story by Steve McCarthy
June 24, 2010
BOURNE – After being held hitless all night, Bourne Braves cleanup hitter Mike Nemeth (UConn) came through in the bottom of the ninth inning Thursday with a two-out game-tying RBI-single through the right side of the infield. He then stole second and came around with the winning run on Creede Simpson’s (Auburn) line drive into center field to give the Braves a 3-2 victory over the Cotuit Kettleers at Doran Park.
“I hit a couple of balls hard today and couldn’t find a hole,” Nemeth said. “It was nice to finally hit one good and get it through.”
It was the first meeting between the Western Division franchises since Bourne defeated Cotuit in the 2009 Cape Cod Baseball League championship series. The Braves (5-5) won their third straight game to move into a three-way tie with Hyannis and Falmouth for the division lead. Cotuit has lost five of its last seven games and stands at 2-7-1.
The Kettleers carried a 2-0 lead into the late innings, but their bullpen could not hold for starting pitcher Austin Wood (St. Petersburg), who hurled five innings of one-hit ball. Brooks Pinckard (Baylor) blew the save and Michael Devine (0-1, VMI) allowed the hits by Nemeth and Simpson and took the loss.
“Whenever you’re that close to a victory and it slips away, it always hurts a little bit,” Cotuit catcher C.J. Cron (Utah) said. “We’ve got to come back tomorrow and keep our heads up.”
Tommy LaStella (Southern Miss.) hit a one-out double into the right field corner to set up Nemeth, who executed following a Ryan Wright (Louisville) groundout.
“A 3-2 ballgame is a normal Cape League game,” Nemeth said. “It definitely helps to know we can come back in a game like that.”
Wood walked one batter and struck out three in the no-decision. He threw 44 of his 76 pitches for strikes and allowed six baserunners.
“(Wood) did really well,” Cron said. “He commanded his fastball. His curveball and changeup weren’t really there today, but he threw his fastballs to both sides of the plate.”
Bourne reliever Kyle McMyne (1-0, Villanova) pitched just four outs for the win. Cotuit left runners stranded on second and third in the top of the ninth inning.
Cron drove in both of his team’s runs with a pair of ground rule doubles which one-hopped the low outfield fence. The rulings forced two potential Cotuit runs to stop at third base.
“I hit them solid and they just didn’t stay in,” Cron said. “There’s really nothing you can do about it.”
Bourne spoiled the shutout in the seventh inning when Andy Lalli (Central Conn. St.) came in from third on LaStella’s sac-fly. The run was unearned, as Lalli advanced to third on one of two throwing errors in the inning by Cotuit shortstop Taylor Black (Kentucky). Black aired another errant throw in the third inning.
The Braves left 12 baserunners stranded and had just five hits before their final at-bat. Bourne’s team batting average has risen from .186 to .219 in their past two games.
“We’re starting to figure it out,” Nemeth said. “The lineup’s been consistent. We know how we’re starting to feel about where we are in the lineup and behind everybody else.”
Cotuit’s stingy offense (.186 team batting average) tallied eight hits, but continues to struggle to find run production to complement a solid starting pitching rotation.
“We’re just trying to stay with it,” Cron said. “I believe it will come around, and we’re just waiting for it to click. I think once it does, we’ll be successful.”
Bourne starting pitcher Grayson Garvin (Vanderbilt) lasted just three innings in his first outing of the summer. He was charged with both of Cotuit’s runs on two hits and he walked five. He had one strikeout.
Chance Sossamon (Wichita St.) spelled Garvin for three innings, allowing a hit and striking out three. Will Roberts (Virginia) followed for an inning and two-thirds.
Cotuit reliever Kyle McMillen (Kent St.) worked the sixth inning and left runners stranded on the corners. Pinckard came on for the next two and one-third and was lifted with one out in the ninth, following LaStella’s double.
Cotuit will travel to Falmouth on Friday for a 7 p.m. game.