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Chatham Clothing Bar
534 Main Street
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Kolby Kubichek's breakout season ends with 'apprehensive' postseason start

by KJ Edelman, 08-03-2019

Kolby Kubichek's breakout season ends with 'apprehensive' postseason start

Kolby Kubichek left his first semester at Texas thinking he had to “be better.” So he followed his pitching coach, Dennis Cook, to Chatham. An inconsistent relief pitcher became the Anglers ace in just eight weeks. In many ways, he proved to everyone, and himself, that he belonged. 

“I learned I can compete with the best players in the nation,” Kubichek said. “When I go out there and attack, I have really good stuff.”

The right-hander was named the 2019 Ed Baird Most Outstanding Starting Pitcher hours after he made his last start of the season at Whitehouse Field. 

On Saturday, the Anglers turned to their best pitcher this season in Game 2 of the EDS, hoping to force a winner-take-all Game 3. He dealt with back stiffness throughout the week after pitching an inning on July 29, so the A’s turned to Daniel Federman (Miami) in Game 1. But in the following contest, Kubichek faltered in the second inning, giving up four runs in a 4-2 loss to the Mariners. 

“I didn’t execute pitches when I need it,” Kubichek said. “Bad luck.”

The rise of Kubichek started quiet, and was sometimes underappreciated. He didn’t allow an earned run in his first two starts, and took a no-hitter through three innings in his second appearance. And his mishaps were always salvaged — he allowed just three earned runs all season.

But through five starts, Kubichek was not originally named an All-Star like seven other Anglers.

“I had a little bit of a chip on my shoulder,” Kubichek said on July 13. “In the back of my head, I should be there.”

The game after the announcement, he poured in five scoreless innings allowing just two baserunners and striking out eight for the second straight game. Hours later, he was the first replacement on the East Division All-Star Team. 

His fastball touched the low-90s, but it's sink stumped hitters. And when he was at his best, his offspeed forced swing-and-misses in the bottom of the zone. 

“I loved that kid,” Holliday said. “He’s one of the guys start to finish he improved every single time.”

With Chatham at the top of the standings for the latter part of the season, Kubichek was told he’d start Game 1 of the playoffs. But back stiffness pushed him back to a decisive Game 2 after the A’s were no-hit the day prior.

He ran through the first inning on Saturday, but that was all undone in the second inning. The right-hander, who hadn’t allowed an earned run in almost a month, allowed a walk to start the second inning. After a flyout to center, he loaded the bases on a pair of singles. 

When Kubichek got in holes this season, he either broke out of them or they weren’t his fault and errors started them. On Saturday, the second inning was on him. 

A single smacked to left, plating two runs and a high throw from Colin Hall (Georgia Tech) advanced both runners into scoring position. Dylan Neuse, the Mariners leadoff hitter, came up next and did the same, doubling the lead to four. 

“Kolby pitched a little apprehensive today,” Holliday said.

Kubichek allowed just one more hit in his five innings of work, but the damage had been done. For a team that ended its season with just one run in its last 27 innings, those lapses would end Chatham’s season. 

But his performance aside, Kubichek was proud of his eight weeks in the Cape League. His relationship with Cook grew — he told Kubichek he can “call him whenever, eat dinner whenever I want.” And he didn’t just make a name for himself sporting a 0.90 ERA, he now has faith in himself.

“This experience boosts my confidence a lot,” Kubichek said. “Coming out of the spring, I was inconsistent. Here, there’s confidence in every outing. I got better every outing.”

And when he returns to Texas, he’ll have Cook there with him for next season, and maybe beyond.

“Hopefully, I get to come back and have him next summer,” Kubichek said.