For the third time in the modern era (since 1963), the Bourne Braves (26-17-1) have won the Cape Cod Baseball League Western Division Championship. As noted by former Cape League Historian Bruce Hack, the team set a record with 26 wins and 53 points this season. It is the second time the team has gone from finishing in last place the previous year to winning the West. The last time they did it was in 1989.
Lefty Cory Forest, of William and Mary
delivers to the plate.
- George Hammerle / Enterprise
"Iím very pleased," Bourne Head Coach Harvey Shapiro said. "I was concerned early because a lot of our pitchers did not have very good college seasons. Some of the hitters did well, but you always know that they wonít perform that well in the Cape League. I have an old friend that has followed me since my early days at Yarmouth-Dennis, and he says to win the regular season is the greatest achievement. You have to play through adversity and win it over 44 games, and this is a very competitive league. To think that we went 0-3-1 to start the season and were in first place for most of the summer is pretty good."
The Braves also won the Commissioners Cup. The cup is "presented to the team that demonstrates the highest level of integrity and professionalism on and off the field insuring and enhancing the championship caliber of the Cape Cod Baseball League."
Last year the cup was shared by Falmouth and Wareham. "Weíre very pleased," Bourne Braves General Manager Mike Carrier said of the award. "It was one of our goals this season to bring the Cup to Bourne."
The team also gave end of the regular season awards to Justin Henry (Ole Miss), the Bourne Braves 10th Player Award and Josh Stinson (San Jacinto), Defensive Player of the Year for Bourne.
"This has been a good season for me defensively," Stinson said. "I have worked hard and improved. My biggest thing was throwing out runners this year, and I think Iíve done a pretty good job of that. Our pitchers have done a good job of holding people on and giving me a chance. It has been a great season and a blessing to have played here this year."
Brad Lincoln (Houston) received the Cape Cod Baseball League Manny Rebello 10th Player Award and also the Bourne Braves Pro Prospect Award. "It is a great honor," Lincoln said. "You just come up here and try to do your best, and something like this is great. This summer has been wonderful for me. Iím going to take it and run with it. Iíll remember it the rest of my life."
The team MVP went to the entire Braves pitching staff which finished second in the league with a combined ERA of 2.27.
The Braves ended the regular season with a 5-1 win over Wareham Sunday night. With the playoffs in mind, Bourne sent six different pitchers to the mound, spreading the workload so that no one arm did all the work. In his second appearance of the season, newly acquired right-handed pitcher Jonathan Johnson (Southern Mississippi) picked up the win with two innings of scoreless work.
J.R. Crowel (Tulane) got the start and worked two innings, surrendering just two hits. Forrest Cory III (William & Mary) pitched the third and forth frames, giving up a run. Andrew Carignan (UNC) and Dave Preziosi (Boston College) each threw a frame, and Romas Hicks (Georgia State) pitched the ninth.
Bourne scored in the top of the third on Beau Millsí (Fresno State) fourth-round tripper of the season, a shot over the left field fence. The Gatemen tied it in the bottom of the third, and it remained that way until the top of the fifth when Mike Hernandez (Oklahoma State) drove in Justin Henry.
The Braves put it away in the eighth with three runs on doubles by Brad Lincoln (Houston) and Robbie Widlansky (Florida Atlantic).
Hernandez finished the night 3-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI. During the regular, he quietly led the Braves in games (44), at bats (163), runs (25), hits (40), doubles (10) and, having played every game, made just one error.
Twenty-nine hits and 27 runs, including five home runs that took 11 pitchers to bring to an end as the Braves joined in a slugfest with Falmouth on Saturday in a must-win for the Commodores. Bourne clinched first place in the Western Division with the win, which also all but ended Falmouthís playoff hopes.
Every member of the starting nine for Bourne got at least one hit as the Braves tallied 14. After picking up a run in the top of the first inning, Lincoln launched a two-run fence-clearing blast to left centerfield in the second, followed at the plate by Mills who put one over the centerfield fence. In the third, Widlansky hit the third Bourne home run, another two-run shot to left centerfield.
The Braves had a 6-0 lead going into the bottom of the third when Falmouth got onto the scoreboard with two runs.
In the top of the fourth, Bourne pushed four more across the plate with Mills, Tim Mascia (Florida Atlantic), Henry and Hernandez all scoring. Lincoln and Andy Goff (Wake Forest) gave Bourne two more runs in the fifth, but in the bottom of the frame Falmouth cut it to a two-run 12-10 game.
The Braves pulled ahead 14-10 in the seventh, but again the Commodores clawed their way back, matching them in the bottom of the frame.
Bourneís final run came in the ninth when Mills scored on a ground ball by Mascia.
Bourne sent six pitchers to the mound, collectively surrendering a dozen runs, only four of which were earned. The Braves committed four costly errors.
Lincoln got the start, going two perfect innings and allowing just one hit. Nick Manganaro (South Florida), who was the fifth Bourne pitcher to enter the game, picked up the win with three innings of relief. Manganaro gave up two unearned runs on three hits in three innings of work.
Hicks closed out the ninth for his ninth save of the season.
Mills was perfect going 3-for-4 at the plate with a walk. He scored three runs and picked up an RBI with his second inning home run. Henry also had three hits with a walk in five at bats scoring two runs and collecting two RBIs. Widlansky was 2-for-5 with a run scored and four RBIs.
First place in the Western Division remained one win away Friday as the Cotuit Kettleers slipped past the Braves with a 2-1 weather-shortened win.
Greg Reynolds (Stanford) got the start for the Braves and turned in a five-hit six inning performance. Reynolds gave up two runs in the fifth inning.
Goff scored the lone Bourne run in the sixth inning on a single through the left side off the bat of Ty Wright (Oklahoma). The Braves had six hits led by Bret Bartles (Duke) who went 2-for-3. Bartles gave the Braves two chances after he doubled in the second with one out but was stranded and again in the fifth when he reached third with one out but was again stranded.
Manganero entered the game for the top of the seventh but turned around and left the mound when the game was halted due to lightening and darkness.
Wright finished the afternoon 1-for-2 with an RBI and a walk.