Errors, missed opportunities spell Braves tie with Gatemen
By Mac Friday
(Photo: Braden Reed/Bourne Braves)
Sports are built off competition, with the outcome of winners and losers. With the NBA Finals, NCAA College Baseball Super Regionals and the Women’s College World Series all in recent thought, it’s hard to find a league in the sports world where ties are the accepted outcome.
Not in the Cape Cod Baseball League though, as after nine innings at Spillane Field in Wareham, the hosting Gatemen (1-0-1) and visiting Bourne Braves (1-0-1) left the diamond on Monday knotted 2-2, completing the second tie game in the CCBL in two days.
“I didn’t even know we weren’t playing extra innings until the very end of the game,” Braves shortstop John Peck said. “It’s definitely an odd feeling.”
“Those are the rules and we are going to follow them,” Braves manager Scott Landers said. “I certainly don’t like ties. We came here to win a game or lose a game, but sometimes it allows you to play situations a little bit differently. It is what it is.”
Although the Braves and Gatemen’s contest on day two of the CCBL season came to an end deadlocked, it’s not like either side didn’t have their fair share of chances to run away with it. There was also some slight eagerness in the air in Wareham, as the Braves were eager to grab the win over former manager Harvey Shapiro, now with the Gatemen.
Through the first five innings, both sides were locked in a tight pitcher’s duel. Starting for Bourne was Eastern Tennessee State righty Hunter Lloyd, who brought his hyper-competitive stuff to Spillane Field. Lloyd pitched five scoreless, only permitting one hit and one walk with only a singular strikeout, every other out fell to the responsibility of the Braves’ defense, which was equally as strong in the early stages.
“I thought it was a good start, it was good to get out here and get moving and start things off right,” Lloyd said. “The team played great defense behind me and I’m grateful for that.”
“He pitched great,” Landers said of Lloyd’s performance. “I didn’t think he had his best stuff today. It’s the first time I’ve seen him throw in-game, but I’ve seen him in bullpens and watched him on film – I don’t think he had the best fastball he’s had and he had a little bit of trouble landing the breaking ball, but he got out and competed and kept us right there (with Wareham). I’m really pleased with what he came up with.”
The Gatemen finally broke the tie in the bottom of the sixth, as center fielder Caden Rose reached on a leadoff walk. Rose made his way around to third after a hit-by-pitch and double play and eventually scored on an error from his college teammate at Alabama, Braves second baseman Bryce Eblin. On a hot shot hit deep in the hole at second, Eblin made an incredible stop, before making a spinning throw to first. Unfortunately for Eblin, his throw was wild and beyond the reach of first baseman Chris Brito, scoring Rose.
Bourne responded in the eighth, led by a single from third baseman Jared Sprague-Lott. The corner infielder advanced on a sacrifice bunt, and with two outs, was poised to score on any ball to the outfield. Peck, who had struck out three times beforehand, wanted to make the difference. Peck fell behind in the count quickly, but fought back and found the pitch he wanted, driving it high and hard into right field. The ball bounced off the wall, scoring Sprague-Lott and tying the game at one run apiece.
“I was trying to do anything I could to put the ball in play,” Peck said. “I got a fastball over the middle of the plate, which was what I wanted, and I hit it pretty well.”
The Braves tacked on another run later in the frame, still with two outs on the board. With Peck at third and Brito at the plate, the Rutgers first baseman hit a searing liner to third base, which was mishandled, allowing Peck to come across and put Bourne in the lead.
Despite perfect defense on Sunday night against Brewster and a strong performance through eight innings on Monday, Braves reliever Tyler Vogel hit a batter, before making a costly throwing error allowing the runner to advance to third. A sacrifice fly to center tied the game at two, a result which held for the rest of the contest.
Despite leaving five runners on base, including a two-out bases-loaded opportunity in the seventh, Landers wasn’t frustrated at his squad for the missed chances. His qualms lie with the approach in the batter’s box.
“What’s frustrating is the way we were swinging the bat,” Landers said. “I think we are a very defensive team right now, especially in plus counts and we got to get better at that. Once that happens, I think we will start driving in runs, but we can’t be defensive when we are in plus counts.”
The Braves remain on the road for their third and final game before the first league-wide off day on Wednesday, taking on the Cotuit Kettleers at Lowell Park at 5 p.m.