By Mac Friday
(Photo: Braden Reed/Bourne Braves)
Time and time again, it seems as if the Bourne Braves are positioned to go on a run of success after hitting the ball well and shutting down opposing offenses, but then find a way to not only lose to an opposing team in a tough way but also beat themselves.
Such was the case on Wednesday night against West Division opponent Cotuit, as the Braves left 12 runs on base in a demoralizing 7-2 loss that was full of controversial calls.
Wednesday was already not a normal contest for the Braves, taking a team that had won four out of its last five games, most in dominant fashion, out of its daily routine. Heat advisories around the Cape prevented the Braves and Ketts from taking batting practice or any on-field warm-up, something that disrupted the flow of the team.
“Tonight was no good in any way shape or form,” Braves manager Scott Landers said. “I thought we were flat and didn’t have a lot of energy. We weren’t in our normal pregame routine which hasn’t affected us up to this date, but today, we were flat.”
Braves right-hander Bryce Cunningham got the nod and was through two innings facing the minimum before mistakes and controversy soiled his start.
Cunningham issued a leadoff walk to designated hitter Carter Trice, who then scored on an RBI double by left fielder Eddie Park. Center fielder Enrique Bradfield Jr. then hit an RBI single off of his Vanderbilt teammate in Cunningham, scoring Park.
With two on and two out, right fielder Josh Pearson hit a fly ball to left on which left fielder Evan Sleight dove for. The Rutgers outfielder greened up his jersey with the tinge of the grass and to his account, believed he came up with the ball before rolling over and rising to his feet. With the confidence that he made the catch after a similar play by Bradfield in the first, Sleight put his head down and began to jog toward the dugout.
Little did he know that the umpires called the play as a trapped ball, allowing Bradfield to scorch all the way around to score from second.
“I thought he caught it,” Landers said. “But (the umpires) didn’t make the call.”
“Yeah, if there was any doubt in my mind that I hadn’t caught it, I would’ve gotten up and thrown it in,” Sleight said. “These things happen, the umpires have a tough job and we have to move on from it.”
Cotuit struck for one run more in the fourth on an RBI single by shortstop Tommy Troy, as well as two in the sixth on a sacrifice bunt which was tossed around the Braves infield before any throw was made to home.
On the other side, the Braves offense was alive, but carried the same struggles of the Bourne squad earlier this summer: unable to hit when it mattered.
The Braves etched a single run across in both the third and the fourth, one being an RBI triple by Matt Shaw and the other being a run which scored on an errant throw hit across the infield initially dispatched by right fielder Ryan Enos.
The Braves had the bases loaded with one out in the fifth, but in came righty Cam Schuelke, who was nothing but nails against the Braves. The funky submariner with nasty stuff struck out designated hitter Josh Moylan, who looked befuddled, and then dispatched John Peck on a putout to first.
The Braves stranded 12 runners on Wednesday night, scoring just two runs on eight hits.
“There are definitely games like this,” Sleight said. “You don’t want to do this on a homestand, but we have two more games at home to play so we have to come back and turn it around.”
“I feel like we had some good at-bats,” center fielder Mac Horvath, who went 3-for-5 with three singles, said. “We had our opportunities to score but it just wasn’t falling no matter what we did.”
The Braves are back in action against the Wareham Gatemen at Doran Park on Wednesday, starting at 7:00 p.m. The game will be broadcasted on NESN, or you can listen to our radio broadcast on the Braves YouTube channel.