Kets pulls even in Patriot Cup race
Cotuit beats struggling Hyannis

 July 1, 2005


The Cotuit Kettleers pulled even with Hyannis in the race for the second annual Barnstable Patriot Cup with a 4-3 win over the Mets at Lowell Park Sunday.The Cotuit Kettleers pulled even with Hyannis in the race for the second annual Barnstable Patriot Cup with a 4-3 win over the Mets at Lowell Park Sunday.

LEAD PRESERVED - Cotuit catcher Sean Gaston tags Hyannis' Brian Juhl out at home amid a cloud of dust during the eventful seventh inning of the Kets' 4-3 win over the Mets at Lowell Park Sunday. Juhl's run would have tied the game, and Brandon Masters scored later in the frame to knot the score, but Cotuit scored in the bottom of the eighth to claim the victory and tie the race for the second annual Barnstable Patriot Cup at one win apiece. 
Bill Beregi  /Barnstable Patriot

The Kets won the darkness-shortened contest on a bases-loaded, walk-off sacrifice fly by Michael Hollander in the bottom of the eighth inning of yet another close contest between the crosstown rivals. 

"Every game we play against Hyannis is that way," Cotuit manager Mike Roberts said afterward. 

Sean Gaston led off the home half of the eighth with the second of his two doubles, and with the umpires having announced in the middle of the inning that it would be the game's last, Roberts sent speedy Julio Borbon in to run for the Notre Dame catcher. When J.P. Padron laid down a sacrifice bunt, Mets third baseman Kyle Norrid tried to get Borbon at third, but shortstop Chris Johnson, covering third on the play, couldn't handle the throw, and both runners were safe. 

Hyannis manager Greg King ordered Todd Davison intentionally walked to set up the force at any base, but Hollander's deep fly to right foiled the strategy as Borbon trotted home with the winning run after the catch. 

Gaston was the game's offensive star, going 4-for-4. He knocked in the Kets' first run with a second-inning double, then came around to score on Davison's ground out. Through Wednesday, he led the team with a .423 batting average. 

"I'm very appreciative that he has gotten off to a good start offensively," Roberts said Wednesday. "More importantly, he has handled our pitching staff really well." 

The Kets had recruited three catchers, but two are with Team USA. 

"For Sean to jump in and make an impact has really helped our club," Roberts said. 

Gaston called it "one of those hard days" as he stood in front of the Kets dugout after Sunday's win, his uniform covered with dirt. His eighth-inning double came after Roberts had him take a strike, which came on losing pitcher Mike Koons' first pitch of the inning, a fastball. On the next pitch, Koons threw another heater, and Gaston made him pay. 

"He just repeated it," Gaston said. "I thought I'd missed it in that at-bat." 

After building a 2-0 lead in the second, the Kets added a run in the third when Emeel Salem scored from second on Roberto Lopez' base hit. 

The Mets rallied to tie it with three in the seventh, but also had two runners thrown out at the plate in the inning. Mark McGonigle's two-run home run brought in Andrew D'Alessio, who had led off the inning with a double. Then, after Juhl singled and Brandon Masters and Kevin Koski walked to load the bases, Kets first baseman Bryan Harris fielded Jay Miller's grounder and threw Juhl out at the plate. 

Mike Baxter followed with another grounder to the right side, but Cotuit pitcher Derek Olvey mishandled Harris' throw to first, allowing Masters to score. With the ball loose, Koski lit out for home, but Harris recovered the ball and cut the lead run down at the plate to end the inning. 

"I don't mind losing a ballgame like that," King said afterward, pointing to promising signs in the wake of the Mets' sixth loss in a row - a streak that had extended to eight games and counting as the Patriot went to press. 

He said his hitters found good pitches to hit and put good swings on them. 

"Now we're starting to drive the ball," he said. 

Still, the Mets were in last place in the Western Division, with a 1-10-1 record as yesterday dawned. The Kettleers were at 6-5-1, two points behind division co-leaders Bourne and Wareham. 

Despite their records, the Mets have the tie-breaker advantage over the Kets in the race for the Patriot Cup, which the Patriot will award to the winner of the regular season series between the only two Cape League teams that share the same hometown. The Mets, who won the first meeting between the two clubs 4-2 on June 19, have allowed only six Cotuit runs while the Kets have given up seven Mets runs. 

The teams' next meetings are two weeks off, when they play a home-and-home series July 17 in Hyannis and July 18 in Cotuit. 

The Mets won the inaugural Cup last year, clinching both the trophy and the final berth in the league playoffs in a memorable, 10-inning seesaw battle on the last day of the regular season 

Kets 'n' Mets notes The Kettleers' game Sunday against Brewster starts at 2 p.m. at Lowell Park, not 5 p.m., as the schedules on the league's Web site indicate. A week later, on July 10, the Kets play at 4:30 p.m., not 5 p.m. The schedule on the Kets' site,, is correct. 

Author Steve Weissman will visit all 10 Cape League parks over the next two weeks to sign copies of his book, "Beach Chairs and Baseball Bats: A Celebration of the Cape Cod Baseball League." His visit to McKeon Field is scheduled for July 8, when the Mets host Chatham, and his visit to Lowell Park is set for July 15, when the Kettleers host Yarmouth-Dennis. The book signings will begin at 4:30 p.m., a half-hour before game time. 

King said Wednesday the Mets were not succumbing to frustration despite their record, and that it was far too early to write off their playoff prospects. The offense had started to come to life - they scored a season-high five runs against a division-leading Wareham team that previously had given up more only once, in an aberrational 16-2 loss to Bourne June 20, but the Gatemen tallied six. "We need to find a game where we can get the pitching in synch with the hitting," King said. 

Pitching help is on the way in the form of at least two members of the College World Series champion Texas Longhorns' staff. Adrian Alaniz, the winner in Game 1 of the finals, is due imminently, as is Randy Boone. Kyle McCulloch, winner in the title-clinching game, was auditioning for Team USA, leaving his availability to the Mets up in the air. 

Meanwhile, King was on the phone Wednesday looking for a catcher after highly touted Texas freshman Preston Clark blew out his knee, yet another in a succession of injuries that have beset the Mets. 

The Kets will host an open baseball skills clinic after their July 24 game against Orleans at Lowell Park. Game time is 2 p.m. All are welcome at the clinic. 

All Kettleers and Mets games can be heard live on the Internet or by telephone at no charge again this year on Teamline, a sports Web-casting company based in Ohio. For details, visit your team's Web site, or, or call Teamline at 1-800-846-4700 and follow the instructions to arrange to be connected to your team's game every time you call from the same phone number. The Kettleers' four-digit code is 3358; the Mets' is 2602. The Patriot's sports desk has one phone line set up for Kets games and another for Mets games. Some Cape League teams opted this year to offer the telephone service on a pay-to-listen basis, but the Kets and Mets are again offering it free. (Cell-phone use charges apply.) 

By David Curran


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