Kettleers Fall in Exhibition at Martha’s Vineyard


MARTHA’S VINEYARD, Mass. — In the first game action for the 2024 Cotuit Kettleers as coaches and fans got themselves acquainted with the players on the field, it was a pair of familiar faces that did damage on the other side and helped lead the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks to a 7-6 win in an eight-inning scrimmage on Saturday.

Last season, the Kettleers did not allow a run across both preseason exhibitions, outscoring the Lexington Blue Sox and Sharks by a combined score of 19-0—but Martha’s Vineyard made it clear that a shutout would not be in the cards shortly after first pitch.

2023 Kettleer Brian Young made the start for the Sharks, retiring the side in the top of the first inning. Daniel Brooks (Col. of Charleston) quickly put away the first two batters but struggled thereafter. A two-out walk and stolen base by Cole Mascolo set the table for William Lybrook to rope an RBI double to right-center field in the next at-bat, spotting the Sharks a 1-0 lead.

The pitch count for Brooks continued to rise as he walked another in the next plate appearance to bring another 2023 Kett in Scott Seeker to the dish. In the fourth consecutive full count on Sharks batters, Seeker was ready for a strike in the zone and crushed a no-doubt home run to right field to extend the early Martha’s Vineyard advantage to 4-0. The first inning would end prematurely as Brooks felt arm discomfort, which was alarming enough to Cotuit coach Mike Roberts to cut the frame short.

But when the Cotuit lineup turned over for the second time, the Kettleers and Sharks connections reemerged. With Charles Davalan (Florida Gulf Coast) standing on second base with two outs in the top of the third, Clemson product Nathan Hall stepped into the box.

With his collegiate team hosting an NCAA Super Regionals game in the afternoon, the former Martha’s Vineyard outfielder felt back at home in the Shark Tank batter’s box when he put a ball into the trees beyond the left field fence for a two-run shot.

“Even though [the season] didn't go as planned, I was mainly just focused on having fun and being able to play again, regardless of the circumstance,” said Hall “It was just great to be back in the Vineyard. Being on that team last year is kind of like a family, so hitting another home run there was bittersweet, but it was a lot of fun.”

The Kettleers saw good relief appearances from southpaws Merritt Beeker (Ball State) and Mark Hindy (William & Mary), who both turned in two scoreless innings while striking out four.

With the bullpen righting the ship, it allowed the Cotuit offense to take the lead in the top of the fifth with a four-run outburst. Matt Klein (Louisville) scored on an error to cut the deficit to one before a two-out rally plated three more to result in six unanswered Kettleers runs. Chris Arroyo (Virginia) smacked a two-strike double out to the left-center field fence for a two-RBI double and would come around to score on a Jarren Advincula (Cal) opposite-field single to move the score to 6-4.

Sayers Collins (East Texas Baptist University) pitched next for Cotuit, but couldn’t turn in a clean second inning of work in the bottom of the seventh inning as a Lybrook single resulted in his third RBI of the night, evening the score at six apiece.

In the top of the eighth inning the Kettleers were extremely aggressive on the basepaths, trying to score a run in what they knew would be the last inning. However, they would run themselves into outs at home plate and third base, leaving the Sharks with a chance to score the go-ahead run in their next turn to bat.

Aaron Mishoulam (Michigan State) stayed on the mound after cleaning up the seventh, but a leadoff walk would later come back to bite him. Griffin Mills advanced to second base on an error and another base on balls moved him just 90 feet from home. One batter later, he raced home on a wild pitch to provide Martha’s Vineyard with what would be the game-winning run once both teams lined up to shake hands after the third out of the inning.

Cotuit will return home for another exhibition game at 1:30 on Sunday against the Lexington Blue Sox.