With the first week of Cape Cod baseball League action behind them, the Bourne Braves are 3-3-1 and tied for second in the Western Division with the Cotuit Kettleers and just two points behind division leader Wareham.
Bourne Braves' third baseman Beau Mills has
helped the team have a strong start early in
Mark Davidian / Enterprise
After opening the summer of 2005 season with a 1-1 tie with the Cotuit Kettleers, the Bourne Braves dropped three games in a row. Five errors over the three-game span contributed to the slow Bourne start, while with few exceptions, the hitting struggled to compensate as the team posted a .219 average at the plate.
"We have a young team," Bourne Head Coach Harvey Shapiro noted. "We have five freshmen and we also have a couple of red-shirt sophomores who didnít play their freshman year because they were hurt, so in a sense they are really freshmen. That may have caused a few jitters. They know itís a tough league. Theyíve read about it, heard about it, and theyíre in it now."
The Braves dropped their home opener to the Harwich Mariners 8-3, in spite of a determined effort on the mound by Gib Hobson (NC State) and Brandon Miller (Fresno State). The next day traveling to Harwich, the Braves made it two losses in a row to the Mariners in a 3-0 decision.
Cory Forest (William and Mary) kept Bourne in the game and put his team in a position to win. However, the bats fell silent. Forrest threw seven solid innings without allowing a run. He gave up one hit and walked one, while striking out 10. The best Bourne could do at the plate was three hits with two of them coming off the bat of Brad Lincoln (Houston).
"Cory pitched very well," Shapiro said. "He was ahead most of the game. He mixed up his pitches and threw strikes."
Chatham handed the Braves their third straight loss as again Bourne bats were held to three hits, with Andy Goff (Wake Forest) going 2-for-3.
"They had a three-run homer that really broke our backs," Shapiro noted of his teamís 5-1 loss to the Athletics. "Andy (Goff) has done a nice job for us defensively and he has been getting on base."
Having been outscored 17-4 in their first four games and still searching for their first win, the Braves exploded on Wareham Monday night, pounding the Gatemen 16-2, the most runs Bourne has ever posted against a Wareham team in the modern era. Nick Manganaro (South Florida) pitched the first six innings for the win, giving up just two runs on five hits while striking out six.
"Nick did a nice job," Shapiro said. "He had the one bad inning, but then we scored 11 runs and that was with two outs. The last time that happened to me, I was on the other end when I was coaching the Dutch National team. Iím glad I was on the other side this time."
Lincoln and former Gateman Mike Hernandez (Okalahoma State) each finished the day 2-for-3 at the plate and each had two runs scored. Lincoln picked up three RBI.
"Brad (Lincoln) has been doing a nice job," Shapiro noted. "I originally recruited him as a pitcher, but heís been swinging the bat well. I knew this spring that Iíd use him as a hitter, but I hadnít anticipated that."
Bourne welcomed back Stanford hurler Greg Reynolds Tuesday night as the big right-hander pitched seven scoreless innings in a 12-inning affair at Orleans on the way to a 2-1 Braves win. Reynolds allowed just three hits while striking out five.
"He pitched very well at Orleans," Shapiro said of Reynolds. "It always seems to be exciting baseball over there. We had some opportunities in the eighth, but couldnít take advantage of them. In the 10th, we scored a run, but let them come back to tie us. Then we got a run in the 11th and they loaded the bases, and we wiggled out of it."
Romas Hicks (Georgia State) pitched three innings without allowing a hit, and Tyler Rhoden (Vanderbilt) pitched the 11th allowing one run and picking up the win. Andrew Carignan (UNC) earned the save in closing out the 12th.
The Bourne bats knocked out 13 hits Wednesday as they downed the Falmouth Commodores 7-4. Miller picked up the win in relief and Mike McBryde (Florida Atlantic) earned the save. McBryde started the game in centerfield and went 2-for-4 at the plate with a run scored and an RBI, before being called to the mound in the ninth.
Bourne struck first with runs in the second and third innings. Falmouth came back to take a 4-2 lead in the sixth, but the Braves put it away in the seventh with four more runs.
Blake Parker (Arkansas) finished the day 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored, and Justin Henry (Ole Miss) was 3-for-5 with three RBI and a run. Robby Widlansky (Florida Atlantic) and Josh Stinson (San Jacinto) were each 2-for-4 with an RBI.
After 13 straight days of work, yesterday was the first day off for the Braves.
"Weíve been here a long time without a break," the coach said of his team. "The kids are a little tired. Everybody could use a day off before we start up again Friday."
The Braves will host Hyannis at Coady Field today at 4:45 PM.