By: Zach Pekale
As the midpoint of the 2018 Cape Cod Baseball League season has crossed, the significance of division games amplifies with the postseason on the horizon.
Following a 3-2 victory over the Falmouth Commodores, the Braves have their first bit of leverage.
Despite two meetings remaining between the teams, Bourne’s victory was its fourth over Falmouth this summer, giving the Braves a tie break over their Western Division rivals.
Leading the charge on Sunday was starting pitcher Austin Pope (Fairfield), who factored into a decision for the first time as a Brave, earning the win.
In a season-high five innings, he allowed one earned run, scattering three hits and one walk.
Against the right hander, substantial contact was at a premium for Falmouth as Pope matched a season high with seven strikeouts and induced seven groundouts.
“I attacked the zone early and I was getting a lot of ground balls and fly balls. Tried to keep the walks down, that was kind of my game plan coming in,” Pope said.
On an afternoon in which both hits and runs were scarce, Spencer Brickhouse (East Carolina) delivered for the Braves.
Responsible for one of Bourne’s four hits, Brickhouse opened the scoring in the first inning with a two-run home run, his fourth of the summer, connecting on a 2-2 pitch from Tyler Dyson (Florida) that hit off of the left field foul pole.
“He [Dyson] was a hard thrower, had a lot of velocity. Luckily he threw me a pitch that I could handle and luckily it carried out of here. The ball didn’t carry for the most part all day,” Brickhouse said. “It was good to get a full win like that, being able to come in, have a full game like we did and have no gaps.”
Leading 2-1 in the top of the seventh, Anthony Prato (Connecticut) gave the Braves insurance with what would go on to be the game-winning run. A chopper to the left side broke through the infield, bringing Gabe Holt (Texas Tech) around to score.
Commodores’ outfielder Kyle Stowers reduced the lead back to one with a solo shot off of Zach Peek (Winthrop) in the bottom half of the frame, but Peek, along with Nick Morreale (Georgetown) and Michael McAvene (Louisville) were able to close the door on Falmouth over the final four innings to secure the win.
“Our pitchers definitely showed up tonight. They threw well, they kept us in the ball game. When you’re able to bring guys out of the pen and know those guys have a bunch of shut down innings, that’s all you can ask for,” assistant coach Joe Lincoln said.
Player of the Game
Austin Pope – Against Falmouth, Pope arguably had his best start of the summer. Increasing his pace of play, he stymied the Commodore bats utilizing his fastball and offspeed pitches.
Pope was not only aggressive throughout the duration of his outing, he was also able to locate his spots, giving up one run on three hits and a walk.
Coming Up: The Braves return to Doran Park for two games, beginning with the Cotuit Kettleers on Monday.