After a disappointing 2011 season resulting in a last place finish, the Cotuit Kettleers are back this summer with nearly an entire new contingent of players.
Only one player from the 2011 roster will return this summer. Southpaw Kevin Ziomek (Vanderbilt) from Amherst, MA will return to his home state for summer ball. Ziomek went 2-3 last season with a 4.36 ERA. This season at Vanderbilt, Ziomek has two career bests with eight shutout innings striking out eight against San Diego, and he struck out a career-high nine batters in a win over Rhode Island in early March.
The Kettleers infield will be led by a talented group of incoming juniors. James Roberts (USC) has the collegiate summer league experience having played for the Mankato MoonDogs of the Northwoods league last season. Roberts started every game as a freshman for the Trojans, batting .274. Other infielders include Michael Benjamin (Arizona State), who was hitting .298 in his sophomore season at ASU. His first career hit as a freshman was a homerun against BYU.
Jacob Valdez (San Jose State) is hitting .287 so far this season. During his freshman year, he hit .307 with 59, 10 doubles and 24 RBIs. As a freshman he had the third-most stolen bases on the team. Jacob May (Coastal Carolina) was drafted in the 39th round of the 2010 draft by the Cincinnati Reds, becoming the first player from Lakota West’s history to be drafted out of high school. He comes from an athletic family of MLB stars. His grandfather, Lee May Sr., spent 18 seasons in the major leagues, and is in the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame.
Rounding out this talented crop of infielders is Adam Nelubowich from Washington State and Tim Kiene of the Maryland Terps. Keane ranked sixth in the conference last season as a freshman with a .352 batting average in league games.
The outfield will be run by an energetic group of SEC studs. Tony Kemp of Vanderbilt was named to the 2011 College World Series All-Tournament team, and was seen as an outstanding freshman by his coach, bringing a great spirit to the game. Raph Rhymes (LSU) had a successful 2011 season making the SEC Academic Honor Roll. He was also named Louisiana Newcomer of the Year, and to the All-Louisiana First-Team. Rhymes was drafted in the 40th round of the 2011 MLB draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates and led LSU with 77 hits last season.
Aramis Garcia (Florida International) and Cael Brockmeyer (CSU Bakersfield) will share the duty behind the plate. Brockmeyer, a native of Martha’s Vineyard, MA, played in the Alaska Baseball League where he was selected as an Alaska Baseball League All-Star. He was also the ABL’s All-Star Game MVP. Garcia has already developed his home to second base throwing time. His times range from 1.85 to 1.95 seconds, already above the major league average.
The Kettleers will send eight new righties and one new southpaw to the mound. Dusty Isaacs (Georgia Tech) has a great fastball and breaking ball and was drafted by the Pirates in the 50th round of the 2010 draft. In high school, he led the state of Ohio in passing yards. Other pitchers looking to contribute include Joe Broussard (LSU), Kyle Finnegan (Texas State), Pete Nagel (Georgia) and Tyler Beede (Vanderbilt). Beede, a Massachusetts local from Auburn, MA, was the 21st overall pick in the 2011 MLB draft, and was the lone first-rounder not to sign.
Dan Slania (Notre Dame) was drafted in the 42nd round of the 2011 draft by the Boston Red Sox. Rounding out the righty talent is Mike Ford (Princeton) a freshman All American, and Randy LeBlanc (Tulane) picked by the Marlins in the 16th round of the 2010 draft.
The only new lefty who will take the mound is Cameron Griffin (Stetson). In 2009, Griffin helped lead his high school team to a 33-1 record, state championship, No. 6 Baseball America ranking and ESPN No. 1 national ranking.
Head coach Mike Roberts will return for his ninth season and will look to lead Cotuit to the playoffs for the sixth time in nine seasons. There is no doubt that this crop of players has the talent to bring Cotuit back to championship status.