HYANNIS - Corey Bird (Marshall) rounded third headed for home after blasting a home run deep to center field. The infamous Harbor Hawk “screech” blared three times over the loudspeaker.
Braves field manager Harvey Shapiro shook his head in disappointment. Bourne’s Nick Quattro (Endicott) who had just been taken deep pulled his hat off of his head to wipe his forehead, visibly frustrated.
Game One of the West Division Finals was now far out of Bourne’s reach
“That pitch got away from me and hung up there,” Quattro said. “They took advantage of my mistake and really took advantage of all our mistakes all night long.”
A long towering home run off the bat of Bird had just brought the score to 10-3 Hyannis (27-19-1, 3-0) in the seventh inning and that’s where it would stay as Bourne (24-21-2 overall, 2-1 playoffs) fell to 0-1 in the second playoff series on its road to a Cape Cod Baseball League title. After falling to the Harbor Hawks Thursday night at McKeon Park, the Braves must win Friday night in Game 2 at Doran Park or they will be eliminated.
The problems for the Braves began on the mound with starter Nick Jensen-Clagg (Kent State). The right-handed pitcher failed to keep the ball down in the zone and the Hyannis hitters made him pay.
The Harbor Hawks walked four times in the 3.2 innings Jensen-Clagg pitched and strung together five hits to go with the bases on balls to notch four earned runs early. The No. 13 leading strikeout man in the CCBL didn’t have his best stuff as he only rung up three, the lowest in any start he made this summer.
“They’re an extremely good hitting team. We fell behind and were forced to cater to them with hittable pitches because we kept going down 2-0 (in counts),” said pitching coach Jordan Tabakman. “… We left the ball up in the zone and it was not our night on the mound at all.”
Tyler Deel (Florida Tech) took over for Jensen-Clagg and continued the Braves’ struggles on the mound. Deel was hit around for three earned runs in just 1.1 innings of work. The Harbor Hawks walked twice while the lefty was on the hill and he failed to prevent the three hits he allowed from coming at ill-timed situations.
Jake DeCarli (Long Island) was the next Bourne pitcher to be abused by the Hyannis offense. He gave up another run and the score after his stint on the mound rested at 8-3. Quattro gave up the home run, but other than that one blemish, he kept the Harbor Hawks off the scoreboard.
The offense matched Hyannis’ 11 hits but left twelve runners on base. Starter Devin Smeltzer (Florida Gulf Coast) enjoyed six successful innings against the Braves in his third outing.
The Braves couldn’t put things together when it mattered.
“Smeltzer battled and kept us off-balance,” said second baseman Nick Solak (Louisville). “We weren’t able to get it together after that really.”
Now, the Braves potentially only have one game left. The pitching staff has carried the team all season and after a tough performance Thursday, is poised to rebound behind Friday’s starter Alex Robles (Austin Peay).
The stakes couldn’t be higher and Bourne is ready.
Said Solak: “We’re a good team. We aren’t going out like this.”
Liam Sullivan is the beat writer for the Bourne Braves and is currently an undergraduate at Syracuse University. Follow Liam on Twitter @Liam_Sullivan_ . He can also be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Photo by Stephanie Crivello