Braves strike early and never look back to extend win streak to six

Braves strike early and never look back to extend win streak to six

By: Nick Galle 

It took the Braves eight innings to score their first run of the season on Opening Day. Since then, Bourne had scored in the third inning or earlier in all four games prior to Sunday night’s meeting with the Kettleers, and Christian Knapczyk, Reggie Crawford and Braylen Wimmer made sure that trend continued.

The Bravos wasted no time getting the bats going and scored three runs in the top half of the first inning in what would end up being their sixth consecutive win to start the 2021 season. Knapczyk and Wimmer each had an RBI double, and Crawford added an RBI single to give the Braves the early advantage.

“This mojo’s just awesome,” Knapczyk said. “Everyone’s just clicking, everyone’s just vibing together, we’re playing loose, we’re having fun and we’re winning, so we’re just gonna keep it rolling.”

Nick Zwack got his first start of the summer after tossing four scoreless, one-hit innings in relief last Sunday against Hyannis. He went five innings, gave up just two hits, one unearned run, no walks and struck out three, becoming the first Bourne starting pitcher to earn a win this season.

“For me to be able to come out in relief last week and then get a good start again this week, it’s good to see,” Zwack said. “For us to have a three-run lead before I throw my first pitch, it’s a little weight off my shoulders just being able to throw my pitches how I want to.”

After getting activated Saturday, Cayden Wallace tallied his first hit with the Bravos and went 2-for-5 with a home run, two RBIs and one run scored. The utility man hit .279 with 14 home runs and 44 RBIs this past season at Arkansas.

“I’m still trying to get used to everything, and it’ll come with time, and I’m just enjoying being here right now,” Wallace said. “Top to bottom and pitching is just unreal for this team.”

Joe Lampe and Knapczyk were once again lethal at the top of the lineup. Lampe went 2-for-5 with an RBI, a walk and three runs scored, and Knapczyk went 2-for-5 with a double, an RBI and one run scored. Crawford added two hits, an RBI and two runs scored, and Wimmer went 1-for-2 with a double and two walks.

“Me and Joe are always talking like, ‘Let’s go, we’re the best one-two punch in the Cape,'” Knapczyk said. “If he gets on, I know he’s going to try to steal and I’m gonna do what I can to get him over, or get him in.”

In the bottom of the eighth, Mississippi State right-hander Xavier Lovett made his first appearance of the summer and retired the Kettleers in order, striking out one. The Houston native threw four innings for the Bulldogs this past spring and held opposing hitters to a .188 average.

“Man I felt great out there with my boys, my new boys for summer baseball,” Lovett said. “Man I felt great to be out there just having fun.”

Bourne will begin a three-game homestand tomorrow night against Chatham at 6:00 p.m. The Anglers are tied for first place in the East Division after a 3-2-1 start to the summer.

Cover photo via: Joe Sullivan