By: Jacob Janower (Photo: Blaine McCormick)
A pair of home runs from the Cotuit Kettleers allowed them to pull away against the Bourne Braves and earn a 6-3 win to regain first place in the West Division.
The Braves (15-15) fell into second place after dropping their second consecutive contest and third in their last four games. Just three runs scored in the last 23 innings is a big reason for why they have been reeling.
It was a close contest for the first half of the game until the Kettleers (15-14-1) gained some separation with a four-run sixth inning off of Ronnie Rossomando (Connecticut).
Home Run Derby participant Grayson Jenista (Wichita State) delivered the big blow with a three-run home run, his second of the season, after Griffin Conine (Duke), who entered the game leading all West Division players in RBI, drove in his 24th run of the season with a single.
For the fourth time in the last five games, the Braves struck first when Grant Witherspoon (Tulane) doubled off the wall in the third inning, bringing home Tyler Fitzgerald (Louisville). An eighth inning two-run home run by Witherspoon- his second of the season- cut into the lead.
The right fielder was slotted in the leadoff spot for the second consecutive game and third time this season. He is now 5-for-11 when hitting at the top of the order.
Despite the initial run, the Braves had an opportunity to bring home even more in the inning, but Kettleers’ starter Noah Davis retired the next three hitters with two runners in scoring position. They went just 1-for-7 total with runners in scoring position against Davis, who had worked three scoreless innings of relief to earn the win the last time these two teams had met.
Bennett Better The Third Time Around
Nick Bennett has already faced a significant amount of adversity during his short time with the Braves.
Through his first two starts, the Louisville Cardinal- who was an All-Freshman team selection by multiple publications- had allowed eight earned runs in seven innings. On Monday- in his first start against a team other than the Falmouth Commodores- he pitched a season high five innings and allowed only two runs.
Bennett made his way through the first four innings without any damage, using his breaking ball to get some key strikeouts, including two with multiple runners on base to help escape a third inning jam.
It was in the fifth that the Kettleers began to make some of the hard contact they was prevalent all night finally pay off.
Luke Alexander (Mississippi State) homered to tie the game, the second time he has gone yard against the Braves this season. Bennett proceeded to give up a walk and a RBI single to Michael Toglia (UCLA), which turned out to give the Kettleers the lead for good.
Stat That Mattered
Two-out hitting was key for the Kettleers, as five of their six runs came when they were down to their final out of the inning.
Brave of the Game
Witherspoon went 2-for-4 with the only two Braves extra base hits of the game. He brought home all three of their runs and continues to look comfortable in the leadoff spot.
Coming Up: Tuesday will be an off-day for the Braves. Their next game will feature a return home to Doran Park for the first time since last Saturday. Andrew Crane (Troy) is expected to make the start in Bourne’s third of four games this season against the Harwich Mariners.
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Pre game, in-game, and post-game highlights: