Cotuit’s heartbreak 
Kettleers fall to Harwich after late-game letdown

August 21, 2008


Written by Kathleen Szmit
It all came down to two teams, but in the end, after a fielding error and one big hit, the Harwich Mariners celebrated their first Cape Cod Baseball League championship since 1987 while the Cotuit Kettleers looked on in stunned, sad silence.

ONE FINAL MOMENT – Following the heartbreaking last inning when Harwich stole the win, the Cotuit Kettleers shared one final moment under the lights as head coach Mike Roberts offered praise for the team’s success this season

Near the dugout and along the fence, devoted fans waited patiently for head coach Mike Roberts to offer final words to his team before honoring coaches and players with a lasting and heartfelt ovation.

“You did good,” someone shouted.

Indeed, they did.

Up until the ninth inning, Cotuit seemed to have the game in their hands, largely thanks to the superior pitching of Tennessee southpaw Nick Hernandez.

Displaying cool confidence, Hernandez took the mound in the first inning and gave the Mariners a taste of what was to come when he retired the side with three groundouts in a row.

Harwich wasn’t hitless against Hernandez, but they remained scoreless throughout his eight-inning reign, disappointed when he worked himself out of jams in several innings.

In the third Harwich’s Andrew Giobbi and Tommy Medica each singled successfully. With two men on and two outs in an as yet scoreless game, Hernandez kept his wits about him, striking out Brandon Belt.

Such was the case in the sixth, this time with Medica and Belt on base and no outs on the board. Hernandez went to work, forcing fly outs from Joe Sanders and Brian Kemp before striking out Chase Leavitt swinging.

While Cotuit and Harwich had their share of hits, the game remained scoreless until the seventh when Cotuit recorded a run.

After Dallas Poulk was hit by a pitch, Sam Brown reached on a fielder’s choice bunt. Poulk then made his way to third on a throwing error before crossing the plate on a sacrifice fly from Cotuit catcher Robert Stock: 1-0 

Then came the agonizing ninth inning. Sanders opened by clocking a hit to right field, which was missed on a dive attempt by Cotuit’s Evan Crawford, turning a single into a triple.

At that point Roberts opted to pull Hernandez, sending in Drew Storen to close, hoping to see some of Storen’s strikeout magic.

Instead, Storen pegged his first batter, Kemp, before walking Leavitt to load the bases. A deep single to right center from pinch hitter Mark Fleury proved the game-ender, bringing in two runs for Harwich for the win.

As Harwich celebrated across the field, Roberts praised his Cotuit team for their 2008 season, after which teary fans, players and host families offered consolation and congratulations on making it so far.

“I am so blessed for this experience,” said Hernandez.

Asked for his final thoughts, Roberts wiped his own tears before speaking.

“I am thankful for every one of these young men’s lives,” he said. “The way that they took us to the finals, which was just the love of the game and a respect for the game. That’s this team. It was such a joy to share the summer with them.”



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