Fans frolick to Fourth of July festivities in Cotuit

What do a baseball game, a parade and a bouncy house all have in common?

Those may seem like random things that don’t connect, but they do in Cotuit on July Fourth.

Independence Day brings many festivities to Cotuit, which the Kettleers are a part of, starting with the parade down School Street and Main Street. The sidewalks were packed with Cotuit residents in a variety of red, white and blue attire. Some sat in chairs they placed earlier in the morning while others stood, cheering and clapping for the parade participants.

“I thought [the festivities] were really fun,” pitcher Gabe Nard (Duke) said. “I was shocked to see how many people actually came out and supported Cotuit. It’s a good fan base.”

All of the Kettleers players hopped onto the back of a flatbed truck, sitting on the edges. They high-fived fans, waved and threw candy and bags with shirts to people all along the street. Their baseball arms helped a lot as they were able to reach people far in the back of the crowd. It also hindered them sometimes, as the players got a drawstring bag stuck in a tree and hit the power line a few times.

“The big parade was a cool experience,” pitcher James Ellwanger (Dallas Baptist) said. “Got to ride on the float and have all the people of the town and see their support for the fans. Tons of games here at the field for all the kids and it was a really good showout.”

After the parade was over, the Kettleers hosted a variety of activities for kids and adults. Players and interns helped run inflatable games such as tee ball, basketball, battle ax, baseball and soccer. They also had a sledgehammer bell game, a bouncy house and the fan-favorite slip 'n slide, where a few players also went down. The games were brought by coach Mike Roberts, who came to the field at 7 a.m. to set them up.

“I think it was great for the kids, for them to come out and have a lot of fun before the game tonight,” pitcher Zach Duenas (Western Kentucky) said. “It’s my first day here, so it’s nice to see that the town comes out and supports the team and hopefully continues to.”

Roberts hosted a hitting contest for the adults, in which he pitched for over 30 participants. The contest worked similarly to a batting practice, with Roberts pitching from behind a net and a large circular net around home plate.

“I recommended to the board to start [the hitting contest] 15 years ago,” Roberts said. “It’s a wonderful way to have the community more involved and to get out on the field where the players play.”

John Magailetti from Florida hit the baseball the farthest, 387 feet, 10 feet before the center field fence. Jim Kotarski of Hudson, Massachusetts, came in a close second, hitting the ball 385 feet. Heather Macleod of Cotuit hit the ball 189 feet, winning the women’s division.

Another tradition is that the Kettleers always play the Falmouth Commodores on July 3 and July Fourth. The teams alternate every year who plays at home, with the other team playing a home game the day before. This year, Cotuit hosted the Fourth of July game, going down to Falmouth the day before to play at Guv Fuller Field. The Commodores won, 6-4, on Wednesday, and the Kettleers won, 5-2, on July Fourth.

“It’s Americana at its best. Red, white and blue bicycles. Red, white and blue outfits on dogs. Red, white and blue on all the children, and all the American flags on the homes down Main Street,” Roberts said. “The village of Cotuit tries again to bring the old-fashion feel back to July Fourth. I think it’s an amazing place.”

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Art or Photo Credit: Padyn Kesselring enjoys the slip 'n slide at the 4th of July festivities at Lowell Park on Thursday. Photo by Dennis Theoharidis (Mass. College of Art & Design)