09/11/2010 9:26 AM
Article By: Ashley CrosbyBy ASHLEY CROSBY
COTUIT ----- The Arnold Mycock Trophy will be making its way around Cotuit this winter after the Kettleers used a phenomenal pitching staff and a strong defense to capture the Cape Cod Baseball League title.
The season got off to a rough beginning for the Kettleers, with field manager Mike Roberts experiencing his first 0-2 start in the Cape League. As the season progressed, the pitching staff began dominating the opposition.
“We’re not a slugging team,” Roberts said.
But he said they would win with base-running, pitching, and small-ball.
Despite struggling to find a closer and settle on a rotation in the early portion of the season, the Kettleers capitalized on their stellar pitching staff and remained in the playoff race throughout the summer. Although they secured a spot early in the playoffs, they entered the postseason on a six-game losing streak.
“We had two (stretches) where we won five in a row,” general manager Bruce Murphy said. “Then we struggled a bit, were a little inconsistent with our hitting. But overall, the pitching was great. We knew that (would be the case) from Day One.”
Leading the charge was ace right-hander Austin Wood (St. Petersburg), whose mid-90s fastball left opponents staring as he racked up 25 strikeouts and tied Bourne’s Garvin Grayson (Vanderbilt) for lowest ERA in the league (0.74). Wood and AJ Achter (Michigan State) teamed up to provide a 1-2 punch throughout the season.
Strikeout king Nick Tropeano (Stony Brook) fanned 44 in 55 innings, and delivered the final blow to the Y-D Red Sox by recording the last out that clinched the championship.
“He is Long Island-tough,” Roberts said.
Matt Murray (Georgia Southern) and Brady Rodgers (Arizona State) were steady for the Kettleers. Matt Andriese (UC- Riverside), a reliable middle reliever during the regular season, pitched a complete-game shutout against Y-D in the opener of the championship series.
Offensively, Chad Wright (Kentucky), Levi Hyams (Georgia), Deven Marrero (Arizona State) and playoff MVP Jordan Leyland (UC-Irvine) made the biggest impact.
The Kettleers also boasted a two-time home run derby champion in Paul Hoilman (East Tennessee), who won the Cape League All-Star Game Home Run contest and the inaugural College World Series Home Run Derby.
“You need to have some breaks during the season, and you need to stay healthy,” Murphy said. “We had a great group of kids. And winning the trophy? It’s always something you look forward to.”