BOURNE, Mass.–With a much needed win against third place Hyannis (16-19,) the Braves (15-18-2) delivered a ninth-inning comeback to tie the Harbor Hawks in the West and take home a 10-9 win Friday night.
The Braves jumped out to an early lead off Hyannis’ Colie Bowers (South Carolina,) who they scored five runs off of on four hits, four walks and three strikeouts.
Bourne’s Chris Holba (East Carolina) got off to a shaky start in the first inning, pitching out of a second and third base jam. But he settled in for second and cruised for five innings, giving up just one earned run off five hits, two walks and three strikeouts.
With a 6-1 lead going into the seventh, it looked like the Braves would be tied for third going into the All-Star break, but the bullpen was unable to hold the Hawks as the wheels fell off in the eighth for reliever Andrew Cabezas (Miami,) who gave up five runs off four hits in just a third of an inning.
Nebraska’s Chad Luensmann did not fair much better against the top of the Hawk’s batting order, giving up an additional two earned runs off four hits over two-thirds of an inning.
Zach Spangler (Kent State) came in to pitch the ninth and was able to keep Hyannis off the board. Pitching to contact in a 1-2-3 inning to earn the win.
As the bottom of the ninth drew near, the Braves did something uncharacteristic of their late game deficits. The offense began to string together hits for a four-run inning that began with the speed of Jake Mangum (Mississippi State) who beat out a single to first base.
Justin Yurchak (Binghamton) followed behind with a double down the first base line to advance Mangum to third.
Houston’s Connor Wong notched an RBI single to score Mangum while newcomer Andrew Shaps (Arizona State) singled in Yurchak.
With the deficit cut down to one run, the Hawks brought in Duke’s Al Pesto to try and hold the 9-8 lead.
With David MacKinnon (Hartford) drawing a walk, Evan Mendoza (NC State) hit his second RBI of the night, bringing in Wong and tying the game at 9-9.
Mendoza had a stellar night at the plate, going a perfect 4 for 4 with two RBIs and a web gem stop at second.
With Shaps at third, John Jones (South Carolina) pinch hit for shortstop Jeremy Eierman (Missouri State) and became the hero of the night, with a fielder’s choice to score the unearned and final run of the game.
The Braves will go into the Cape Cod League All-Star break Saturday with a bump in the standings and will look to continue the climb against the Orleans Firebirds (16-18-1) 6, Sunday at Doran Park.
Probable starters are Jason Morgan (UNC Chapel Hill) and Bourne’s JT Perez (Cincinnati.)