Braves Opening Lead In West Division

 July 29, 2005


The Bourne Braves put a little space between themselves and the rest of the Western Division Wednesday with an 8-5 victory over Brewster. Gib Hobson (NC State) got the win with five and two-thirds innings of work in which he allowed five runs, four of which were earned on eight hits. Hobson struck out four and allowed a walk.

Michael Crotta (Florida Atlantic) and Andrew Carignan (UNC) combined for three and one-third innings of scoreless relief.

Hobson, who was selected to the Cape League All-Star team, improved to 5-1 for the season with an ERA of 2.64. Over the course of his 44 and one-third innings of work this summer, he has struck out 48 and given up just five walks. "Our pitching coach from school at NC State stresses walks per inning," Hobson explained. "He told me to come up here and try to limit my walks and thatís what Iíve been trying to do, hitting spots with my pitches, and so far it has been working for me."

He throws four pitches, a four-seam and a two-seam fastball, a curve, and a cutter. "I start it on the outside of the plate and let it break and thatís what Iíve been getting a lot of my strikeouts on, especially to right-handers," he added of the cutter. "My change up is my strikeout pitch to left-handed hitters."

The big blast for the Braves came in the top of the first when Brad Lincoln (Houston) launched his fifth home run of the summer, a two-RBI shot over the right centerfield fence. Lincoln, another Braves selected to the Cape League All-Star team, finished the night 1-for-2 with two RBI. The Whitecaps pitched around Lincoln after the first inning, walking him three times. He currently leads the team with an average of .275 with 21 RBI.

Bourne added two more runs in the second when Brett Bartles (Duke) drove in Josh Stinson (San Jacinto) and Mike Hernandez (Oklahoma State) tripled to plate Tim Mascia (Florida Atlantic) and Andy Goff (Wake Forest).

In the third and again in the fifth, Justin Henry (Ole Miss) hit a sacrifice fly to score Beau Mills (Fresno State) from third.

Bartles finished the afternoon 3-for-5 with a run scored and Goff was 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI. 

The Chatham Aís have been on a tear, taking two from the Braves this week.

Monday the Aís continued to beat up on Bourne with a 6-4 win. Nick Manganaro (South Florida) went five innings giving up five runs, only three of which were earned. The Braves made five infield errors. Manganaro surrendered 10 hits, allowed three walks, and struck out two.

Chatham scored in the top of the first, giving right-hander Jared Hughes (Long Beach State) five runs with which to work. Carignan pitched two strong innings allowing just one hit before turning it over to Forrest Cory III in the eighth who gave up another run. Romas Hicks (Georgia State) pitched a scoreless ninth.

Bourne picked up a run in the second when Henry drove in Bartles, and two more in the third when Hernandez and Robbie Widlansky (Florida Atlantic) crossed the plate.

Lincoln topped off the Bourne scoring with his fourth home run of the summer with a blast to right field in the sixth.

Sunday at Chatham the As claimed a 3-1 victory with J.R. Crowel (Tulane) getting tagged with the loss for Bourne. Of the four hits by the Braves, one was a smash over the fence by Bunky Kateon (Mississippi State). "He was throwing hard," Kateon said of Aís pitcher Steve Richard (Maine). "It was my first time up. He threw me a fastball on a 2-2 count down and in, and I hit it."

Mike Hernandez (Oklahoma State) picked up a hit. Hernandez continues to quietly do the job. He leads the team in hits (28), runs scored (18), total bases (45) and extra base hits (12). He is hitting .217 and has a dozen RBI.

Falmouth took a 9-1 beating at the hands of the Braves as they struggled to deal with Lincolnís pitching on Saturday. He went eight innings, allowing just one run on five hits, while striking out 12 and not giving up a walk. "I was feeling pretty good," Lincoln admitted. "My fastball was working. I tried a new strategy and threw my fastball inside a lot, which seemed to be baffling the batters. My curve ball was sharp. I only threw my change up a couple of times to keep them honest."

Bourne pounded out 13 hits. Widlansky finished the night 3-for-5, and Ty Wright (Oklahoma State), Henry, Hernandez, and Mascia all had two hits.

Carignan pitched a scoreless ninth. 

The Hyannis Mets would probably like to see the summer of 2005 come to an end as they have struggled all season. The Braves added to the Metsí ongoing misery on Friday with a 6-2 victory. Greg Reynolds (Stanford) picked up his second win of the season with eight strong innings of work, allowing just four hits. The two runs he gave up were both unearned, coming on Bourne errors.

"It went pretty well," Reynolds said. "I stuck to the game plan. I wanted to establish ball and once I did, I worked on my other pitches to throw hitters off balance. This year, Iím seeing different things in hitters. Iím having a great time; itís a real comfortable situation here."

The Braves got down to business in the first inning when Henry scored on a Lincoln double and Mike McBryde (Florida Atlantic) crossed the plate on a ground out by Bartles. Henry scored again in the third on a McBryde sacrifice fly, and Mascia, Hernandez and Josh Stinson (San Jacinto) each scored in the sixth.

Romas Hicks (Georgia State) came on in a non-save situation to close out the ninth.

Henry, McBryde, Widlansky, and Bartles all had multiple hits, with Henry scoring twice and picking up an RBI. McBryde also scored and added two RBI. 

For Mascia, Friday night marked his return to the team he played for last year, filling the roster spot created with the departure of Tyler Rhoden (Vanderbilt). "I called coach at the beginning of the year and said if you need an extra guy, give me a call," Mascia said. "I wasnít really doing anything this summer and I was really excited to get the phone call."

"When Tyler Rhoden left, we decided to take Tim, figuring that we could use (outfielder) McBryde as a pitcher too," Bourne Head Coach Harvey Shapiro explained. Brandon Miller (Fresno State) also left the team and Shapiro would like to find another pitcher to fill his spot.

Mascia got back into the batters box last Friday night against Hyannis and went 1-for-4 with a run scored. Last summer with the Braves he hit .238. "Itís definitely tough up here," he added. "I havenít seen anything like the way these guys are throwing, but I think Iíll get right back into it pretty quickly."

Mascia joins McBryde, Widlansky, and Michael Crotta, all teammates at Florida Atlantic to finish the summer. "I actually know a lot of people up here," he smiled. "I was on the team last year with Greg Reynolds and Iíve played summer ball with J.R. Crowel and I know a bunch of guys on other teams. Itís good to see people that you havenít seen in awhile."

Forrest Cory III continues to cruise along this summer picking up his fourth victory with a 5-4 win over Brewster. Cory went eight and two-thirds innings taking a 5-0 lead into the ninth before running into trouble as the Whitecaps knocked out five of their nine hits and scored four runs. Crotta came on to record the final out of the ninth and pick up his second save of the season.

"I was able to get ahead in the count and the defense was awesome behind me," Cory said, "but I did run into a little bit of trouble later in the game; the second and third time around, guys started putting better swings on me. By the time I got to the ninth inning, they put a lot better swings on me. Coming out in the ninth I felt good, but sometimes youíre not as good as your body is telling you."

Thus far this season, Cory has been able to do exactly what he has intended, getting ahead of hitters early in the count and keeping his pitch count down.

"I feel that if I can get ahead early, strike one, strike two, and kind of put hitters on their heels, Iím effective," he explained. "All summer my fastball, slider, and change up Iíve been able to throw for strikes, and that makes a world of difference."

Bourne jumped out in front in the second with four runs. Beau Mills (Fresno State) and McBryde both reached after being hit by pitches. Stinson singled in Mills and then Andy Goff (Wake Forest) was hit by a pitch, setting the stage for Henry to drive in McBryde. Wright then connected for the second Bourne hit of the inning, a two-RBI double down the right field line to top off the scoring.

The Braves added what turned out to be the game winner in the third when Widlansky walked, stole second, and scored on a base hit by McBryde.

According to Coach Shapiro, it appears that McBrydeís injury will not allow him to play in the final seven games of the season, creating a second open roster spot. Shapiro plans to fill both spots with pitching and hopes to have help for the stretch run on hand by this weekend.

The Braves head for Wareham tonight for an important Western Division contest. Greg Reynolds is expected to get the ball for Bourne.


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