12/07/2020 9:15 AM
L to R Rob Sennott, Greg King, John Howitt, Mark Sauls, and Graham Taylor
Article By: Mike Richard
The dawning of a new century saw mixed reactions from the Cotuit and Hyannis baseball teams in the Cape Cod League.
For the Kettleers, who previously had dominated postseason play, Cotuit went through a bit of a drought with only one playoff appearance over five years sandwiched in the 2002 season. Meanwhile, Hyannis qualified for the playoffs three of those seasons.
This time period also saw the institution of the Patriot Cup series which was begun back in 2004 during the regime of Barnstable Patriot publisher, the late Rob Sennott and editor David Still. The Patriot Cup is unique to the Cape League because of its Barnstable-wide rivalry. Patriot sportswriter David Curran first pitched the idea of the cup to be awarded to the series winner between the two villages.
As we spend a summer without Cape Cod League baseball, The Barnstable Patriot will continue take a look back at the Cotuit and Hyannis teams and their playoff appearances, this time during the 2000-04 era.
Year W-L Place Playoffs
2000 17-26-0 4th Did not qualify
2001 20-20-4 4th Did not qualify
2002 23-16-5 1st Lost in semifinals to Wareham, 2-1
2003 20-21-2 3rd Did not qualify
2004 20-23-12 3rd Did not qualify
After starting out the season with a record 13 consecutive wins, Cotuit wound up finishing first in the Western Division before things fell apart in the playoffs. In the first round against Wareham, the Kettleers held the lead for a grand total of one inning – when they scored in the 12th inning of game two of a 3-2 victory.
Wareham scored two first inning runs in the opener and held on for a 2-1 victory.
In game three, the Gatemen left little doubt as to who would win the series when they tallied five first inning runs before an out was even registered en route to an 11-6 win. Brian Snyder belted a three-run homer for Cotuit to draw within two runs but it was not enough.
It was a disappointing end to a season that saw league MVP Pete Stonard capture the league's batting championship at .348 with 56 hits and 27 RBI. Snyder finished with a .294 average that included 45 hits and 25 RBI and was named MVP of the all-star game.
Year W-L Place Playoffs
2000 21-21-2 2nd Lost in Finals to Brewster, 2-0
2001 17-27-0 5th Did not qualify
2002 15-26-3 5th Did not qualify
2003 21-19-4 2nd Lost in semifinals to Bourne, 2-1
2004 21-22-1 2nd Lost in semifinals to Falmouth, 2-1
Hyannis started the year 1-8, but beginning on June 23 the Mets became one of the hottest teams in the league, compiling a record of 20-13-2 over their final 35 games to finish at .500 (21-21-2).
In the playoff semifinals, the Mets swept Wareham in two straight, 4-2 and 9-0. In the opener, Hyannis grabbed an early 2-0 lead on run-scoring singles by Matt Carson and Ken Riley. Jake Scott's squeeze bunt in the eighth provided the winning run.
On to the finals against Brewster, this time it was Hyannis that was victim of a sweep. In game one Jeff Bruksch pitched very well for the Mets but didn't receive any offensive help from his teammates and they fell 2-0.
Brewster captured the series with a 6-2 victory. The Whitecaps led 5-0 in the sixth before Brendan Harris’ RBI double scored Jamie Athas (single), while Harris scampered home on a passed ball to account for all of the Hyannis offense.
Ace Matt Coenan was 5-0 with a 1.99 during the regular season while team MVP Brian Stavisky finished second in the batting race to Brewster's Steve Stanley with a .324 batting average. Brendan Harris (.302) and Ryan Barthelemy (.293) were also top hitters.
After taking the opener of their semifinal series against Bourne 9-0, it looked as though Hyannis was going to steamroll through the playoffs. Little did the Mets realize that those would be the only runs the team would score the rest of the way.
The Braves came back in game two to post a 6-0 victory as Bourne's Eric Beattie, was just about unhittable. The final game became an instant classic as the combination of excellent pitching and sensational defense kept both teams off the scoreboard through 12 grueling innings. Bourne pushed a run across the plate in the bottom of the 13th inning for a 1-0 win. Hyannis had a chance for a run in the sixth inning, but speedy centerfielder Sam Fuld was thrown out at the plate trying to score from second on a single to center.
Hyannis capped off a second-place regular season by winning the first-ever Patriot’s Cup, beating Cotuit 5-4 in ten innings of their last meeting of the season. The Mets earned the cup on the strength of their 4-2 record in games against the Kettleers this season.
In the first round of the playoffs, Hyannis went on to meet Western Division champ Falmouth. The Commodores won the opener 8-6, despite four home runs by the Mets. Pat Reilly and Shane Robinson each hit two-run shots, while Chris Robinson and Joe Holland hit solo blasts.
The Mets rebounded in game two with a 6-5 win in eleven innings. Mike Costanzo singled to lead off the seventh inning and came around to score the tying run. Then, after blowing a save opportunity in the top of the ninth, Costanzo finished the day with a game winning walk-off home run over the centerfield fence in the last of the 11th.
Falmouth went on to win the series with a 5-2 victory in game three. The Commodores would then go on to lose in the finals to Yarmouth-Dennis in two straight.
Mike Richard is the official historian of the Cape Cod Baseball League and can be contacted by email at [email protected].