Written by Kathleen Szmit
It’s been an exciting contest so far in the race for the Barnstable Patriot Cup. After four intense games, Hyannis has taken a commanding 3-1 lead over the Cotuit Kettleers. With Game 5 fast approaching, fans are surely wondering who will take the trophy.
Game 1 was close but the Mets managed a 4-3 win thanks to doubles from Chris Dominguez, Ryan Eden and Casey Frawley, who broke his second bat of the season at the game.
Game 2 saw Hyannis take a 2-0 lead in the chase with their 5-2 win on July 6. Dominguez clocked a beautiful two-run homer moments into the first inning to give Hyannis a quick 2-0 lead, setting the tone for the game.
Hyannis’ remaining runs were brought in on hits from Eden and Paulsen, with Paulsen’s hit bringing in Frawley and Dale Cornstubble for the win.
Two days later, with thoughts of a sweep in the minds of Mets fans, Cotuit rallied back to claim their first Patriot Cup game win, defeating the Mets 5-2 in Game 3.
Kettleers’ pitcher Nick Hernandez kept the Mets off the board that night until the fifth when Hyannis patched together their first run.
Meanwhile, Cotuit was riding high on a 3-0 lead earned in the second inning when Dallas Poulk smacked a right field double before crossing the plate on a single from teammate Joey Lewis. Then Jeff Schaus hit a high-flying, blazing double to left that Hyannis’s Joey Gonzales was unable to catch.
Cotuit scored again in the seventh when Lewis and Brett Jackson crossed the plate on a Jason Kipnis hit during a bases loaded situation, effectively triumphing over the Mets and preventing a tourney sweep.
Only momentarily stunned by the loss, Hyannis roared back on July 13 with a 6-1 defeat of Cotuit in Game 4 to take a 3-1 lead.
The Mets tallied 10 hits in the game, six of which they converted to runs. Adding to the excitement was home run No. 8 for Dominguez, cementing his spot as Cape League leader with most homers.
Hyannis then erupted for a three-run third, with Trent Ashcraft scoring Matt Nuzzo for the Mets second run of the game. Runs three and four came in on hits from Marcus Jones and Paulsen.
Dominguez brought in Hyannis’s fifth run in the eighth on a hit from Paulsen, with Frawley driving Paulsen in seconds later with a double to cap the scoring at six runs.
Patriot Cup Game 5 is scheduled for July 31 at McKeon Park following All Star Recognition Night at Fenway Park and a break for both teams.
Will Hyannis claim the cup or will Cotuit step it up?
Kathleen Szmit photos
BAT ATCHA! – It looks like the bat is seeking revenge on Cotuit’s Dallas Poulk, but really it’s just falling to the ground after a hit during the Kettleers’ game against Bourne on Tuesday.
Cotuit catches a break
Walk-off win gives Kettleers, fans a kick
When the Cotuit Kettleers hosted the Bourne Braves on Tuesday it was a classic pitcher’s duel. Everyone knows that all great duels must have a victor, and in this case it was Seth Blair, once again pitching a spectacular game for Cotuit and helping to snap a four-game losing streak.
Blair pitched into the ninth inning for Cotuit, allowing just five hits and no runs from the Braves, and striking out four.
Even facing Mark Krauss, league leader in hitting, Blair didn’t waver, holding the left fielder from Ohio University hitless.
Much of the game was hitless for both teams, with Bourne pitcher Nick McCully squaring off powerfully with Blair in a thrilling contest.
As each team came up to bat and was quickly retired by one pitcher or the other, fans craned their necks to see which would break first.
Cotuit had a hit in the first when Brett Jackson doubled down the right field line, but a ground out from Jeff Kobernus followed by a pop fly from Matt Holliman left Jackson stranded.
The Kettleers struck again in the fourth when Kobernus had a hit, again without a run, but were silenced by McCully in the following innings.
Meanwhile, Blair continued working his own magic, allowing hits from Bourne in the second, third, fifth and eighth and preventing any runners from scoring.
Possibly fighting fatigue as the innings wore on, Blair wavered a bit in the top of the ninth, hitting a batter and allowing a powerful hit from Braves’ shortstop Dusty Coleman.
With two outs and two on, Dan Wolford was called into the game to relieve Blair. Definitely feeling the heat but not showing it, Wolford set to work by immediately striking out Bourne’s final batter, Tyler Cannon.
As the game edged into a scoreless bottom of the ninth, fans and officials wondered if extra innings would be needed. Then the Kettleers took their at-bat.
First up was Joey Lewis, cracking a nice double down the left field line. A sacrifice bunt from Jason Kipnis brought Sam Brown, pinch running for Lewis, to third.
With Cotuit now in scoring position, fans were at the edge of their seats in anticipation. Feeling the pressure, Bourne’s relief pitcher Bryce Stowell intentionally walked Jackson, putting two men on with one out.
What followed next baffled every baseball aficionado in the bleachers. When Kobernus’s bat connected with the ball it was the equivalent of the fat lady belting out a solo sung especially for Cotuit.
The Kettler’s hit went directly to Bourne third baseman Cannon, who attempted to throw out Brown, beating feet all the way to home plate.
With his teammates watching intently, Brown dropped to a slide as Bourne’s catcher Brandon Bantz reached to make the tag.
Brown was deemed safe, giving the Kettleers a badly needed 1-0 win, breaking a four-game losing streak and giving them two more points toward Western Division tourney play.
At press time the Kettleers were in fourth place with 33 points in the Western Division standings.
The win marked Blair’s second consecutive shutout, his first coming just a week prior against Harwich.
Cotuit had Wednesday night off and at press time was scheduled to travel to Chatham to face the A’s, before another break tonight prior to the July 26 All-Star game.
Mets regain much-needed momentum
After string of losses, recent wins boost spirits
Kathleen Szmit photos
LEAN MACHINE – Hyannis’s Ben Paulsen prepares to slide back to first before a throw during the Mets’ game against the Brewster Whitecaps on Monday. Paulsen went 2-for-4 in the game, which Hyannis won 5-2.
The battle for first place in the Western Division of the Cape Cod Baseball League is never boring, but it can be quite a struggle.
The Hyannis Mets know this all too well.
After a string of successful games, the boys in blue took a serious stumble, recording seven consecutive losses that took them out of first.
Some speculated that their downfall was the result of too many consecutive games without a break, something field manager Rick Robinson scoffed at.
“Do the soldiers in Iraq get a break?” he asked. “This is baseball. These guys can handle it.”
Like the weather on Cape Cod, though, baseball is an ever-changing sport. Last week the Mets were mired in losses but this week they’ve regained their momentum and are back in the swing of things, having recapturing the Western Division lead.
The proverbial tides turned for Hyannis on Monday when they sailed past the Brewster Whitecaps with a 5-2 win.
When the first inning passed with no hits and no runs, fans were worried the game might be similar to previous outings.
In the second, however, Met Ben Paulsen got things started for Hyannis with a nice single up the middle. Unfortunately a double play by Brewster on a hit from Casey Frawley, followed by a ground out on Ryan Eden, left Paulsen stranded.
No worries, though. Hyannis made quick work of bringing in their first run in the third. After Joey Gonzales reached on a walk, Dale Cornstubble brought him to second on a sacrifice bunt.
Gonzales made it to third on a ground out from Matt Nuzzo before crossing the plate on a solid single from Marcus Jones.
Trent Ashcraft also reached on a walk, but a centerfield fly out from Chris Dominguez brought the inning to a close at Hyannis 1, Brewster 0.
The Mets extended their lead further in an exciting fourth. A heavy-hitting Paulsen came up to bat first, singling to left field. Tensions mounted when Frawley hit into a double play that also took out Paulsen.
With two outs and no one on base, Ryan Eden reached on a single before bravely stealing second. It was a smart move for the Mets as Gonzales, up next, ended up hitting a single to the left, advancing to second on a throwing error that brought Eden in for Hyannis’ second run of the game.
With Gonzales on second and two outs on the board, Cornstubble stepped to the plate, becoming the hero of the game when he clocked a beautiful two-run homer, his first of the season, over the left field fence, giving the Mets a comfortable four-run lead before Nuzzo flied out to close the inning.
When Hyannis bobbled a bit in the fifth, Brewster was able to muster something of a rally, plating two runs, one on a throwing error by Gonzales.
The Mets quickly regrouped and responded, plating their fifth run in the bottom of the fifth.
Hyannis pitcher Graham Stoneburner made quick work of retiring the side in the sixth before being relieved by teammate Matt Ridings in the seventh.
Stoneburner had a stellar game, only allowing four hits and two runs while striking out seven in six innings to earn his second save of the season.
Matt Ridings earned the save for Hyannis, pitching three innings and allowing just two hits and no runs while striking out five.
According to the official league website, Hyannis continued their winning ways on Tuesday, defeating the Harwich Mariners 1-0, and took the night off Wednesday.
At press time Hyannis had 36 points in the Western Division and was vying with Falmouth for first.
The Mets face the Bourne Braves under the lights at McKeon Park tonight at 7 p.m.