Kets earn playoff berth, Mets end long seasone
Cotuit finishes 22-19-3, receives Patriot Cup; Hyannis ends up 7-36-1

 August 11, 2005


       After 43 games, the Cotuit Kettleers needed to win Sunday’s game against the Hyannis Mets to get into the playoffs on their own merits. The Mets, on the other hand, simply wanted to end a dismal season on a positive note. The Kets got what they were after, but it wasn’t easy, while the Mets, despite losing for the 36th time in 44 games, could go home knowing they never gave up, and could point to that 36th loss to prove it.

GET DOWN! - Kets designated hitter Julio Borbon hits the dirt to slide into home with Cotuit’s first run in Sunday’s 2-1 win over Hyannis at Lowell Park. The win earned the Kets a berth in the Cape League playoffs
David Still / Barnstable Patriot

Cotuit topped Hyannis 2-1 at Lowell Park Sunday, and when Mets designated hitter Teddy Dziuba grounded out to end the game, the Kets knew they were in the playoffs and that Wareham and Falmouth were not. The three teams had entered the last weekend of the season within two points of each other, Cotuit with 43 points, Wareham with 42 and Falmouth with 41. Cotuit prevailed despite losing to Wareham Saturday because neither the Gatemen nor the Commodores were able to do better than Cotuit’s 2-1 weekend.

“The players work year-round, but so does the Cotuit organization and the community,” said Cotuit skipper Mike Roberts. “I’m happy for the players and I’m just as happy for the community.”

Roberto Lopez was the offensive hero for the Kettleers, going 2-for-3 and knocking in both runs. His fourth-inning double tied the game, plating Julio Borbon, who had led off the inning by reaching base when he was hit with a pitch.

Lopez said he was looking for a fastball away, but was happy to settle for an inside heater.

“I jumped on it and it went my way,” he said.

Two innings later, Lopez hit a seeing-eye grass-cutter up the middle just hard enough that neither shortstop Brandon Paritz nor second baseman Alex Feinberg could reach it, but not so hard that it would give centerfielder Kevin Koski a chance to throw Todd Davison out coming home from second base. The Kets did the rest with pitching and error-free defense. Starting pitcher Jeff Manship went seven innings, giving up one run on four hits while striking out seven. Daniel Moskos got the first two outs in the eighth, but with a runner on third, Roberts called on Chris Tonneguzzi. The closer responded by striking out Jay Miller to end the Hyannis threat, and retired the Mets in order in the ninth.

Manship has been on the comeback trail since having Tommy John ligament replacement surgery in February 2004.

“That’s the best I’ve felt since the surgery by far,” he said after the win, which evened his record at 3-3. “I’m glad I had the deciding game. It meant a lot to me out there.”

Tonneguzzi had pitched a perfect ninth on Saturday, but any fatigue disappeared when he moved from the mound in the bullpen to the one in the middle of the diamond.

“When you’re pitching to get in the playoffs, adrenaline takes over,” he said. “I got out there and I had shivers when everybody cheered.”

So home field really does matter in the Cape League.

“We had just a great crowd here,” general manager Bruce Murphy said. “It’s a nice way to end the regular season and look forward to the playoffs.” After the win, Patriot editor David Still II presented the 2005 Barnstable Patriot Cup to Roberts, Kets general manager Bruce Murphy and coaches Mike Terhune and Devin McIntosh. The Patriot awards the trophy to the winner of the regular season series between the only Cape League teams that share the same home town. Both teams also receive monetary donations, with the Cup winner receiving the larger share.

“We are proud to be the recipients this year, proud of our players, our team and all of our volunteers,” said Martha Johnston, president of the Cotuit Athletic Association, the non-profit that operates the Kettleers. “We value all of our awards because we all work hard for them.”

She said fans will be able to see the trophy throughout the off-season. It will be displayed in a variety of prominent locations, including businesses that sponsor or support the Kettleers.

The Mets won the inaugural Patriot Cup in 2004, but nothing came easily for the league’s Hyannis entry this year. The Mets suffered through losing streaks of 10, 14 and nine games, ending up with a record of 7-36-1 “We’re disappointed,” said general manager John Howitt, “but we’re trying to learn from it and get after next year.”

“It was a struggle,” said field manager Greg King. “We had to sort of deal with what was given to us.”

Injuries hit the team unusually hard, he said - they had no fewer than six different catchers on the roster at one time or another, according to the coach - and the situation on the mound was similarly unstable.

But he said he had no complaints about the players

“Our guys never quit,” King said, noting that a number of other managers told him as much. 

Howitt said King would be invited to return to skipper the 2006 Mets. “Whatever our defects were, they were not the fault of the head coach,” said the general manager. “He has all our support.” 

By David Curran


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