08/28/2009 11:27 AM
Cotuit Kettleers 2009 Season Review
Cotuit’s pitching and speed made the difference
By Ashley Crosby CCBL Intern
COTUIT, Mass—For the Cotuit Kettleers, the 2009 season results eerily mirrored their 2008 season. Plagued with injuries, the team made it into the Cape Cod Baseball League championship series, only to lose two straight games to the Bourne Braves, much like last year’s loss to Harwich. But this season was marked with stronger pitching, speed on the basepaths and more All-Star talent.
The Kettleers had two of the top ten pitchers in the league in their starting rotation with right-hander Jake Buchanan (North Carolina St.) and lefty Chad Bell (Walters St. CC). Buchanan, with a 0.84 ERA in 43 innings pitched, was a phenomenal boost to the Kettleers’ defense. Unfortunately, an injury sent him home just as the playoffs were underway. Bell, who signed with the Texas Rangers as the championship series against Bourne began, had a 1.70 ERA and a 3-1 record.
Closer Daniel Tillman (Florida Southern) had a perfect 0.00 ERA for the season, with five saves to his name. Returning pitcher Seth Blair (Arizona St.) had a strong season as well, posting a 2.75 ERA and a 3-2 record, and despite having a 1-4 record, Justin Grimm (Georgia) came on strong in the playoff race, giving one of his better performances of the season with a 10- strikeout, three-hit, one-run, six inning pedrformance against Wareham.
Chris Bisson (Kentucky) thrilled fans as he reached towards a league record of stolen bases in a season. His final season count—37, with the playoffs included—landed 11 shy of the record 48, set by Roy Marsh (Wareham) in 1993.
The Kettleers also sent five players to the CCBL All Star Game, held at Fenway this year. Catchers Cameron Rupp (Texas) and Cody Stanley (UNC Wilmington) were invited, as were Tillman, outfielder Zach Cone (Georgia), and All-Star MVP of the West Zack Cox (Arkansas).
Unfortunately for the Kettleers, they entered the playoffs with just nine position players and without two of their star starting pitchers—Bell and Buchanan. But they worked their counts and made timely hits and outs to beat out Wareham in a one-game elimination round and YD in a best-of-three playoff series—including an 18-4 win at YD to cinch a chance to play Bourne. The team finally ran out of steam though, losing 15-5 and 5-1 to the Braves.
With two second-place seasons in a row, the Kettleers have shown themselves to be major contenders in the league. Their potential has translated despite the low number of returning players, suggesting they’ll be back in the top in 2010 with the speed manager Mike Roberts is fond of recruiting.
Ashley Crosby can be reached at [email protected]