Bravos smash two long balls, cruise past Orleans 8-2

Bravos smash two long balls, cruise past Orleans 8-2

Bravos smash two long balls, cruise past Orleans 8-2

By Mac Friday

(Photo: Braden Reed/Bourne Braves)

After Maryland’s exit in the regional round of the NCAA Baseball Tournament, Matt Shaw expected to join forces with the Harwich Mariners for the 2022 CCBL season after spending his previous summer playing in New York.

However, Shaw found himself off the roster in Harwich and shortly afterward signed with the Bourne Braves, joining the team’s already electric middle infield ahead of Saturday’s matchup with the Orleans Firebirds at Eldredge Park. Shaw’s impact for Bourne was immediate, scoring three times with a singular hit, RBI, walk and a pair of stolen bases, propelling the Braves past the Firebirds 8-2.

“He is an explosive player both offensively and defensively,” Braves manager Scott Landers said of Shaw. “He is very athletic. He stole bases too and had an awesome game all around. I’m glad we have him.”

“Today felt really good,” Shaw said. “Hopefully we continue to keep it going and get in a groove. I saw the ball really well today and found a way to hit the right pitches and take the right pitches.”

Before Shaw’s explosive performance though, the Braves found themselves in early trouble. Orleans centerfielder led the game off with a solo shot to left field. Three batters later, first baseman Kevin Sim poked another solo shot over the left-field fence to put the Firebirds up 2-0.

Much like their resiliency against Harwich on Friday, the Braves responded quickly to the early runs put up but the Firebirds. Shaw led off the inning with a single but was out at second on a fielder’s choice hit by Wyatt Henseler. Henseler then advanced to second on a walk to Dakota Harris, then scored from second on an attempted double play that was airmailed over the head over Sim at first base for the Braves’ first run.

More Braves offense came in the third, catalyzed by Shaw who punched a double down the third-base line with Jack Duffy at first who reached via a walk. Duffy flew around the bases, before receiving the stop sign at third base very late. Hesitating, the relay throw was mishandled and Duffy slid in safely at home. After advancing to third, Shaw came in to score on a wild pitch to put the Braves up by one.

In the fourth, the Braves continued to pour it on. First baseman Chris Brito, who hit 16 home runs in 2022 with Rutgers, exorcised the Bourne home run demons, launching a 3-2 pitch high and deep over the left-center field fence for a two-run shot.

“The pitcher kept jamming me inside throughout the at-bat and tried to go in again on 3-2,” Brito said. “I was looking for it but it was a little bit more towards the middle and I just hammered it. It was really good to get that first home run out of the way.

The Braves scored again in the seventh after Shaw reached on a walk and advanced all the way to third via a pair of stolen bases. The Maryland product crossed home on a bloop hit to center from Henseler.

Center fielder Brendan Cumming smacked his second hit of the 2022 season after Henseler, just tucking a home run behind the left-field foul pole for the second Bravos home run of the evening.

All in all, the Braves finished with eight runs on 13 hits while permitting just two runs on eight hits on defense. Every Bravo who stepped in the batter’s box reached base at least once.

“We did what we needed to do offensively,” Landers said. “We strung a lot of hits together, played solid offense, took bases when we needed to and then finally got a couple of balls in the air for home runs.”

Starter Garrett Edwards allowed half of those marks in three and two third innings of work and was responsible for both home runs on the evening. Righty Reed Mascolo regained confidence after a rough outing against Cotuit on Tuesday, allowing just two hits in six batters faced.

The real star of the pen was Maryland righty Nigel Belgrave who earned the save, sitting down six Firebirds in order to finish the contest out, dispatching four via strikeout.

“Everybody’s been shoving out of the pen, so at this point, it’s something we try to expect,” Belgrave said. “We have been working on throwing strikes, staying in our lanes and it’s all starting to pay off.”

“It was a tough day to pitch with the wind and conditions,” Landers said. “So after giving up a pair of solo shots in the first to come back and settle down and do what we needed to not allowing any more runs was good.”

With the win over Orleans, the Braves finish their early East Division road trip back in the win column at 4-2-1. Bourne is back at Doran Park on Monday for a double header against the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox. Both games are seven innings, and first pitches are scheduled for 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.