By: James Middleton | West Chester University
Cotuit, MA – Cotuit vs. Hyannis, the Battle of Barnstable, and the two leaders in points in the Cape League. That was the setting for Saturday night's matchup at Lowell Park. With a three-run lead in hand, Cotuit turned to the second-year man Cam Schuelke (College of Central Florida) to close it out. The submariner twirled five innings of three-hit baseball, shutting the Hyannis offense down and giving Cotuit a 5-3 victory over Hyannis.
"I felt that tonight it was Cam's game, and I felt if Cam finished the baseball game, the Cotuit Kettleers were going to win," said Roberts on Schuelke.
On the bump for the Ketts was Jake Gigliotti (Northeastern). The right-hander ran into some trouble in the top of the first, but the Cotuit defense was able to help him out and stand the runner on third. Gigliotti settled down in his final three innings, striking out two, allowing only two runs in his appearance.
"It was a wonderful performance by Jake [Gigliotti]. Jake bounced back, and the key was that he got a lot of ground balls," said Roberts.
After Gigliotti, the trustworthy Cam Schuelke (College of Central Florida) was first out of the 'pen. Schuelke pitched five innings, punching out two hitters, allowing one run, and finishing the game, earning the win in tonight's contest. Gigliotti and Schuelke were the only two pitchers used in tonight's contest, saving arms for the final four games of the regular season.
"They've seen me; that was the third time they have faced me, so it was tricky. I was just trying to get the ball to the defense, trying to get weak contact if I could. I'm glad I had my boys out there on defense," said Schuelke.
On the offensive side of the ball, Cotuit was held scoreless for the first two frames before Brock Wills (UNC-Wilmington) earned a two-out walk. The free pass brought up the recently selected team MVP, Cole Mathis (Charleston). In a 1-2 count, Mathis got a hold of one, sending the ball deep into the Kettleer bullpen for a two-run homer. Mathis' homer marks his tenth of the season with thirty-seven RBIs, sitting second in the league in both categories.
"He threw me a bunch of sliders, but mainly I was on time with the fastball, which helped me see the slider better. He just happened to leave it over the plate, and I was on time with it," said Mathis on his two-run homer.
With Hyannis posting one run in both the fourth and fifth, tying the game at two, the Ketts came up in the bottom frame, hoping to take the lead. Trey Yunger (Georgia Tech) led off the bottom of the fifth, beating out a ball to the shortstop. Two batters later, Mathis roped a ball to left field for a single, moving Yunger over to second. With an even count, Sean Keys (Bucknell) hammered a ball into the trees in right field for a three-run home run. The lefty has notched three long balls and fifteen runs batted in in six games.
"Everything he had was moving away, Changeup, slider; in that first at-bat, he got me on the slider. That last at-bat, I saw one, was able to foul it off, and then got another and was able to time it up," said Keys on his home run.
Hyannis brought home one runner in the seventh, but Schuelke struck out the leadoff batter to stop the rally and hold the Kettleer lead to two. In the eighth and ninth, the right-hander allowed a combined two base runners, but with his defense behind him, he was able to work out of the eighth and induce a game-ending double play in the ninth.
Saturday night's win brings the Kettleers' win total to 27 on the season. The win over Hyannis also concludes the Barnstable Patriot Cup, with the Ketts taking home the trophy with a 5-1 series victory. The Ketts have four more games left in the regular season, but the matchup with Hyannis had the playoff atmosphere that's to be expected in a week.
"It's 44 games. Every game is an enjoyable game. This was a competitive game with two very good teams. They have been really hot lately, and it was good for our confidence to bounce back after yesterday and play really well. So we've got four more games to go, and we will see what happens in those last four," said Roberts.
On Sunday night, the Ketts will travel off Cape to take on the Wareham Gatemen for the final time this season. The Gatemen are already eliminated from the playoffs, but the Ketts can build their lead over Hyannis with a good outing. Game time is scheduled for six o'clock at Spillane Field.