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Cape League Flashback – Cotuit, Hyannis, 1985-89

Pat Hope - 2004 Cape League Hall of Fame
09/22/2020 5:10 AM

Article By: Mike Richard

As the decade of the 1980s came to a close for Cape League baseball in the town of Barnstable, the village teams had one championship, (Cotuit, 1985) and two trips to the finals (Cotuit, 1986 and Hyannis, 1989) to show for their efforts.

Cotuit (1985-89)
  Year    W-L-T    Place    Playoffs
1985    28-14        2nd    Won Cape League championship
1986    23-18-1     2nd    Lost in finals to Orleans, 2-0
1987    22-18        4th     Lost in semifinals to Harwich, 2-1
1988    21-18        3rd     Did not qualify
1989    23-20-1    3rd     Did not qualify

After setting a new league record for road wins with 17, Cotuit finished second during the regular season and then beat Harwich in a semifinal series plagued by the elements. After pitcher Grady Hall won the opener over Harwich, 6-3, game two was postponed by rain. When the game was played the following night, it was called due to fog with Cotuit up 6-3 with one out in the fourth. Scheduled as a doubleheader the next night with a new start, Harwich won game two 1-0 before Cotuit came back to win the nightcap and the series, 10-2.
Chatham won the opener of the finals despite a fine nine strikeout effort from Kettleer hurler Chuck Howard. Bill Masse’s two-run homer in the eighth closed the gap but Cotuit fell, 4-3. The Kettleers rebounded in game two as Hall shutout Chatham over eight innings for an 8-1 final. Greg Vaughn and Kyle Gordon hit two-run homers and Ramos added a two-run triple.
In the deciding third game, Vaughn’s first inning solo home run got Cotuit on the board and they scored five runs over the first four frames and went on to win, 5-2. Ruben Amaro, Jr. hit a three-run homer and Kyle Gordon a run-scoring hit to support the pitching effort of Steffan Majer who had 11 strikeouts. Hall, who won two playoff games on the mound, was the series MVP.

    A second straight second-place finish for the Kettleers paired them with Wareham in the first round of the playoffs. The first game of the playoffs turned into a two-day marathon as the squads battled to a 3-3 tie, suspended in the 13th inning by darkness. When the game was resumed the next day as part of a doubleheader, Bill Masse’s ground out plated the winning run in the 14th inning as the Kettleers prevailed, 4-3. Wareham won the second game 2-1. Then the next night the game would again be suspended due to darkness in the midst of a 4-4 tie in the tenth inning. Cotuit would win the game in the 12th as Danny Simonds drove home the deciding run to make a winner out of pitcher Chris Carpenter.
    In the finals, Orleans won its first title since 1957 with a two-game sweep. After a 9-4 win in game one, Mike Ignasiak spun a shutout for the Cards in a 3-0 series-clinching victory.

    Harwich took the first game of the semifinals 4-2 before Cotuit came back to win a 9-8 eight-inning thriller in game two. Down 6-1, the Kettleers tied the game on doubles by Frank Carey, Tim Naehring, Howard Prager and Rob Lambria. Jeff Riggs and Carey clubbed solo home runs and in the tenth, Jerry Brooks drove in Naerhing with the winning run. The Kettleers then lost a heartbreaker in game three, 1-0 as Nelson Arriete gave up six hits and struck out eight, while Cotuit wasted a spectacular two-hit pitching effort of Tony Charon.

Hyannis (1985-89)
  Year    W-L-T    Place    Playoffs
1985    17-24-1    6th    Did not qualify
1986    17-24-1    7th    Did not qualify
1987    25-16       3rd    Lost in semifinals to Y-D, 2-0
1988    26-17       2nd    Lost in semifinals to Wareham, 2-0
1989    24-20       2nd    Lost in finals to Y-D, 2-0

It was a record-setting season for Hyannis ace Pat Hope who pitched a record 13 complete games, earned a record 11 wins and tossed the first-ever perfect game in Cape League history over Wareham, 10-0. Unfortunately, his success on the mound did not carry over into the playoffs against Yarmouth-Dennis as the Mets lost in two straight games.
In the opening game, Hope allowed eleven hits and eleven runs and struck out only one batter in an 11-9 loss. Joey (Albert) Belle and Robin Ventura homered for Hyannis, while Mickey Morandini had a home run for Y-D. The Red Sox also took the second game, 5-3.

The Cape League went into divisional play this season and Hyannis launched an amazing 12-game winning streak at the end of the season to capture the second of two playoff spots in the Western Division. However, once there Wareham ended up winning two straight in the semifinals, 7-1 and 3-2.
Future major leaguers who were on the Hyannis team that season were Jeromy Burnitz, Kirk Dressendorfer and Kevin Morton.

    Hyannis returned to the playoff finals for the first time since 1982 before falling in two straight to Yarmouth-Dennis.
    In the semifinals, the Mets beat Bourne 3-1 in the first game on a Mike Juhl four-hitter as two of their three runs were unearned. Game two was an extra inning thriller as pitcher J. J. Munoz went all 14 innings and scattered seven hits with nine strikeouts in a 4-3 win. The game-winning run was scored on a Bourne error.
Unfortunately, the offense for the Mets went missing in the finals as Y-D emerged with wins of 9-0 and 6-1. It would be the first of two straight championships for the Red Sox, who would also win it all in 1990.

Mike Richard is the official historian of the Cape Cod Baseball League and can be contacted by email at [email protected].