COTUIT – It was a tale of two teams heading in two different directions on Saturday. With the 7-2 victory over Cotuit, Bourne notched its third straight win, and Cotuit suffered its third straight defeat. The surging Braves have won nine of their last eleven games, and are now two points behind the previously untouchable Hyannis Harbor Hawks for first place in the Western Division.
Bourne utilized exceptional performances from starter Thomas Collier (San Jacinto CC) and designated hitter Zach Alvord (Auburn). Collier pitched six effective scoreless innings while striking out five Kettleers. He impressively worked his way out of some tough spots mainly utilizing his curveball while also aggressively going after Cotuit’s best bats with his fast ball. His heater hung around 94 mph for most of the game.
Collier’s back was against the wall in the bottom of the second inning when Cotuit had the bases full of Kettleers and no outs. The first Kettleer with a chance to hit some runners home was Kyle Wren (Georgia Tech) who bounced one back to Collier with plenty of time to get the force out at home. Collier then worked Alex Yarbrough (Ole Miss) to a full count before burning him with some high heat that was level with Yarbrough’s eyes. Victor Roache (Georgia Southern), the most ideal hitter for Cotuit with the bases loaded, did nothing but gaze at a curveball that fell in the zone for a called third strike. Collier yelled words of ecstasy to himself while holding his glove to his face after the umpire rung Roache up. His confidence was literally overflowing.
Collier got out of a smaller rut in the third inning when he got Stefan Sabol (Oregon) to look at the same exact hook that Roache did for strike three with Deven Marrero (Arizona State) looming at third base.
“Today I felt good. I was able to set up my pitches perfectly,” recounted Thomas. “It just worked out. The curveball was there for me today and it was able to get me out of some tough jams.”
Zach Alvord played the role of spark plug for the Bourne offense. He went 3 for 4 with two doubles and four RBIs. He hit the ball all over Lowell Park, sending one double to the right center field fence and the other going to the left field wall.
After nursing a 1-0 lead through five innings, Alvord and the Braves broke it open in the sixth by putting up a five run frame. The inning began with Colin Moran (UNC) getting on base via a single, followed by a Jason Coates (TCU) double. That’s when the usually impressive Chris Beck’s (Georgia Southern) armor began to chip. Alvord then hit is first double getting the two Braves on base home safely. Zach Wright (East Carolina) then hit a ground ball to Marrero. With Alvord hustling for third on the play, Marrero tried to snag him, but Deven’s throw hit Alvord in the back causing the ball to roll to the Cotuit dugout. Alvord was able to come around and score. Wright then got to third by a grounder hit by Garrett Cannizaro (Tulane). Travis Jankowski (Stony Brook) then hit and looked like the third out of the inning to second basemen Micah Johnson (Indiana), but his throw to first brought Alex Yarbrough off the bag, allowing the hustling Wright to score from home. Beck’s day was done after that, being replaced by Keenan Kish (Florida).
Alvord had his second 2 RBI double in the next inning, scoring Moran and DJ Hicks (UCF).
“I felt relaxed in the box, some guys left it over the plate, and I was able to barrel it up a few times,” reflected Alvord. “It felt good to finally get more than two hits in a game.”
Bourne Head Coach Harvey Shapiro was also impressed. “[Zach] smoked a couple of those balls today,” praised Shapiro. “So he did very well. Colin Moran also had a very nice day at the plate.”
Cotuit showed a flicker of a heartbeat in the seventh inning when Roache, Torsten Boss (Michigan State), and Deven Marrero all had consecutive doubles. Unfortunately it was much too little and way too late for Cotuit.
The Kettleers have scored a measly four runs in three days, and the lack of clutch hitting is quickly becoming the unattractive elephant in the room. Coach Mike Roberts is extremely aware of the lack of production.
“I mean, there is no magic wand, as I told [the team] we just have to keep working individually and hope that somebody gets a big base hit for us to break this thing open.”
Cotuit (10-18-2) will travel to Wareham on Sunday for a 5 o’ clock game.