story by Steve McCarthy
August 2, 2010
BOURNE – The Cape Cod Baseball League’s Western Division leading Bourne Braves won a battle of the bullpens Monday night 5-4 against the Cotuit Kettleers, handing Cotuit its second walk-off loss in three days.
Bourne (22-20) won in the same fashion for the second game in a row. The Braves strengthened their hold on first place in the division standings to four points over the second place Kettleers (19-20-2). Monday’s game was the final meeting between the teams of the regular season, which concludes on Wednesday.
The Braves kept chipping away at Cotuit’s 4-1 lead, which was built in the fourth inning. Cotuit closer Ryan Duke (Oklahoma) worked the Kettleers out of bases-loaded jams in the seventh and eighth innings but couldn’t get past the first out of the ninth with a 4-3 lead.
Duke struck out Josh Elander (TCU) to start the inning but walked Nick Ahmed (UConn) and Travis Jankowski (Stony Brook) singled up the middle before Mike Nemeth (UConn) curled an opposite field line drive down the left field foul line to plate the tying run.
“After a couple of strikeouts earlier, it’s nice to be able to come back and have a big at-bat there, especially with the game on the line,” Nemeth said.
Kyle McMillen (Kent St.) was brought on to face the middle of Bourne’s order and walked Jason Coats (TCU) to load the bases and bring up cleanup hitter Travis Shaw (Kent St.). Shaw popped a lazy fly ball that forced Cotuit shortstop Deven Marrero (Arizona St.) to range back to the shallow outfield, just deep enough to allow Jankowski to tag and race home with the winning run from third.
“That’s not the way you draw it up,” Shaw quipped. “(McMillen) fooled me on the 2-1 pitch, but thank God we had somebody fast on third.”
Duke took the loss (0-1), his first decision of the summer. He has three saves for Cotuit.
Cotuit’s fourth inning rally was sparked by a two-run home run from John Hinson (Clemson). Levi Hyams’ (Georgia) sacrifice-fly pushed across the third run and James McCann’s (Arkansas) RBI bloop single culminated the four-hit, four-run frame.
That was the last of the Kettleers’ offense for the night, as three Braves relievers combined to no-hit Cotuit the rest of the way. R.C. Orlan (North Carolina) spelled Tar Heels teammate Mike Morin in the fifth inning and took the game through the seventh. Logan Billbrough (William and Mary) worked a perfect eighth and R.J. Alvarez (Florida Atlantic) closed it out and earned the win (3-2).
“Our bullpen, I think, is the best in the league,” Shaw said. “We have four or five guys that can go out there and shut every team down it seems like.”
Bourne’s offense was spotty off Cotuit starter A.J. Achter (Michigan St), who was able to recover quickly from mistakes. Achter surrendered runs in the second and fourth innings and left the bases loaded for Duke with no outs in the seventh. Achter scattered seven hits over six innings and struck out five in his second start of the summer.
“I thought we were done after (the seventh),” Shaw said. “When you leave the bases loaded and only score one run with nobody out, that usually ends up in a loss.”
Tommy Lastella (Coastal Carolina) led Bourne’s 11-hit charge with a 3-for-3 night. Shaw and Zack MacPhee (Arizona St.) had two hits each. Shaw tripled in his first at-bat.
“This was a real big win,” Nemeth said.
Cotuit will host Yarmouth-Dennis for a doubleheader on Tuesday with Y-D serving as the home team for the first seven inning game starting at 1 p.m. The second game will start approximately a half hour after the conclusion of the first.