By Katie Vieth
June 25, 2004
LOWELL PARK — It was thought that the Kettleers needed an offense to stay competitive.
So what would Tony Sipp’s seven-inning, eight strikeout, one-run outing be called?
But it wasn’t just Sipp contributing to a 2-1 win over the Chatham A’s. On the first pitch of the inning, Bryan Harris hit a single to center field (hs second hit of the night; he would go 2-4). Justin Maxwell followed with a single up the third-base line after fouling two pitches off. Harris would advance to second on the single, and to third on an error on pitcher Andrew Miller that would allow Chase headley to reach first (Maxwell would advance to second on the error). With only one out–a fly-out bunt by Ben Ingold–and the bases loaded, hope began to liven the Kettleer crowd. But no runs would score, as Nathan Emrick would fly out to center, and Calvin Beamon would ground out to first.
Then came the Chatham at-bat.
Pitcher Tony Sipp would get a 2-1 count before Chris Getz hit a double to left-center. A Justin Maxwell error would allow Getz to reach third, and a Johnny Defendis fly out to left would allow Getz to score. Sipp would end the inning with a strikeout to Herm Demmink. (Of note: as Getz reached third on an error, the run does nothing to Sipp’s ERA.)
Kettleers fans hoped for another run–or just someone to get on base, as the bases stolen by this year’s Kettleers is amazing by anyone’s description–but after having first and third occupied (again!) with only one out and having no runs score in the sixth, and three outfield fly outs, it was easy to see that we were so close to getting that hit, but close doesn’t cut it in the Cape League.
So, in the middle of the eighth, the Kettleers decided to swap pitcher Tony Sipp for Michael Koehler and put Sipp in the DH spot, meaning that Sipp would bat first in the bottom of the eighth. But the Chatham coach John Schiffner thought otherwise, and protested the Kettleer lineup change. So the coaches pled their case, the umpires looked up the situation in the rulebook, and the fans yelled, “Play ball!”. It took a bit, but eventually the change was allowed and we began to play. Koehler then had a relatively uneventful eighth inning, and soon the top of the inning was done, and it was on to the bottom.
With fans cheering (and quite possibly a Chatham bench still grumbling) Tony Sipp connected with the first pitch Will Fenton threw and managed to reach first on a fielding error on Matt Camp. Fenton would then walk Geoff Strickland; both Sipp and Strickland would advance on an error on Fenton. With second and third occupied, Dennis Diaz made the first out of the inning by grounding out 4-3, but not before Sipp had touched home to tie the game. Strickland would advance to third, but nothing would come of it, as the next two batters would strike out swinging.
In the top of the ninth, Ryan Cahalan was again called upon to close the game. He threw about ten pitches, and each batter he faced grounded out.
Then came the bottom of the ninth. The score was still tied at 1-1. Justin Maxwell was to lead off, followed by Ben Ingold, Chase Headley, and Nathan Emerick. Maxwell, the 6’5″ center fielder from Maryland stepped up to the plate. After working the count 2-1, Maxwell hit the ball into the outfield, and ended up with a double. Ingold then got into the batter’s box, but a popped-up bunt failed to advance Maxwell from second. Pitcher Will Fenton then intentionally walked Headley to get to Emrick. Now the Kettleers’ catcher, Emerick had a very unproductive time at the plate; he grounded out, then had a pop-up to go 0-3 in the game. But he was not swayed by his previous at-bats. He fouled the first pitch off, waited past two balls, swung and missed, then had another foul ball before he…had a huge hit to center field. Maxwell took off like a shot from second, and the crowd roared because they knew it was over. A walk-off hit by Nathan Emrick, a 2-1 victory by the Kettleers. Now that our blood pressure has become close to normal again, Kettleers fans have something to celebrate.