Sports

Kettlers Control Their Own Destint

 August 5, 2005


 


     Cotuit Kettleer two-time All-Star third baseman Bryan Harris has found a second home in East Sandwich. When he returned to the Cape League in June for a second time, it was like coming home.


Cotuit all-star infielder Brad Boyer applies tag
just a bit late as runner slides in safely.
Don Parkinson / Enterprise

     "I was pretty intimidated last year coming to the Cape for the first time," he explained. "You never know what kind of a family you might end up with, but after that first week I knew I was with a good family and I was comfortable. They are like a second family to me now and I was excited about coming back this year."

     Adding to the excitement of returning to the Jillson Way home of Charles and Kimberly Lehrer this summer was the fact that 15-year-old Evan Lehrer had earned a spot in the bullpen for the Kettleers. Evan, entering his sophomore year as a student at Tabor Academy in Marion, was a catcher for the varsity team last spring.

     The Cape Cod League not only builds baseball players, it builds relationships. This summer, the bond that already existed between Bryan and Evan has grown even stronger. They now wear the same uniform and travel to the field together every day.

     "Having Bryan with us for the past two summers has been like gaining a brother," Evan said with a smile. "Weíve grown really close. Iíve learned a lot from him as a baseball player and Iíll call him when Iím at school sometimes for advice or to just say Ďhello.í "

     They both usually arrive at Lowell Park early on game day: Bryan to get in some early batting practice while Evan roams the outfield shagging balls. When the pitchers begin to arrive, Evan puts on his equipment and heads for the bullpen.

     "Catching some of the most elite college pitchers in the nation can really polish your skills," Evan admitted. "Especially for a young player like me. I think Iíve really learned a lot from them all. As a high school catcher, catching balls at maybe 80 miles an hour from kids that are still learning and then coming here to catch players throwing 90 to 95 miles per hour can show you real quick what you need to work on."

     They share a strong work ethic and love for the game of baseball, and, for Evan, working with the Kettleers is not only a learning experience, itís fun, especially since he gets to go to the park with his big brother.

     At the end of the day they head back to East Sandwich, usually spending the evening on the couch watching ESPNís Sports Center together. If Bryan makes it to the majors, Evan promises to be there to support him and watch him play. Possibly someday Bryan will return to the Cape, but this time to watch Evan in a Cape League uniform. 

     "After being with a host family for a year, you develop a good relationship with that family," Bryan pointed out. "But if there is a second year, you can become really close. I think for me, after this summer, theyíll always be my second family. Something like this you just never forget."


 


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