for immediate release: 29 April, 2006
Cotuit Kettleers 2006 Season Preview
Cotuit Kettleers Expected to Pack a Whallop in 2006
COTUIT, Mass. -- Every year the best players in college baseball flock to the Cape and every season seems to bring more excitement. These words couldn’t ring truer than in the small seaside village of Cotuit. The Kettleers’ quaint little home of Lowell Park, just seconds away from the inner harbor, offers everything a true baseball fan could want. And what’s not to love? Fans of all ages can essentially live out the ultimate baseball experience, socializing with players during the games and analyzing the game from the benches right behind home plate, attempting to offer some Peter Gammons-like insight to family and friends. Not to mention that fans have the privilege of witnessing the future of professional baseball develops right under their noses. Besides all the great things the ballpark provides, the Kettleers will also field a team this summer.
The 2006 Cotuit Kettleers may surprise fans with a lineup full of power. Since the beginning of head coach Mike Roberts’ tenure in 2004, fans have been accustomed to the go-go Kettleers flying around the bases every chance they get. The 2006 Kettleers, however, should offer more fire power than in previous years, but expect Coach Roberts to stick to his guns with his aggressive, small-ball style of play.
The team will return three key players from last year’s playoff group: Julio Borbon (Tennessee), 2005 team MVP Sean Gaston (Notre Dame), and much improved left-handed reliever Daniel Moskos (Clemson).
Borbon has been red-hot this spring for the Volunteers with a team-leading batting average of .379. He also currently leads the SEC in hits with 64.
Gaston provided timely hitting and some great plays behind the plate last year for the Kettleers and will be a vital asset to the team again in 2006.
Moskos saw tremendous improvement as a Kettleer where he “learned to pitch and not just throw” and it has showed this year so far with Clemson. He has recorded seven saves thus far in the spring for the Tigers and has become one of coach Jack Leggett’s go-to guys out of the bullpen.
Along with some great returning players, the Kettleers have landed some tremendous young talent from several great college baseball programs. Most notably, James Madison sophomore outfield Kellen Kulbacki leads the nation in home runs with 20, a total that has already catapulted him into the record books at JMU. Part of his magical season includes a three-homer performance against George Mason.
Others making headlines this season include freshman Kyle Russell from national champion Texas. Russell has posted a monster .481 batting average in 11 games and has been named Big XII player of the week.
J.T. Wise of LSU has also been making a name for himself in the SEC. Wise leads his team in batting as a freshman with a .355 batting average.
The rest of the Cotuit lineup includes T.J. Steele (Arizona), Jeff Dunbar (UC Riverside), Reese Havens (South Carolina), Justin Smoak (South Carolina), Tony Delmonico (Tennessee), and Brett Lilley (Notre Dame).
The pitching staff will be headlined by 6-foot-9 lefty Dave Duncan of Georgia Tech, Tim Ladd (Georgia Tech), Charles Blackmon (Young Harris), Mike Cisco (South Carolina), Josh Lindblom (Tennessee), James Simmons (UC-Riverside), Jordan Street (Texas and brother of Oakland Athletics closer Huston Street), T.J. Hose (East Carolina), Jordan Meaker (Dallas Baptist), and Corey Kluber (Stetson).
In the 2005 Major League Draft, Duncan was selected in the 14th round by Minnesota but elected to play ball at Georgia Tech instead. This season for the Ramblin’ Wreck he has recorded a 5-1 record with 36 strikeouts, currently good for third on the team.
Kluber has also posted a 5-1 record thus far for the Stetson Hatters, striking out 42 batters. James Simmons from UC-Riverside has been very impressive as well. All he has done is go 7-3, recording a team-leading 68 strikeouts in 73 innings pitched along with a team-leading ERA.
After a tough playoff loss to rival Bourne in 2005, coach Roberts and company will surely give their fans something to cheer about as they attempt to take things one step further in 2006. How far the team goes is up to the players, but one thing is for sure – along the way, coach Roberts will have the Kettleers off and running from the first pitch.
By Nicholas Mucci, CCBL Intern, [email protected]