By: Jacob Janower
On an evening featuring the perpetual threat of rain, the Bourne Braves got back in the win column on a walk-off single by Grant Williams (Kennesaw State).
A solid combined pitching effort and enough offense to get the job done was the winning formula for the Braves (14-12) in the 4-3 victory. They have now split the first four games of the season series against Wareham (11-14-1).
After holding the lead for the entire game, the Gatemen brought home a run on an error in the ninth inning to tie the game against Braves’ closer Ryan Feltner (Ohio State), who was in his second inning of work.
Jameson Hannah (Dallas Baptist) led off the bottom of the ninth with a single and later came around to score on Williams’ hit, the Braves second walk-off of the season.
“You are just trying to find barrel, find a way to put it into play,” Williams said. “Got a good pitch to hit and I was able to sneak it inside the first base line.”
The Braves got off to an early and had the benefit of the Gatemen committing a couple of defensive miscues that led to their first two runs of the game.
Hannah tripled home Zac Susi (Connecticut) in the second inning, but if likely would have resulted in an out if not for a slip by the left fielder.
One inning later, a bunt attempt by Williams led to a throwing error and Grant Witherspoon (Tulane) coming around to score from first base.
Williams extended the Braves lead to 3-1 in the fifth inning by singling on a ground ball that caromed off of Gatemen starter Joey Matulovich (California).
Hess Shines In Debut
Much fanfare was given to College World Series standout Zack Hess’ (LSU) arrival in Bourne, and his first start lived up to the hype.
The right-hander did not allow a run in 3 and 2/3 innings and struck out three on 58 pitches, 38 of which were for strikes.
Hess flashed a hard fastball and a devastating slider as he continues to develop his change-up, which he intends on being his third put away pitch.
A third inning walk forced him out of the game with a runner in scoring position but his bullpen picked him up as P.J. Poulin (Connecticut) recorded an out to end the inning.
Poulin, Nick Johnson (Rhode Island), and Feltner allowed a run each, but also limited the damage against a potent Gatemen offense on multiple occasions.
“It definitely helps,” Williams said about the pitching effort. “Always pounding the zone, getting ahead of hitters, keeping them off-balance.”
Stat That Mattered
Seven, the amount of combined errors between the two teams on the night.
Brave of the Game
Witherspoon went 3-for-4 with a trio of singles and a walk, and reached base all five times. He also added a run and a stolen base.
“I feel like I’m staying back on pitches that I usually don’t,” he said.
Manager Harvey Shapiro put Witherspoon in the lead-off spot for the first time all season, and he thrived.
“I hit there for half of the college season,” he said. “You just have to try to see pitches, work counts.”
Coming Up: Thursday will mark the final of four games between the Braves and the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox. Bourne has won two of the first three match-ups between the teams.
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Pre-game, in-game, and post-game highlights: