By: Jacob Janower
With the Bourne Braves in the middle of a five-game slide, it only a matter of time before their bats came alive.
On Wednesday, the Braves offense woke up in a big way and looked more like the Dodgers and less like the Phillies in a 13-4 win over the Wareham Gatemen. With the victory, the Braves (21-22) ensured themselves of the No. 3 seed in the West Division playoffs.
The offensive explosion was a welcomed sight, considering the losing streak had dropped the Braves to 9th in the CCBL in runs scored. The 13-run output significantly surpassed the next highest run total from the Braves this season, which was only eight.
“Obviously we struggled over this little streak,” Scott Schreiber (Nebraska) said. “Baseball is a pretty interesting sport, so we were able to get the ball to fall tonight and we were able to string some things together.”
The Braves put any sort of drama to rest early, as they rode four hits in the first inning to open up a three-run lead. Richie Palacios (Towson), Schreiber, and Jameson Hannah (Dallas Baptist) hit consecutive run-scoring singles. A single tally in each of the next two innings extended the lead to five, which with all of the close games that the Braves have played, was already a massive lead.
Schreiber hit the lone long ball of the game in the third inning. It was his third of the season and his first at Doran Park.
“It feels great,” Schreiber said about his home run. “Not doing it in awhile and being able to connect on one, there really isn’t a feeling that’s any better than that.”
All of that damage knocked Gatemen starter Mason Feole (Connecticut) out of the game as he has now given up seven earned runs in 4 and 2/3 innings against the Braves.
With a decisive 7-2 lead already in the seventh inning, the Braves piled on six more runs, just for good measure. The biggest hit of the inning was a two-run double from Grant Williams (Kennesaw State), which came on a pop-up in no man’s land in right field.
A number of Braves had effective offensive performances, including Kevin Radziewicz (Fairfield) from the nine-spot. He recorded three hits in his third consecutive start.
“I was getting good pitches to hit and I wasn’t missing them,” he said.
He mentioned how the consistent playing time has allowed him to get in a rhythm at the plate.
“This league there is some tough pitching,” Radziewicz said. “When you’re seeing 90 (miles per hour) every day, you get used. With the consistency I’m starting to get my timing down and really feel good.”
Seven of the nine position players recorded at least one run scored and run batted in and every hitter in the lineup had at least one hit.
Anthony Prato (Connecticut) totaled three runs scored out of the leadoff spot, while Williams led the team with three runs driven in.
“I’m just trying to get on-base,” Prato said. “Set the table for Grant (Williams) and the rest of the guys. Hopefully they can knock me in and today they did.”
As a relative newcomer to the CCBL, Prato is just trying to soak in the unique baseball atmosphere.
“It’s the best baseball experience you could ask for,” he said. “We have a bunch of great guys out here, great baseball, and I’m just learning so much about it.”
What helped the Braves pad their run total was a strong pitching performance. It all started with Chad Luensmann (Nebraska), who was making his 11th appearance but first start of the season. Despite the fact that he had not started a game since high school, Luensmann did not show any signs of rust. He allowed just one hit and one walk in three scoreless innings of work.
Newcomers Baylor Sundahl (Sacred Heart) and Blake Whitney (USC Upstate) pitched behind him, and while neither was bad, Whitney was much more impressive between the two. The right-hander, who had started the NECBL All-Star Game, retired all seven hitters that he faced.
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The 13 runs were the most that the Braves have scored since July 3rd, 2014, which coincidentally also took place against the Gatemen.
Brave of the Game: Scott Schreiber
Schreiber broke out of a funk with a four-hit game, including the third inning home run. He also had three singles and scored and drove in two runs apiece.
“I was just trying to slow things down,” Schreiber said. “Things were speeding up on me. Not trying to hit the ball 500 feet, just taking it easy, not trying to do too much.”
Since he first arrived on the Cape, the rising senior feels that he has improved his swing more than anything, as well as figuring out what works best for him when hacking at the plate.
Coming Up: The Braves will wrap up the regular season with a chance to get back to .500 against the Gatemen.
You can contact the author via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or follow him on Twitter (@JanowerJacob).