By: Carson Field
One rough inning: that proved to be the difference in Bourne’s 8-6 loss to Cotuit on Sunday.
At one point, the Braves and starter Ryan Cusick seemed to have the Kettleers’ number. Through four innings, Bourne held a 1-0 lead and Cusick had surrendered just two hits.
The tide turned in the fifth.
With one out, Joey Loperfido scored and knotted the game at 1-1 on a peculiar hit-and-run situation. Bourne seemed to have Loperfido caught in a pickle, but a miscommunication between Cusick and catcher Henry Davis allowed him to cross the plate. This began the onslaught.
The Kettleers reached base five times in a row after that first run scored, and, by the time Bourne finally escaped the inning, the deficit was 6-1.
Cusick, who was pulled in the fifth, gave up five earned runs, his highest total of the 2019 season. After four stellar innings to start, Cusick lost control in that woeful frame.
“I think he got tired,” pitching coach Ace Adams said. “When you get tired, your delivery kind of falls apart and you can’t have good pitches out in front. He started to get behind in the count and couldn’t throw his fastball for a strike, and his breaking stuff wasn’t consistent.”
Each of Bourne’s three relievers who made an appearance Sunday — Haydn King, Joshua Culliver and Kieran Shaw — allowed a run a piece and gave up a combined five hits.
This marked just the second time of the year in which Shaw surrendered an earned run.
“He didn’t have good stuff tonight,” Adams said. “At times, he tries to hit corners too much and falls behind in the count.”
Sunday marked the third game in a row where Bourne allowed six or more runs. Before Friday, the Braves possessed the league’s best ERA. Now, they are seventh in the league in that category.
While command on the mound seems to drop by the game, Bourne appears to have found an answer at the plate. The Braves have scored three or more runs in each of the last five games, a substantial improvement from when they were averaging just 2.3 runs per game.
Against Cotuit, Bourne scored five runs on seven hits and seven walks. One of those knocks came from Brendan Rivoli, who smacked a ball into the right-center field gap for a double.
Entering Sunday, Rivoli was batting .062. Rivoli, who also drove in a run on a sacrifice fly, hopes his stellar performance on Sunday leads to a more productive stat line.
“This is a tough league and baseball is a funny game; you’re going to go through these things,” Rivoli said. “You’ve got to stay positive and stick through it, and good things will happen.”
Even though Bourne showed fight in the late innings, putting up three runs in the ninth, the comeback effort fell short. Cotuit escaped Doran Park with an 8-6 victory.
Looking to avoid a four-game losing streak, Bourne will host Falmouth on Monday evening. As it stands, the Braves are just three points above last-place Hyannis.