By Mac Friday
(Photo: Braden Reed/Bourne Braves)
For the third time in five years, the Bourne Braves are set to face off against the Brewster Whitecaps in the Cape Cod Baseball League Championship Series in 2022. A repeat of the 2021 Championship Series, the Braves and Whitecaps faced off on Opening Day this season 58 days ago and find themselves matchup back up after a full season of summer baseball
Here’s how the sides got here and what to expect from the two remaining teams competing for the Cape Cod Baseball League Championship.
One of the best teams in the back half of the CCBL season, Brewster spent the majority of its season playing second fiddle to the Y-D Red Sox, who dominated the East. Following the Opening Day loss to Bourne, Brewster won four of its next five. Brewster found success by the bat of Alex Freeland across the first half as he led the Cape League in home runs, but the second-year Whitecap was selected by the LA Dodgers, taking his bat out of the lineup.
The Whitecaps rode the success of one of the best pitching staffs in the league across the summer, particularly the likes of Joesph Mancini, who threw five innings of two-hit baseball against the Braves in the first half of the doubleheader on June 26. The last time these two sides met on July 16, Brewster starter Zane Morehouse allowed just one hit across five and two-thirds, a 2-1 win for Brewster.
Brewster found a key bat in Carson DeMartini, who came alive in August with three hits in eight at-bats in the final two regular season games. However, the Virginia Tech product waited until the playoffs to do the most damage. DeMartini hit two home runs in the first round against Harwich, then hit two in Game Two against Yarmouth-Dennis.
Brewster took the top spot with a massive losing streak committed by Y-D after the Red Sox were gutted following the MLB Draft in the final stages of the CCBL season. It finished the season 5-3-2.
The Whitecaps haven’t lost a playoff game in over two years, dating back to their clean sweep of the postseason in 2021. They beat Harwich in two games, as well as Y-D. Every Brewster arm to pitch against Bourne in the regular season has left.
Three players to watch are Demartini, second-year catcher Kurtis Byrne and reliever Brennen Oxford.
Following their Opening Day win, Bourne sunk to third place in the West, trailing the success of Cotuit and Hyannis. At an even 7-7-3 across the first month of play, the Braves needed to find a way to turn things around under first-year manager Scott Landers. In mid-July, the Braves lost key players in the two Polk State products of Jack Duffy and Dakota Harris as well as a brief appearance from Virginia Tech star Jack Hurley. However, the emergence of infielder Matt Shaw got the Braves hot, especially in the month of July, in which the Braves went 14-7-4.
Outfielder Evan Sleight earned himself Player of the Week Honors in Week Five of the season, earning himself a slot as an All-Star Starter, along with Shaw. The Braves finished their season on an 8-1-1 tear, not losing a single game out of the All-Star Break. The Braves finished the regular season with the best team ERA on the Cape at 3.04, just .20 better than Brewster.
With wins over Hyannis and a 9-0 drubbing of Cotuit in the final games of the regular season, Bourne clinched their spot atop the West, setting up a first-round matchup with Falmouth which they went on to win in three games. The Braves swept the Hyannis Harbor Hawks with a 4-3 win in Game One and a dominant 7-4 win at McKeon Park.
Names to follow for Bourne in the Championship Series are first baseman Chris Brito, who had four RBI in the second game of the Hyannis series, as well as Bryce Eblin, who went 6-for-16 with two runs scored and an RBI with a pair of stolen bases. You also can’t forget about All-Star closer Ty Cummings, who allowed one earned run in 15 innings of work with the Braves this summer.
Bourne and Brewster have faced off three times in the last five years, with Brewster taking down Bourne in three games in 2017, and two in 2021. If history continues to be the indicator it has been across the first two rounds of the playoffs, the winner of this series will be the team that wins the first game. Of the 79 playoff series in the history of Cape League since 2010, the team that wins Game One is 65-14 in the series. In the Championship Series, the winner of Game One is 9-2.