By: Shane Petagna (The University of Tampa)
COTUIT, Mass. – The summer of slams continued for the Cotuit Kettleers as Cole Mathis (College of Charleston) put an exclamation point on an 18-0 win over the Wareham Gatemen that ended in the middle of the eighth inning.
Entering the bottom of the sixth inning up eight runs, the Cotuit offense continued to push on as two hits and a walk from the first three batters loaded the bases. A walk to Trey Yunger (Georgia Tech) and an RBI single from Brock Wills (UNC Wilmington) added a pair of runs and brought up the team leader in home runs to the plate.
Just as he’s done so well in this situation this season, Mathis searched for a ball to lift and did not miss once he got the chance. A 1-0 fastball over the heart of the plate was sent over the left field fence for the Kettleers’ 5th grand slam of the season in just their 27th game, setting a new single-season record in the wood bat era of the CCBL dating back to 1985.
“We spend so much time together with each other, we get comfortable around each other, and we kind of just believe in each other,” said Wills. “Coach Roberts does a great job of working us and trying to help us improve day in and day out. So I just think we're really in our stride right now, we're gelling as a team and I think that's why you see success.”
The Kettleers set a new season-high run total for the second time this week and notched their fifth straight game scoring six runs or more. 10 batters recorded a hit while the top three in the order of Wills, Mathis, and Caleb Lomavita (Cal) each had three hits. Mathis finished with 6 RBI and Lomavita added a cherry on top with a no-doubt three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh inning.
“Everybody has games like this. We've got beat one night 12-2, so it happens. But I'm just thankful that we're getting contributions all the way through the lineup,” said Cotuit manager Mike Roberts. “That's the most important thing because if you're only getting contributions each night from four or five guys, it's tough to score. Right now, we're getting contributions from nine to 12 guys, and that has given us confidence.”
On the other side of the ball, it was another day at the office for Cam Hill (Georgia Tech) who continued to be a buzzsaw against opposing offenses. The 6-foot-6 southpaw turned in another four shutout innings as he has cemented himself as the best pitcher on the Cape, striking out six while allowing four hits and two walks.
“It’s really just getting outs however I can. Sometimes I’ll have all three pitches like I did tonight, sometimes I won’t have it,” Hill said to Jimmy Middleton after the game. “I just got to make do with what I got and thankfully it’s been working so far.”
In relief, Aidan Hunter (College of Charleston) earned the win in his Cotuit debut and Brock Peery (Arizona St.) had a bounce-back outing in his second appearance. Both right-handers threw two scoreless innings and surrendered just one hit each, with Peery striking out four Wareham hitters.
By the end of Peery’s last inning of work, Gatemen manager Ryan Smyth had seen enough and agreed to end the contest early.
The Kettleers travel to Falmouth next, looking to avenge that 12-2 loss to the Commodores on July 4 on Friday night at Arnie Allen Diamond. Both teams are 8-2 in their last 10 games, with Cotuit and Falmouth riding six and five-game win streaks respectively into the contest. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.