By Roy Reiss
It’s the end of June and Lowell Park is quiet. There’s no crack of the bats. There’s no “Have a Hit”. The stands are empty. The Kettleers Store is closed. There’s no clinics for youngsters. There’s no smell of hot dogs being barbecued. No one is hollering “get your 50-50 raffle tickets.” The electricity and excitement that’s usually emanating from the Cape’s jewel of a ball park just isn’t there. How is the loyal, passionate fan base of this 17 time Cape League Champion supposed to make it through the long, hot summer?
Maybe we can relive one last time the memories of the past summer, that championship 2019 season, and hope it can get our minds off the emptiness we presently feel. Close your eyes, relax and dream of that 15 inning masterpiece that was Game One of the Championship Series.
Here’s Coach Mike Roberts to help us remember. “I can still give you a play by play, not as good as Sam Neidermann, our fantastic broadcaster, but I get pumped when thinking about all the incredible plays & moments of that evening. The night was electric from start to finish, one of the most enjoyable games to be a part of in my entire career.
I had many special moments with my son at ball parks around the country. However, this time it was with my daughter. Angie had flown from Dallas for the championship series. She arrived about the second inning after a three hour taxi ride from Logan Airport. I saw her for the first time in the 10th inning. There was something uplifting about seeing her standing along the edge of the dugout behind the bat boys. No words were exchanged just a father-daughter connect. Then, I scanned the stands and viewed our fans hanging tough as they always do. Those few seconds of looking outside the fence was inspiring. Just gave me more energy & a renewed focus to do all I could to help our players on every pitch.
About that time, I could feel the TEAM’s energy jump. Maybe it was the beautiful double play to close out the bottom of 9th inning. But, I also think there was energy tossed to the players by host families & others that loved this TEAM.
The 15 innings was an Elite TEAM Effort!! Every player in a Kettleers maroon jersey contributed whether playing in the game or helping from the bench. Each assistant coach, athletic trainers, bat boys, and Cotuit fans willed that game into the win column.
Our pitching battled! Every pitcher! Richard Brereton, with six innings of shutout relief & an incredible performance in the bottom of the ninth inning was almost a movie like scene. Then, Kyle Nicolas closing the game with major league stuff in the bottom of the 15th. The hitting was clutch! We jumped out in the lead early but still had to score two runs to come back in the top of the ninth to tie versus the hardest thrower in the league. Some pitches reaching 100 Mph! Amazing performance by the offensive players. Finally, in the top of the 15th with two outs, the MVP of the league Nick Gonzalez, came thru with one of his many timely hits in the summer of 2019 to give us the lead. I can still hear the crack of the bat. Rock solid on the sweet spot of a wood bat. I knew without even looking at the flight of the ball Nick had just given the TEAM the game winning hit!
When the game was completed at midnight the TEAM huddled. All tired but so ready to play at home in a few hours. I ask if they wanted to be at the park for their regular pre-game practice at noon? There was no hesitation in their eyes or voice. Yes, we will be there. I knew then this TEAM was winning a Cape League Championship at Lowell Park on Aug. 9, 2019.”
Feeling any better? It helps get your mind off the present and into the past. It was 24 hours to remember. A championship celebration and accepting the Arnold Mycock trophy at the home park, the place where Arnold Mycock started the Kettleers tradition some 74 years ago.
“For me, I was able to relax around the 7th inning with the TEAM having a 10-3 lead & Casey Schmitt available to close the game out. I enjoyed taking in a panoramic view the last three innings of around 4000 fans at Lowell Park, the largest crowd in the history of Cotuit. What a beautiful site.
My celebration kind of came before the game was actually over. I watched our fans cheer on this incredible group of young men. I was thrilled for our players, the community, and all our faithful fans. Those were some special moments that will always resonate in my heart.
The trophy presentation was for the players, assistant coaches, support staff, board of directors, and our fans. There were children running all over the playing surface trying to find their favorite players to hug or congratulate. I enjoyed watching everyone celebrate. I even could have fun with the players, especially Cody & Chris our two players who grew up in Cotuit, giving me an ice water bath.
The Arnold Mycock Championship Trophy has a special place in my heart. Mr. Mycock was involved in my hiring and supported me as a coach through good games, bad games, and never wavered in that support. Lifting the Mycock Trophy on the field at Lowell Park will always be a cherished moment in my career,” said an emotional Coach Roberts.
Wake up, we’re back to the present time. I know you’re already feeling better and hopefully your spirits are lifted and you’re looking forward to next year when the beloved Kettleers will once again make Lowell Park come alive.
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.com.