08/15/2011 8:36 AM
Article By: Christopher Curtis
COTUIT, Mass. - After winning the Cape Cod Baseball League championship last summer and appearing in three consecutive finals, Cotuit’s deep runs into the playoffs were halted before they even had a chance to defend their title. Ending the season 16-25-3, the Kettleers missed postseason by three points.
It was an emotional final day for the Kettleers at Lowell Field. For many players and coaches, it seemed that the summer went by much too quickly. Saddened by the season’s end, field manager Mike Roberts was in tears, hugging and praising his players for their hard work.
The Kettleers’ fundamental problems this summer were pitching and fielding, while their offense was one of the best in the league. They were near the bottom in team ERA (3.90), opponent batting average (.263), hits allowed (395), and errors (63). The poor defense was costly because the Kettleers were a pitch-to-contact team, striking out only 303 hitters, next to last in the league.
On the other end of the spectrum, the offense was a highlight. They led the league in team batting average (.260) and were second in OPS (.687). However, these numbers did not translate into the run production that one expects. The Kettleers scored 160 runs, which was tied for second to last with Falmouth. The key hit or sacrifice to drive the runner home from second or third base was absent all summer.
Still, there were several impressive individual performances. Sophomore outfielder Victor Roache (Georgia Southern) was a legitimate threat to win the first-ever Cape League Triple Crown. Roache arrived in Cotuit with high expectations after leading the nation with 30 home runs last spring. He lived up to his reputation as a slugger. On July 15, he was leading the league in hitting (.390), RBIs (24) and was second in home runs (five). But he was not able to maintain that success, ending the season with a .316 batting average (ninth), 28 RBIs (second), and six home runs (tied, second). Despite the second-half slide, Roache earned team MVP and is considered one of the best college hitting prospects.
Freshman right-handed pitcher Bobby Wahl (Mississippi) also had a standout summer. Wahl served as the Kettleers closer, pumping mid- to high-90s fastballs with a good low 80s-slider. He ended the season with a 1.23 ERA, with 38 strikeouts in 22 innings. His strikeout rate is equivalent to an astounding 15.5 K’s per nine innings.