By Roy Reiss
July 11, 2012
As we nudge past the halfway mark of the 44 game season, here’s some observations of what’s transpired, a very little insight, and some rambling thoughts from a very interested observer.
Several CCBL followers have told me that a player returning with the same team rarely ever performs as well in his 2nd year. Not so in the case of Patrick Biondi and Kevin Ziomek of the Kettleers, the only two returning Cotuit players in 2012. Ironically both were just honored the other day being named the Player of the Week and the Pitcher of the Week in the CCBL.
- Biondi, who called Cotuit officials just before the season started and asked for a temporary spot, has really made the most of his opportunity. The speedy Michigan outfielder is the league leader in hitting (.419 average), and has been one of the steadiest performers on the Kettleers roster. His defense in the outfield has also been outstanding, the highlight being a two out assist from left field that nailed the potential lead run at the plate against Bourne recently. In addition he’s been a great example to the other players of what it takes to be successful in the league.
- Ziomek has found the form that made him the Massachusetts High School Player of the Year in 2010 out of Amherst as he led his team to the State Division One title. In his two years at Vanderbilt and last summer in Cotuit, the stylish southpaw has struggled to find the rhythm and mechanics that made him a 10th round pick of Arizona in 2010. Ziomek and Coach Mike Roberts have been working religiously on his leg mechanics in his delivery this summer and the results have really been outstanding. Ziomek has clearly been the Kettleers best pitcher to date and among the league leaders in almost every key category. He’s thrown 22.2 innings, allowed 15 hits, struck out 31 and has an era of 1.19. Scouts talking at a recent game mentioned that if Ziomek continues to show this poise and consistency, he probably is looking at a first or second round draft selection in 2013.
- Here’s the latest in the home run barrage that’s been a hot topic around the CCBL. Coach Roberts, who’s a believer that the new baseballs being used this summer is the reason for why so many round trippers have been slugged (187 thru 22 games in 2012 vs 159 all of 2011), has asked the league to step in and examine the issue. Roberts has conferred with head umpire Sol Yaz and requested the CCBL use the MIT scientific facilities in Boston to compare the 2011 baseballs to the 2012 ones. Stay tuned on this one.
- Questions, questions, questions. Is it true that fans get to Lowell Park at 7:30 AM to secure their seats along the fence near home plate and the left field line? Is there anyone with more passion for their jobs than Kettleers broadcast interns Zach Warren and Seth Bernstein? Wasn’t the Arnold Mycock dedication ceremony last Sunday one of the best highlights of the summer?
- You often hear coaches in all sports talk about the value of team players, individuals who don’t spell team with an I. One of the real nice stories this summer is Billy Bereszniewicz from Lincoln Sudbury and Binghamton. Billy B (shortened to help all PA announcers) was a temporary player with the Kettleers through the month of June and was released earlier this month. Most players would head home and take the rest of the summer off. Not Billy B. He’s around the team every day, making road trips, shagging fly balls during batting practice, doing anything to help out, and rooting his teammates on. Every team needs their share of Billy B’s.
- Talk about hitting the jackpot with a mid season addition, the Kettleers really struck gold with Daniel Aldrich (College of Charleston). When Orleans released him, Firebirds Coach Kelly Nicholson talked with Kettleers GM Bruce Murphy and Coach Roberts in the hopes of finding a comfortable home for Aldrich. In his first 6 games with the Kettleers, Aldrich has hit 4 home runs, knocked in 11 runs and been a spark plug for the Cotuit offense. Arriving at Lowell Park a few hours before the July 4th game after a long flight from Omaha (5:30 am departure, Detroit layover) where he took part in the home run hitting contest, Aldrich grabbed a sandwich, a banana and a quick desert and then blasted a homer in his second plate appearance. He hasn’t stopped hitting since.
- One of the highlights at any park is a visit from baseball guru Peter Gammons. The NESN and MLB analyst recently spent some time at Lowell Park where he had a long chat with Coach Roberts as well as with Bourne’s Colin Moran (UNC). Gammons has always been a huge supporter of the CCBL and tries to spend as much time following league happenings as his busy schedule permits.
- With the season nudging past the halfway point, is it too early to be thinking of who’s the Kettleers MVP? James Roberts (clutch hit after clutch hit)? Biondi? Tony Kemp (table setter and igniter of offense)? Jacob May (15 game hitting streak)? Ziomek possibly?
- The Deven Marrero watch. Thru 16 games the former Kettleers SS and #1 draft pick of the Red Sox is hitting .273 with the Lowell Spinners in Class A action. Marrero has yet to commit an error in the field.
Kettleers Korner will be anything and everything that might interest fans, past and present, about the Kettleers. Roy Reiss, who started his career working for Curt Gowdy Broadcasting, was a former sportscaster on Channel 7 and several radio stations in Boston. His son Mike now covers the Patriots for ESPNBoston.