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Cape League Flashback – Cotuit 1980-84

Arnold Mycock, Greg Lotzar, Jim Hubbard - 2006 Hall of Fame
09/08/2020 8:09 AM

Article By: Mike Richard

Cape League Flashback – Cotuit 1980-84

The 1980s continued to be a successful decade for the Cotuit franchise as the Kettleers advanced to the Cape League finals five times and captured three more championships to make it a record 12 titles to that point.
As we spend a summer without Cape Cod League baseball, The Barnstable Patriot will continue take a look back at the Cotuit team, this time during the 1980-84 era.

Cotuit (1980-84)
    Year    W-L        Place    Playoffs
1980    25-15-2    3rd    Lost in semifinals to Falmouth, 2-0
1981    19-18-5    4th    Won Cape League championship
1982    24-16-1    2nd    Lost in semifinals to Hyannis, 2-1
1983    27-11-3    1st    Lost in finals to Harwich, 3-2
1984    22-16-4    2nd    Won Cape League championship

The Kettleers dropped a semifinals series to eventual champion Falmouth in two straight.
During the regular season, Cotuit led the league in home runs with 44 and was second overall in team batting average at .290. The top batters were Randy Meier (.343), Ron Darling (.336), Dave Miller (.335) and Gary Jost.
Darling had an exceptional season where he was named MVP of the Cape League All-Star game as well as league MVP. He also won Cotuit’s Crawford Memorial Award as team MVP and was named Outstanding Pro Prospect for the league. Joe Pursell, who finished 8-1 with a 2.93 ERA, was named the league’s best pitcher.

    Just like they did back in 1974, the Kettleers emerged from fourth place during the regular season to fill the final playoff spot and go on to win the championship.
    Cotuit bested defending champ Falmouth in the semifinals two games to one, before falling in the first game of the finals to Orleans. In game two, Billy Dees’ tenth-inning single drove in Bill Plwnica with the game-winning run helping to set the tone for the rest of the series.
    The Kettleers won the next two games for a 3-1 series win as Roger Achter pitched the win in the 8-1 clincher. David Jackson went 3-4 with a pair of home runs, four RBI, four runs scored and a pair of stolen bases.
    Other members of the championship team were Mike Finley, Robbie Cobb, Andy Kruse, Mark Wasinger, Mark Zaleski, Chuck Coker, Jeff Innes, Mark James, Doug Swearinger, Ken Howell, Bruce Crabbe, Mark Beeson, Steve Madden and Craig Steurnagel. Manager George Greer was in the third season of nine he spent with Cotuit, while Larry Gallo was the coach.

Terry Steinbach set a league record for hits with 72, doubles with 17, tied the record for RBI with 54 and led the league in batting with a .431 mark. Also, pitcher Jeff Innis set a new mark with 30 appearances, while Cotuit set records for team doubles, 89 and hits, 463. The Kettleers finished the regular season in second place behind Wareham with a 24-16-1 record.
In the semifinals against Hyannis, Cotuit exploded for a 12-0 victory in game one before seeing the Mets come back to win the next two games, 7-4 and 3-2, eliminating the Kettleers.

    The Kettleers finished first for the regular season with a 27-11-3 record and was led by league MVP Greg Lotzar. When Wareham pulled out of the playoffs due to a lack of players, Cotuit got a bye into the finals where it met Harwich.
    In game one, Cotuit’s Bill Cutshall earned the 1-0 win with a seven-hitter. The game’s lone run came when Greg Barrios walked, stole second and scored on Will Clark’s single. Lotzar and Joe Xavier each had a pair of hits.
    After rain cancelled the next game, the rest of the series needed to be set up in doubleheaders. Cotuit lost the next two straight on Aug. 16 by scores of 16-6 and 7-3. The next day, the Kettleers evened things up in an error-plagued game four, 8-7, to set up the nightcap for all the marbles.
    Barrios gave the Kettleers a 9-7 lead in the top of the ninth with a two-run homer and Cotuit looked poised to clinch. However, with two out and none on, Pat Pacillo doubled to center and Jon Pequignot homered to tie the game for Harwich.
    In the last of the eleventh, Pequignot led off with a single and Jeff Koenigsman went in to pinch run. Jim Sasko’s bloop hit drove home the Mariners’ series clinching run.  

Led by future major leaguers Kevin Campbell, Joe Girardi and Greg Vaughn, Cotuit finished the season in second place before sweeping Wareham in the finals two games to none.
The Kettleers and Gatemen emerged from a round robin double-elimination tournament to set up the finals. In Cotuit’s first win over Orleans, 4-2, Perry Ceccarelli drove home the game-winning run. Then, after a 6-3 loss to Wareham, the Kettleers came back to top Orleans, 6-2 amidst a five-run third inning. Ceccarelli had a triple, Tom Hildebrand a double and singles by Kevin Pearson, Robert Jones and Vaughn sealed the victory.
In game one of the finals, Cotuit topped Wareham 2-1 as Joe Lynch pitched a stellar two-hitter. Ed Waylock doubled home a run in the second, while Vaughn doubled in the fifth and scored the eventual winning run on a wild pitch.
Cotuit clinched the title in the next game, 4-3, as Vaughn belted a three-run homer in the sixth. Chuck Howard allowed only four hits and three runs for the win, while Rob Wassenaar earned the save.  

Mike Richard is the official historian of the Cape Cod Baseball League and can be contacted by email at [email protected]