By: Nick Galle
If you had told a Braves fan that the Bourne pitching staff would only allow two runs in Game 1 of the championship series, they’d probably be getting their victory champagne ready for tomorrow night. But on Tuesday, one double was all Brewster needed to shift home-field advantage in its favor heading into Game 2.
Kurtis Byrne’s two-RBI double in the top of the second would end up being the difference-maker, as the Whitecaps topped the Bravos 2-0 to take a 1-0 series lead. Chelmsford, Massachusetts, native Griffin Green, Michael Prosecky and Dale Stanavich took care of the rest and were all fantastic on the mound, combining to strike out 14 Braves while allowing just five hits and four walks.
Bourne assistant coach Kevin Graber knew what Green was going to bring to the table after coaching him at Phillips Academy.
“What I knew about Griffin was (that) he was definitely going to throw strikes, he was going to spin his slider to right-handed hitters, he was going to throw his split-finger to left-handed hitters and that’s what he did,” Graber said. “But he who wins Game 2 has the momentum is my opinion.”
Lucas Costello and Nick Goodwin walked with one out in the bottom of the ninth in what looked like a potential late-inning rally, but Stanavich recorded back-to-back strikeouts to seal the victory for the road team.
Aside from the two-RBI double, Bourne’s pitching staff was equally as impressive. Jake Bennett got the start and went five innings, allowed three hits, two runs, walked one and fanned two. Ken Turner gave up just one hit and struck out one through three innings of middle-relief, and Tyler Stuart struck out one in a clean ninth-inning appearance.
“Just coming out of the bullpen, (I) want to go out there and throw strikes (and) fill it up. I felt like I was mixing inside and outside pretty well and kind of keeping them on their toes a little bit with that,” Turner said. “Jake threw a great game as well.”
The Bravos only mustered five hits in the shutout, two of which came from Christian Knapczyk. The Louisville Cardinal went 2-for-4 with two singles, while Max Anderson, Dalton Rushing and Peter Burns all added base hits.
“We just got to simply hit better. I mean our pitchers did a good job today, we just didn’t put at-bats together. I think we struck out too much,” Knapczyk said. “We’ve been in this situation before so we’re ready for it. Two games, that’s it. Let’s do it.”
Bourne will now look for redemption on the road tomorrow at 4 p.m. in Brewster. The Braves haven’t been to Stony Brook Field since June 21, but earned a 9-1 win in that meeting with the Whitecaps thanks to three-run home runs from Tanner Schobel and Braylen Wimmer.
Cover photo via: Joe Sullivan