BOURNE, Mass.–The Bourne Braves’ (21-21-2) season came full-circle Wednesday night as they capped of off their regular season just the way they started 2016, in walk-off fashion. Down 6-5 in the ninth, walk-off hero Jake Mangum (Mississippi State) sent the Braves into the postseason beating top team Falmouth (29-15), 7-6.
In a game that saw a combined 13 pitchers and 20 men left on base, both teams had their share of chances to run away with the lead.
Bourne continued to score early and often, raking in three runs in the bottom of the first off starting pitcher Thomas Ponticelli (San Francisco), who gave up at total of four runs off seven hits.
Named New England’s Top College Prospect prior to game time, third baseman Willy Yahn (UConn) set the table for Evan Mendoza (NC State) with a leadoff single. Mendoza followed up with a shot to left-center for a two-run home run.
If the two-run lead in the first wasn’t enough, David MacKinnon (Hartford) roped a single to left and later scored off an RBI single by Jeremy Eierman (Missouri State) to make it a 3-0 game.
Both the Bourne offense and defense cruised through seven frames, with the pitching staff allowing just two runs in the sixth.
The Commodores tacked two runs of their own on the board by way of the long ball off newly acquired Ben Schragger (Rice), who gave up a walk and a home run run off the bat of Tyler Lawrence (Murray State.)
The Braves saw their fair share of new faces, as starter Michael Adams (Towson) pitched a dominate four innings, giving up three hits with two walks and one strikeout.
The offense continued to mount a lead with a score of 5-2 going into the eighth inning.
Justin Yurchak (Binghamton) hit an RBI fielder’s choice in the second to bring in Yahn, who went 2 for 3 on the night with two runs scored.
Another run came in the fifth after Mangum stretched a single into a double and later came home off a double by Andrew Shaps (Arizona State.)
With a comfortable lead heading into the late innings, Zach Spangler (Kent State) relieved Kent Axcell (Ohio State), who left with two runners on, with the first baserunner aboard off an error by Eierman.
Inheriting two baserunners, Spangler made his 14th appearance of the season. A walk to load the bases and a fielder’s choice put runners at second and third.
Three back-to-back singles was all it took to change the game, as Falmouth scored four unearned runs in the eighth and came out leading Bourne 6-5.
Chad Luensmann (Nebraska) was able to induce a 4-3 putout in the eighth and pitch a scoreless ninth to give the Braves a chance to end the season on a .500 record and win.
The bullpen once again came through in the cheering department, as Yurchak drew a one-out walk to put the tying run aboard. Kevin Mohollen (Delaware) pinch-ran for Yurchak and was brought into scoring position off a single by MacKinnon.
With two outs and runners at first and second, hot-hitting Mangum was the proverbial “right man in the right place,” with a 3 for 4 night already in the books, on a two-strike count drilled a double to seal the comeback and put an exclamation point on a roller-coster record.
With a .500 record in the books, the Braves will take on second-place Wareham Gatemen (25-15-4) in the 2016 CCBL Playoffs, 6:30 p.m. Friday at Spillane Field.
Probable starters are TBA.