Bourne Braves Are Playoff Bound

 August 5, 2005


     The Bourne Braves own at least a share to the Western Division championship and have wrapped up a playoff spot. With a win today over Cotuit, they’ll claim sole possession of the top spot.

Bourne moved a step closer to winning it all Wednesday with a 4-2 win over the hapless Hyannis Mets. Gib Hobson (NC State) earned the win, running his record to 6-1 for the season. Hobson went five innings, giving up four hits and striking out four. Michael Crotta (Florida Atlantic) pitched two innings of solid relief and Romas Hicks (Georgia State) tacked on his eighth save of the summer with two flawless innings of work.

At the plate, Ty Wright (Oklahoma State) was perfect, finishing the afternoon 5-for-5. In the top of the third, Wright drove in the first two Bourne runs with single down the left field line. Beau Mills (Fresno State) then hit a sacrifice fly bringing in Brad Lincoln (Houston) to give the Braves a 3-0 lead.

In the top of the fifth, Robbie Widlansky made it 4-1 when he scored on a Mills ground ball. Hyannis picked up a run in the seventh for the 4-2 final.

Tim Mascia (Florida Atlantic) had a 2-for-3 day with a walk and Justin Henry (Ole Miss) finished up 2-for-4. 

League-leading Orleans fell to J.R. Crowel (Tulane) and the Braves 2-1 on Monday. Andy Goff (Wake Forest), who reached on a base hit in the fifth, came around to score what turned out to be the winning run on a Henry single up the middle. The Cardinals got their one run in the sixth off a Robert Perry (Long Beach State) home run. 

Bourne’s first run came in the first when Mascia scored on a single into right field by Lincoln.

Crowel went six innings, allowing one run on six hits and picking up his second victory of the season. Michael Crotta (Florida Atlantic) pitched two scoreless frames before turning it over to Romas Hicks (Georgia State) who earned his seventh save.

Lincoln took care of the Hyannis Mets on Sunday, picking up his third win with a 5-0 decision. Lincoln went seven innings allowing just six hits while striking out six.

The Braves scored the only run they would need in the fourth inning when Brett Bartles (Duke) crossed the plate on a sacrifice fly by Bunky Kateon (Mississippi State). Robbie Widlansky brought in a run in the sixth and Bourne plated three more in the seventh, led by doubles by Widlansky and Mike Hernandez (Oklahoma State).

"We had a lead, so I was pretty relaxed," Widlansky said of his double down the left field line. "I happened to get a decent piece of the pitch and it got down the line."

Throughout his career, the FAU third baseman has had strong second halves to the season and this summer appears to be no exception.

"Both years, my freshman and sophomore springs, I’ve had a good second half," he admitted. "As I get more comfortable my at bats and stats get better. I’ve had a great summer. The beginning was a little struggle, but as the weeks go by, things have definitely gotten better. I like it up here…coaches, players, host families, just everything."

Hernandez had the other seventh inning double. "They threw me a first pitch fastball away in my first three at bats," Hernandez explained. "My fourth at bat was what I was sitting on and drove it into the gap." 

Lincoln, Forrest Cory III (William & Mary) and Hobson represented the Braves in the Cape League All-Star Game on Saturday in which the Eastern Division pulled out a 1-0 victory. Cory pitched a scoreless fifth inning for the Western Division squad and Lincoln came to the plate three times, going 1-for-2 with a walk. His hit came in the fourth, an infield single, and he was the only Western Division player to draw a walk.

Back-to-back losses for the Braves going into the all-star break tightened the race in the West. After a one-run 4-3 loss to Brewster in which their comeback fell short, Bourne allowed Wareham to gain ground when the Gatemen came away with a 3-0 victory Friday.

Bruce Billings (San Diego State) held Bourne to five hits over seven and one-third innings Friday, striking out eight Braves batters. Greg Reynolds (Stanford) turned in a strong performance for Bourne, scattering five hits over six innings and surrendering three runs. Crotta and Andrew Carignan (UNC) each threw a hitless inning in relief.

Bourne out-hit the Gatemen with seven compared to five hits for Wareham, but was unable to come up with the big hit when they needed it.

The Braves mounted a threat in the eighth, but ended up stranding runners at second and third. Mascia was 2-for-3 and Widlansky finished the night 1-for-3 with a walk.

Forrest Cory III (William & Mary) contained the Whitecaps through eight innings on the 28th but didn’t get the support he needed at the plate, even though the Braves got to Brewster pitching for eight hits.

Brewster held a 4-1 lead going into the eighth with Bourne’s lone run coming in the second when Josh Stinson (San Jacinto) hit a two-out single and scored on a Beau Mills (Fresno State) base hit to left.

In the eighth, Hernandez scored on a Brewster error, chasing Whitecaps starter Heath Rollins (Winthrop) from the game. In the ninth Mills stroked a lead-off double and crossed the plate on another Brewster miscue. The Whitecaps committed four errors in the game.

"We had our chances in the eight and ninth innings," Bourne Coach Harvey Shapiro admitted, "We almost came back. We just didn’t get a hit when we needed it."

Hernandez finished the afternoon 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. Mills was 2-for-4 and scored a run.

The Braves added two more players for the final stretch. Dave Preziosi (Boston College) opened the Cape League season with Falmouth as a temporary player, hitting .333 in six at bats. On the mound, he posted an ERA of 6.23 in four and one-third innings of relief. A left-handed two-way player, the Braves plan to use him mainly in relief. Also joining Bourne is freshman right-hander Jonathan Johnston (Southern Mississippi). Johnston was sidelined for most of the spring season with a shoulder injury, but was able to make one appearance before the end of the season. He has an underneath delivery and throws a fastball, curve, and change-up. The Braves plan to use him primarily in short relief.

The Braves will host Cotuit today at 4:30 PM with Cory (4-1) expected to be on the hill for Bourne to face Clay Dirks (LSU) of the Kettleers.


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