Despite Bourne's 5-run first, Whitecaps rally back to win championship for first time since 2017

Despite Bourne’s 5-run first, Whitecaps rally back to win championship for first time since 2017

By: Nick Galle 

If there is any such thing as a magical season in Cape Cod League Baseball, Braves fans had a front-row seat to one this summer. From walk-offs, to players getting drafted just minutes before first pitch, to a President’s Trophy, everything and anything was happening just east of the Bourne Bridge. Unfortunately, that season has come to an end. 

Things looked promising out of the gate, as the Bravos struck for a five-run first thanks to a three-run home run from Dalton Rushing and a two-run home run from Max Anderson. 

“Last game we kind of just laid an egg down and didn’t really get on them, so it was just kind of get on them early,” Anderson said about the team’s approach in the first inning. “We started out good and couldn’t ask for a better start.” 

Although it looked like a comfortable lead, Brewster erased it by scoring in four of the first five innings. Two runs in the first and fifth and one in the third and fourth gave the Caps a 6-5 lead, but Peter Burns’ safety squeeze in the top of the sixth brought home Colby Thomas to knot things up at six.

“That’s (bunting) something we really practice at school a lot,” Burns said. “I’m a gritty player and coach Harvey gave me the option to sacrifice there and I saw that pitch and just put it down, and Colby did a great job getting home.” 

But in the seventh, everything fell apart for the Bravos. 

Tony Bullard launched a solo shot to lead off the frame, and the Whitecaps went on to strike three more times to open things up and take a 10-6 lead. No more scoring ensued, and those four runs would wind up being just what the Caps needed to win their first Cape League title since 2017.

Although they lost, it was not a quiet night offensively for the Bravos. They recorded 14 hits and had eight of 11 hitters that came up to bat tallied a hit. The top of the lineup was especially productive, as Christian Knapczyk went 3-for-4 with one scored and a walk, and Tanner Schobel went 3-for-5 with a double and a run scored. Peter Burns also continued to swing the bat well, going 2-for-3 with one RBI.

Field manager Harvey Shapiro turned to Michael Sansone for the start, and after allowing a two-run home run in the bottom of the first, the left-hander settled in to give his coach three innings before turning it over to the bullpen. Cole Chudoba, Zach Agnos, Ben Ethridge, Eric Adler and Tyler Stuart all made appearances out of the pen, with Trystan Levesque recording the final out of the 2021 season.

“I think whenever we were down, we never felt like we were down and out of a game,” volunteer coach Quinn Stebbins said. “We had a bunch of walk-offs, comeback wins. The resiliency of the guys and how much fun they had with each other and how much they really liked playing with each other (stands out).” 

Bourne finished its regular season with a 24-9-3 record, the best in the league. They also took down the Cotuit Kettleers in the first round of the playoffs to send them to their first championship series since 2017. There was no shortage of individual accolades in Bourne either, as Harvey Shapiro was named Manager of the Year and Eric Adler was named Reliever of the Year. 

Cover photo via: Joe Sullivan