By Roy Reiss
August 8, 2016
Poof. The season is over that quickly. What started June 10th ends the first week in August, and for the first time since 2011, the Kettleers are not in the playoffs. Let’s take a quick look at what we witnessed over the last 8 weeks.
Rough Start — The Kettleers never recovered from their 1-12 start which is a difficult position to work your way out of. Every CCBL team deals with the same issue of permanent players reporting late, and team chemistry is always something that evolves over time. Yet the Kettleers stumbled badly out of the starting gate and simply couldn’t recover.
Road Woes — Once again the Kettleers had their problems winning road games, finishing the season 5-17 at the other 9 venues. That’s not playoff caliber at any level of baseball.
Division Record — You always want to do well within your own division and here again the 2016 Kettleers stumbled. The team finished with a combined 6-17-1 record versus Bourne, Wareham, Falmouth and Hyannis. They did manage to win back the Barnstable Patriot Cup by virtue of a 4-2 record versus Hyannis. However, they finished 0-6 against Bourne and 1-5 against Falmouth and 1-4-1 versus Wareham.
Meaningful Statistics — Baseball is a game of statistics and in the Kettleers case a few areas stood out. Offensively they managed to score 141 runs in 44 games, worst in the league. Mike Roberts’ teams are usually noted for their base running ability, yet they swiped only 34 bases which was 8th best in the league, and they were the 2nd worst in the league caught stealing. It just seemed that with their hitting difficulties they would play more small ball which was simply not the case. Pitching wise the staff seemed to get better as roles were defined, yet the starters rarely went into the 5th, 6th or 7th innings which would ultimately put a great strain on the bullpen to finish games.
Unsung Players — This is quite subjective but Tim Susnara (Oregon) really improved defensively at the catching position as the season progressed. He also delivered several clutch hits to win a handful of games for the struggling Kettleers. A.J. Balta (Oregon) never really found a position to call his own but when given the opportunity to play 2nd base, Balta did a commendable job and delivered some key hits down the stretch for the Kettleers. Finally Ryan Hagan (Mercer) played in 42 games which was the most of any Kettleers. He was very dependable at shortstop early, then moved to 2nd base when Clay Fisher arrived to play short, and finally wound up back at shortstop when Fisher got hurt. While not a standout player, Hagan is a glue type player that every team in every sport should have.
Cute Story — There are so many nice things that occur over the course of a summer with the Kettleers that sometimes go unpublicized. How about Mathew Leopold who was one of the “Here Come the Kettles” youngsters who worked with volunteer Alan Blanchette a few summers back. From there young Mathew participated in the Kettleers clinics that are run every summer. In 2016, Mathew graduated, he became one of the Kettleers dependable bat boys working many games just doing his job. Just one of the nice little stories about a youngster living his dream!
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.