By: Zach Pekale
Injuries, errors and inconsistent play are just a few of the themes that have cast a dark cloud over the Bourne Braves’ season. But one of the more prevalent trends as of recent has been an inability to play from behind.
That tendency continued for the Braves on Tuesday, falling behind four runs before being handed a gut-wrenching 4-3 loss by the Cotuit Kettleers.
Trailing 4-2 in the top of the ninth, the Braves’ flair for the dramatic heightened in the thick of a must-win game. Danny DiGeorgio (Rutgers) and Tyler Fitzgerald (Louisville) opened the frame with back-to-back singles, advancing on a sacrifice bunt before Jared Triolo (Houston) hit a sac fly to cut the Cotuit lead to one.
After Spencer Brickhouse (East Carolina) was intentionally walked with two outs, Lyle Lin (Arizona State) clubbed what sounded like a go-ahead home run, except Cotuit centerfielder Duke Ellis (Texas) covered what seemed like the entirety of the outfield, making an impressive catch over his shoulder to preserve a crucial victory for the Kettleers.
“I was just looking for a ball to drive in the runs and get us ahead, obviously the ball didn’t carry well,” Lin said. “I tell myself ‘just have a good at-bat’ in the moment and I thought I had a good AB.”
Cotuit now holds a three-game advantage over Bourne for the final playoff spot in the West with eight games remaining. The season series, the primary tiebreaker used by the Cape Cod Baseball League, is tied with two head-to-head matchups remaining.
In its past 11 contests Bourne is 2-9, scoring first in both wins while having never led in any of its past nine losses.
Starting for the first time since June 26, Bourne’s Zach Peek (Winthrop) was chased after just 2.2 innings, his shortest start of the summer. The Kettleers got after Peek early, tagging the right hander for four earned runs on seven hits in the loss.
The bullpen, however, recovered and gave the Braves the opportunity to catch their second wind down the stretch. Kyle Martin (Fordham) and Trey Van Der Weide (South Carolina Upstate) allowed three hits over 5.1 innings of relief.
“It felt good to get back to what I’m used to, had about 100 innings of that this spring so it was nice to get back in the groove. Still didn’t perform or pitch well,” Peek said. “Everybody in the pen knows to be prepared for any situation. They just try to keep their mind in it, give us the best chance to win and that’s what they did.”
Despite facing another early hole, the Braves steadily clawed back against Cotuit. Jake Garella (Saint Louis) provided a sacrifice fly and Prato demolished a solo shot prior to the ninth inning.
Coming Up: The Braves return to Doran Park, playing host to the Hyannis Harbor Hawks for the final time in the regular season.