With the joyful exuberance of Opening Day echoing throughout Doran Park, the Bourne Braves played the Cotuit Kettleers tight throughout the game but ended up on the losing side of the score, dropping the contest 5-3.
Despite the loss, optimism remains in the air in 2017 for the Braves after they came within two wins of playing for the CCBL Championship last season.
Tim Cate (UConn) received the start in the opener and did his best to set the tone for the rest of the season.
Getting the Opening Day start was something that Cate described as “really cool.”
“Obviously the coaches have some trust in me to throw the first game,” Cate said. “That’s really nice and I just want to go out there and give it my best.”
The left-hander did not allow the Kettleers to do much of anything offensively for the first four innings, as only two players reached second base.
However, Cotuit’s offense came alive in the fifth inning, and they tied the game after Zack Kone (Duke) singled and came around to score on a wild pitch.
Braves’ head coach Harvey Shapiro stuck with Cate to start the sixth inning, but quickly pulled the trigger after he allowed a single and a game-tying triple to Griffin Conine (Duke).
Nevertheless, Cate pitched an overall solid outing, striking out seven hitters in five innings, mixing speeds well and keeping Cotuit off-balance.
“I think the biggest thing was getting ahead early in the count and just making them hit your pitch,” he said
Braves Offense Blossoms Halfway Through
Much like the Kettleers, Bourne waited until the middle innings to hit its stride offensively.
The Braves had six hits, including three doubles, in the fifth and sixth innings combined, and RBI singles by Richie Palacios (Towson) and Zac Susi (UConn) allowed them to tie the game after the sixth inning.
Susi had previously scored the first run of the game after he walked and came in on a wild pitch.
Most of the hacks were taken in the aforementioned fifth and sixth frames against Kettleers starter Jason Bilous (Coastal Carolina) and left-handed reliever Jacob Erickson (San Diego State).
Conine’s Heroics Lead Cotuit
Conine, a sophomore, already boasted an impressive resume heading into the CCBL season, having led the Blue Devils with 13 home runs and 56 runs batted in.
He showed why he was named to the second team All-ACC in 2017 by giving the Kettleers the lead for good in the seventh inning with a two-out, two-run single off of left-hander P.J. Poulin (UConn).
The right fielder finished the day with two hits and three RBI and added a spectacular catch in right field that took away at least a double from Palacios in the bottom of the seventh.
Brave of the Game:
Not many Braves stood out, but Taiwanese first baseman Lyle Lin (Arizona State) had two hits, including a single and an opposite field double. He also added a run scored.
Coming Up: Bourne’s three game home stand continues as it faces its first East division foe, the Chatham Anglers, at 6:30.
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