story by Steve McCarthy
July 28, 2010
FENWAY PARK, BOSTON – Each of the five Cotuit Kettleers selected to participate in Wednesday’s Cape Cod Baseball League All-Star Game festivities at Fenway Park were rewarded for their summer-long efforts with a memorable night.
Even hitting coach Scott Gurss made his mark as the Western Division squad topped the East 5-0 and Cotuit slugger Paul Hoilman won the Home Run Hitting Contest. More than 10,000 fans attended.
Southpaw Gurss pitched to right-handed Hoilman for the two-round derby. Last year Cotuit catcher Cameron Rupp (Texas) used Gurss’ assistance in the contest, resulting in a runner-up finish. Gurss also served as third base coach for the West during the three innings in which all five runs were scored. A few gutsy calls of his paid off to break open what started as a pitching-dominated affair.
Kettleers first baseman Jordan Leyland (UC-Irvine) had a pair of singles, the second of which drove in the West’s fifth run, and outfielder Chad Wright (Kentucky) singled in his second of three at-bats. Both were named starters for the game.
“I came out here with a goal of just to play my best, and now making the All-Star’s has exceeded that goal,” Leyland said.
“It’s a big honor,” Wright said. “In this league especially, being the best league in the country. There’s a lot of deserving people out there and I’m just glad I got the opportunity to play here.”
Austin Wood (St. Petersburg JC) earned the start on the mound and showed off his 95 mile-per-hour heater in a one-hit inning. Each squad selected nine pitchers to work no more than one frame.
Reliever A.J. Achter (Michigan St.) allowed a pair of two-out baserunners in the seventh but escaped unscathed. His .90 earned run average in 12 appearances for the Kettleers is bettered only by closer Ryan Duke (Oklahoma), who has not surrendered a run in four appearances.
“It’s such a privilege (to play at Fenway), and you never know if it will ever happen again,” Achter said.
Prior to the game, Hoilman put on a long ball display which preserved his title as college baseball’s “Home Run King”. Hoilman also won the Home Run Derby at the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska, earlier this summer, facing some of the same
contestants but using an aluminum bat.
“I’m not calling myself a defending champ or anything, but just to kind of have that target is a good feeling,” Hoilman said.
Hoilman advanced to the final round of Wednesday’s contest along with Bourne’s Daniel Bowman (Coastal Carolina) and Chatham’s Ricky Oropesa (USC) as the only three of six contestants to homer in the first round. Hoilman’s third and winning home run of the second round cleared the Green Monster just right of Fisk Pole and came while down to his final out.
“It was a lot tougher here than at Omaha,” Hoilman said. “I was pretty nervous and, luckily, (the last one) had just enough.”
The junior from East Tennessee State was selected in the 49th round of this year’s Major League Baseball Draft by the Tampa Bay Rays.