By: Nick Galle
Following their fourth loss of the summer on Sunday night, the Braves hit the road with the hopes to earn their first win of the season at Eldredge Park in Orleans. But Tyler Locklear and Trae Harmon weren’t going to let that happen.
The duo blasted a pair of three-run home runs to help carry the Birds over Bourne 10-4, handing the Bravos back-to-back losses for the first time this year. It was Locklear’s ninth blast of the season, making him the sole league leader in home runs.
Orleans was up 6-0 up until the seventh, but Dalton Rushing and Colby Thomas jolted the offense with two outs. Rushing singled to bring in his team-leading 18th RBI, and Thomas crushed his fourth home run of the year, a three-run blast that sailed well beyond the left-field wall.
“You face some of the best arms in the country and you got to give these guys some credit because they fool you every other at-bat,” Thomas said. “I’ve kind of been looking for a ball a little bit down. Sometimes I get away from where I’m looking and so I kind of get myself out sometimes, and I was really trying to focus on seeing spin that at-bat, especially with two strikes. He hung one and I got it, I got a good swing on it. I hit it well.”
It seemed like momentum might have been shifting, but the Birds responded with a four-run bottom half of the inning to squash any hopes of a comeback.
Aside from the Locklear’s home run in the bottom of the first, Jake Bennett had yet another strong outing on the bump. The southpaw went five innings, allowed five hits, three runs, walked one and struck out five.
“I just try and keep it simple,” Bennett said. “Take it one pitch at a time and pound the strike zone.”
Although the offense didn’t heat up until the latter half of the game, Rushing went 2-for-4 with a home run, two RBIs and two runs scored, Thomas went 1-for-5 with the home run and John Garcia got his first hit in a Braves uniform, going 1-for-3 with a single and a walk.
Despite the loss, the Chatham Anglers defeated the Falmouth Commodores 3-1, allowing Bourne to clinch the top seed in the West Division for the first time since 2014.
“We got to throw more strikes and we’re a little banged up right now. We lost some guys, we only had 10 guys tonight to start the game,” Shapiro said. “We don’t have a lot of changes to make right now, so it is what it is.”
The Bravos will now make their way to Cotuit for a late-afternoon meeting with the Kettleers tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. Bourne is 2-1 against Cotuit on the season and won 3-1 last time the two teams met behind a stellar outing from Jordan Patty.
Cover photo via: Joe Sullivan