By: James Middleton | West Chester University
Bourne, MA — For two and a half months every summer, players from all across the country descend on the cape. Players learn to gel quickly and become a unit sometimes before they even know one another's names. As soon as the season starts, the playoffs are no different, as the season could end on a random summer night, with players, interns, and fans all returning to their hometowns.
With Cotuit being down a game, they needed a win to stay alive and shift the series back to Lowell Park. Even with a superb start from Janzen Keisel (Oklahoma State), the Kettleers lost to Bourne by a score of 5-4 in extra innings.
"What I would say about this group is that you have 74 players through the team. I have never been around that many athletes that rotate through one team in a short period of time, that bonded the way this group did," said head coach Mike Roberts.
The right-hander from Oklahoma State, Keisel, started the game on the mound for Cotuit in game two. Keisel continued his regular season dominance as in four innings, he allowed one run on three hits while punching out five. Throughout the summer, he struck out twenty-five batters in eight games.
The Kettleer offense gave the right-hander an early lead, scoring three in the second and one in the third. Two back-to-back singles by Samuel Tackett (Virginia Tech) and Jeffery Heard (Oregon) put runners on the bases for Trotter Harlan (Charleston). Harlan roped a ball up the middle for an RBI single and the game's first run. Next was the trustworthy Cole Mathis (Charleston), who lined a ball in the left-center gap for a two-RBI single.
In the third, Trevor Haskins (Stanford) led it off with a double to center field. A groundout moved Haskins over to third, who came home on a wild pitch on the next batter. Haskins' scamper home was the final tally of the season.
Bourne put up their first run of the game in the fifth when a single by the Braves leadoff man scored a runner from second. The Braves weren't done yet, as they were still threatening in the fifth with two ducks on the pond. The Ketts made a pitching change, bringing in the big right-hander James Sashin (San Diego) to stop the bleeding. Sashin bore down, punching out Bourne's three and four hitters to get the Ketts out of the jam.
The Ketts had another scare in the seventh as Bourne again threatened with runners in scoring position. Sashin got the first two outs, one by a groundout and a strikeout, before the Ketts brought in Robert Hughes (Clemson). Hughes struck out the Braves four-hole hitter, stranding the runners and holding the Kettleer lead.
Bourne had new life in the eighth after an RBI triple scored the second run of the night. The next Brave hitter did a job, grounding it to the right side to score the third tally for the Braves, bringing them within one of the Cotuit lead.
The Braves then tied it up in the ninth after a 2-2 breaking ball stayed up in the zone, where the Bourne hitter lined it to right field, tying the game up at four. The Ketts weren't out of it yet as they struck out the Brave batter stranding the winning run on third as he got on with a single to left.
In both the tenth and eleventh, the Ketts had the go-ahead runner ninety feet away but couldn't manage to bring the runner home. In the tenth, Sean Keys (Bucknell) got plunked to lead off the inning, but three straight groundouts left him stranded at third. In the eleventh, Jeffery Heard (Oregon) led the inning off with a double. With two outs Trotter Harlan lined a ball to the right side, just to be caught by the Bourne second baseman, squandering any hope the Cotuit faithful had.
Bourne was able to seal the deal in the eleventh as their leadoff hitter got on base with a single for the fourth time on the night. After a steal, where the ball would skip into the outfield, all the Braves had to do was send a ball into the outfield. Bourne would bring home the winning run on a sacrifice fly to the center fielder, scoring five unanswered in the contest.
Now it is time for the dreaded wait. The Ketts faithful will have to wait until next June rolls around to see the new faces that will be playing at Lowell Park. But as for this year, the word that Coach Roberts describes it as is "Thankful."
"I'm thankful for what they bring to our community in Cotuit. From our campers to our fans to meeting people at The Coop every day, and have we somehow enriched their lives in some manner. Most importantly, what great friends did they make, take lifelong friends with you. For me this season, I'm just grateful to have the opportunity," said Roberts.
See you in 2024, Ketts Fans.