MARTIN, Tenn. – For the second straight summer, a University of Tennessee at Martin baseball player has been a part of a championship squad in the prestigious Cape Cod Baseball League, as rising junior Dalton Potts helped the Cotuit (Mass.) Kettleers to a championship last week.
The Kettleers clinched the title with back-to-back victories over the Orleans Firebirds on Aug. 14 and Aug. 15, claiming the 16th championship in franchise history in the nation’s premier summer baseball organization. Cotuit finished the 2013 campaign with a 31-20 overall record under head coach Mike Roberts.
Potts, a 6-0, 185-pound left-handed pitcher from nearby Greenfield, Tenn., didn’t join the Kettleers until July 27 but he was very instrumental in the team’s journey to the championship trophy. He made his debut with a start on Aug. 1 against Bourne, allowing just two runs and fanning five batters over five innings before receiving a hard-luck loss.
However, Potts would get his revenge nine days later – as he allowed just one run over five innings to earn the victory over the same Bourne squad in Game 1 of the Western Division Championship series.
That concluded a busy summer for Potts, who had previously earned All-Star status while playing for the Front Royal (Va.) Cardinals in the Valley Baseball League.
Playing under former UT Martin volunteer assistant Jake Weghorst, Potts established himself as one of the best pitchers in the league. Despite a 2-5 record, Potts registered a 3.02 ERA over eight appearances (all starts), striking out 43 batters while conceding only 42 hits and 16 walks over 47.2 innings.
Potts began the season on a tear, hurling a complete game shutout while conceding just three hits against the Charles Town Cannons on June 5. That began a one-month stretch where Potts accounted for a microscopic 0.74 ERA over five starts (36.1 innings). In his final tune-up of the first half, Potts was electric – fanning 10 batters over seven shutout innings against regular season champion Harrisonburg on July 2.
Five days later, Potts made an appearance in the Valley League All-Star Game, pitching 0.2 scoreless innings out of the bullpen for the North squad.
Potts then made three more starts over the next two weeks before joining Cotuit. Overall, he held opponents to a .237 batting average during his stint with the Cardinals.
Potts’ strong summer performance preceded a solid spring for UT Martin. The southpaw led the team in victories (four) and innings pitched (62.2), making 14 appearances with 12 starts. He finished second on the team with 53 strikeouts behind 2013 MLB draftee Dan Tobik, who helped lead the Wareham Gatemen to the Cape Cod championship last summer.
As a Skyhawk, Potts allowed three or fewer earned runs in six of his 12 starts in 2013. His best two starts of the season came when he tossed six scoreless innings in a win at Eastern Kentucky (April 14) and when he set career-highs with eight innings pitched and eight strikeouts in a no-decision at SIU Edwardsville (May 5).
Photo courtesy of Kettleers.org