By: James Middleton | West Chester University
Brewster, MA — When the bus left Lowell Park Monday afternoon, the Ketts needed just one win to be crowned Western Division Champions.
With a 5-4 lead, Cotuit called upon Robert Hughes (Clemson) to close it out. Hughes threw a scoreless eighth and struck out the final two Whitecaps in the ninth to win it. The Ketts are your Western Division Champions and President's Trophy winner.
"Well, I just want to say thank you to every player that's been in a Cotuit Kettleers uniform. All the assistant coaches have done a marvelous job; at this age for me, I need more support than ever, and it's just been an incredible team effort," said Roberts.
The offense started off hot, plating four combined runs in the first two frames. In the first, Cole Mathis (Charleston) led it off with a double. Two batters later, Trevor Haskins (Stanford) brought home Mathis on a sacrifice fly to right.
In the second, Trotter Harlan (Charleston) advanced to second with a two-out double to left field. An error by the Whitecaps third baseman put two runners on with Mathis back up at the plate. In a 1-2 count, Mathis hit a no-doubter over the left field fence for a three-run homer.
"Coach Holbrook, who played for me and is the coach at College of Charleston, I'll never forget the words he said, Coach, you gotta take this young man. He's an incredible person on and off the field, and he's extremely talented with a bat, and on the mound, and when one of my former players calls me, I just trust him," said Roberts.
The Ketts added one more in the fourth on another Mathis RBI, his fourth and final of the day. Newly activated Samuel Tackett (Virginia Tech) roped a ball to left field for a single. Two batters later, Mathis hit a ball deep in the six hole that he beat out for an RBI single. His four RBI night brings him to a total of forty-two on the season.
"For me, Cole Mathis should be considered for the MVP of the league, if not the best pro prospect, because he has shown high caliber play every day; he's had a marvelous summer," said Roberts on Mathis.
For the first time this season, Cotuit sent out Teddy Brennan (George Washington) to start. The southpaw pitched a scoreless two innings striking out one while allowing two hits.
The Whitecaps brought home three tallies in the fifth, adding on to the one run they scored in the third, bringing them within one of the Kettleer lead. To start the sixth, the Ketts called on Cullen McKay (Virginia) out of the bullpen. McKay stopped the bleeding, tossing an inning and two-thirds of hitless baseball, punching out three in the process.
The ball was then handed to Robert Hughes to get the final seven outs of the ballgame. The flamethrower got three quick outs in the eighth, striking out two and picking off a runner. The Whitecaps threatened in the ninth as they had the tying run on second and winning on first with only one out. Hughes bore down, striking out the final two batters to end the game, picking up the save.
"I think the approach is just to close every out, go out there with the same intensity every pitch and every out, and just do it until you can't do it anymore," said Hughes on his seven-out save.
The Ketts will welcome the Bourne Braves to Lowell Park Tuesday night. Bourne is coming off a 6-3 victory over the Wareham Gatemen. Looking ahead to the playoffs, Tuesday's matchup could be a first-round preview as Cotuit will face the fourth overall seed, which at this moment, the Braves hold. Game time is scheduled for 4:30 at Lowell Park.