketts move to 29-11-1 on the year. Cotuit will play their second of three straight road games Wednesday when they travel to Doran Park to take on the Bourne Braves. Bourne is coming off a 7-5 win over the Harwich Mariners. The teams have already matched up against each other four times this season, with the series being deadlocked at two a piece. Game time is scheduled for six o'clock at Doran Park.