By Roy Reiss
Here we go again!
The 2016 Cape Cod Baseball League season is just around the corner as the Kettleers are going to start their 70th season in the prestigious league June 10th.
The beauty of it all is that 10 teams all have hope right now They start even with records of 0-0 and wish to emerge with the Arnold Mycock Trophy sometime in mid August. There’ll be plenty of speed bumps along the way as players come and go during the grueling 8 week stretch. New stars and friendships will emerge, yet the one constant will be the beauty, elegance and serenity of Lowell Park, that jewel of a baseball diamond situated in the heart of Cotuit.
Coach Mike Roberts and General Manager Bruce Murphy have worked the previous 10 months putting the roster together. There’ll be last minute deletions and additions as some players will have late season injuries or will be selected to play for Team USA. Others will be delayed at the start of the season as they compete in the NCAA Baseball Tournament with their collegiate team.
So what can the Kettleers faithful expect? Lets start with the knowns.
Catcher Tim Susnara (Oregon) will return for his second season. The hard nosed receiver will be an anchor behind the plate while having the versatility to play the corner infield positions. Outfielder Jeren Kendall (Vanderbilt) is having a sensational sophomore year with the Commodores and hopefully will return once his team finishes with NCAA play. These two are the knowns, the only returning players from the 2015 squad.
High praise has been heaped on shortstop Clay Fisher (Cal Santa Barbara) as he’s being touted as one of the best fielding shortstops in the collegiate ranks. He’s already being compared to former Kettleers Deven Marerro (2010-11) and Kyle Holder (2014) which is pretty good company to be in. By the way, thru 36 collegiate games this season Fisher had only committed one error.
Everyone knows Coach Roberts likes to have a go-go offense that features great speed and excellent base running. Just imagine what he can do with Alonzo Jones (Vanderbilt) who is one of the fastest players in the country and is expected to play 2nd base.
What would a Kettleers team look like without a submarine pitcher? 2016 will be no different from many of the past editions as Coach Roberts will call on Ryan Rigby (Mississippi State), the latest in the long line of Kettleers subies.
Then there’s the freshman All Americans that’ll dot the Kettleers roster this summer. They include A.J. Balta (Oregon), Bobby Holmes (Coastal Carolina), Matt Ladrech (California), Jake Bivens (Michigan) and Cory Voss (McLellan JC) .
Surely there’ll be some surprises along the way, a player who no one expected to shine that emerges from the roster. That’s the way things usually happen during the 44 games of the CCBL campaign and that’s why we can’t wait for the action to start!
A personal thought on the late Arnold Mycock. He’s been described as humble, a selfless volunteer, a one of a kind gem, decent, and never looking for anything in return. Multiply all those descriptions times ten and it still can’t adequately describe Arnold Mycock’s contributions to the Cape League and the Cotuit Kettleers. Watching a Kettleers game with him was an experience all baseball fans should have. He’d score the game, watch intently, and quietly digest all the nuances of what he was watching. He had an unbelievable memory and could recall almost every former player, their position and a highlight from their career. Arnold also had the ability to make every volunteer feel important and contributing to the cause regardless of what they did. His presence at Lowell Park, whether in the 3rd base bleachers or in later years in a chair along the first base fence, made everything seem right while the action unfolded. Arnold Mycock will be missed by anyone whoever came in contact with him, and his impact on the Kettleers and their fans will last forever.
A special tip of the cap to those Sturgis High baseball players who helped clean up Lowell Park on a chilly April weekend. These future stars weeded the infield dirt area, swept out the dugouts, picked up trash, removed leaves from the bullpens and just worked hard to make the Cape’s jewel shine brightly.
A few interesting items from the 2015 class. Catcher Will Haynie (Alabama) appeared to hit his stride at the plate late last year when he hit .389 over a 9 game stretch and knocked in a run in each of those 9 games for the Kettleers. However, Haynie hasn’t found that same groove in his junior year at Bama as his average had dipped to .182 entering the final quarter of the season … Outfielder Gene Cone (South Carolina) was named National Player of the Week by Collegiate Baseball and Player of the Week in the SEC. Cone is the leading hitter for the Gamecocks and had a 27 game hitting streak … and pitcher Justin Dunn (Boston College) has been a shining light for the Eagles with a 1.57 ERA.
Our quote of the month is a repeat from almost 3 years ago. House parent and National Anthem singer extraordinaire, Nikki Chevalier said, “I’m going to cry … I’m so sad!” when Mike Ford (Princeton) who had stayed with the Chevaliers left to sign with the Yankees. Now I say “I’m going to cry … I’m so sad” as the Chevaliers have left Cotuit for North Dakota which means no more Nikki and no more Gabby for the 7th inning Take Me Out to the Ballgame!
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.