One of the fun aspects of being a Kettleers fan is the opportunity to follow your favorite player’s future path once they finish competing that summer. Every collegiate star that comes to the picturesque Cape hamlet has one goal in mind, showcase my talent, impress the many scouts and hopefully someday make it to the major leagues. Some achieve their goal, some don’t. The path is winding and quite difficult with many speed bumps along the way.
Last month one of those former Kettleers found his way back to New England, signing a one-year contract with the Boston Red Sox. Remember Matt Andriese from the championship 2010 team. Andriese’s major league journey has had stops in Tampa Bay, Arizona, and in 2019 Los Angeles. Through it all, the California native still has a vivid memory of his time ten years earlier in Cotuit. “I had a great time playing ball on the Cape,” said the 31-year-old right-handed pitcher. “Playing against the best college players in the country helped me get drafted higher. Also loved the environment of the fields we played on and the true baseball fans.”
Andriese appeared in 11 games for the Kettleers that championship season, making 6 starts and completing 38.1 innings. He wound up with a 3.52 ERA while walking 7 and striking out 25. However, one game stands out and is a moment he and Kettleers fans will never forget. Andriese was tabbed by Coach Mike Roberts to pitch the third and deciding game of the 2010 championship series against Yarmouth-Dennis at Red Wilson Field.
“I’ll never forget winning the Cape League championship in 2010. Starting game 3 of the championship series and throwing a complete game shutout will always be my most memorable game. Going on the road and facing the Y-D Red Sox, as underdogs and coming away with that championship,” recalled the University of California Riverside product.
“Matt pitched one of the top 5 games I have ever witnessed in my 45 plus years of coaching at YD in the playoffs in 2010,” added Roberts. “His control was MLB caliber as he sank the fastball into righties and away from lefties with an excellent change and short sharp slider. He threw 85 strikes out of 120 pitches, gave up only 3 hits, struck out 4 while walking only one.”
Yet there’s quite a story behind Andriese getting the nod to start that final championship game. His house parents that summer, Jen Barth and Mike Pasic, remember how it all unfolded.
“The night before the championship game he was sitting on the couch talking with my husband Mike saying how he so badly wanted the ball. He wanted to pitch that game. Mike told him if you want that ball then text Coach Roberts and tell him you want it! Worse thing he could say is no! Well, things couldn’t have worked out better. He pitched a phenomenal game!” stated Barth. Added Roberts, “His text came from the heart, it was different. It wasn’t ‘I want to pitch.’ His words were ‘Coach, if you give me this opportunity, I think I’m capable of helping the team.’”
That championship game is just one of many important memories that Andriese recalls relative to his Cotuit experience. “The relationships with players, coaches, and host families are what stand out the most to me,” he stated. “Having host families like Jen Barth and Mike Pasic that truly care about us as players and invite us into their homes is what makes Cotuit so special. I still have interaction with them and keep in contact with their kids as well.”
Of course, the feeling is mutual. “Oh how we love Matt,” exclaimed Barth. “He became a huge part of our family! When he pitched, I paced like he was one of my own. That feeling doesn’t leave when your player goes home…it stays with you always! We love Matt! Always have, always will. So happy he’s coming to Boston!”
Ten years after performing at picturesque Lowell Park in beautiful Cotuit, Andriese will now call home iconic Fenway Park and he’s quite excited about his newest opportunity. “Playing in front of Boston fans as a member of the Red Sox instead of the opposing team will be awesome. Also very excited for the opportunity to show my wife and kids where I played ball in Cotuit, and explore the Cape with them.”
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 ESPN.