Braves Top Cotuit In Round 1, But Fall To Wareham
By: Rich Maclone
After riding high throughout the regular season, garnering the best record of any Cape Cod Baseball League squad, the season came to a disappointing conclusion for the Cotuit Kettleers. In a shocking turn of events, the Kettleer season ended in a heartbreaking 6-4 loss on Sunday when the team that had backed into the postseason, the Bourne Braves, pulled off a big upset.
Bourne came through big in the clutch to advance into the next round where they would be swept by Wareham. Cotuit led the divisional-round game through six innings, but the Braves rallied to pull ahead in the eighth inning and held on to send the Kettleers packing.
Dusty Isaacs (Georgia Tech) was dominant for most of the game in a starting role for Cotuit. The hurler tossed four perfect frames to start and held Bourne scoreless through six innings. Isaacs ultimately allowed just three hits in his seven innings of work, needing 69 pitches to get through his stint. He fanned six and did not issue a base on balls. Bourne scored just a single run against Isaacs, which tied the game at 1-1 in the seventh.
Cotuit held a 1-0 lead through six innings before Bourne came back. Patrick Biondi (Michigan) walked to lead off the second inning before stealing second. He then scored on a Texas Leaguer by Jacob May (Coastal Carolina).
Cam Griffin (Stetson) came out of the bullpen for Cotuit in the eighth, and Bourne welcomed the change. Griffin lasted just a third of an inning and was touched up for two runs on two hits. Ryan Connolly (Coastal Carolina) was the next man summoned to the hill by Head Coach Mike Roberts, but he fared no better. Connolly was hit around for two more Bourne runs, with LJ Mazzilli (UConn) doing the bulk of the damage with a two-out, three-run homer to give the Braves a 5-1 lead.
Despite the situation looking bleak, the Kettleers did not quit. The league’s best hitter during the season, Patrick Biondi (Michigan), and Tony Kemp (Vanderbilt) delivered in a big way, with Biondi connecting on an RBI single that scored Mike Ford (Princeton) and Kemp unloading on a two-run homer that hugged the right-field foul line to make it a one-run affair.
Bourne went on to add another run in the top of the ninth on a Connor David (UConn) RBI single to left.
Cotuit was able to get the leadoff man aboard in the bottom of the ninth, thanks to an error by Braves Mazzilli at second base that put Jacob Valdez aboard. John Farrell (William and Mary) slammed the door from there, though. The reliever got a fly out and then back-to-back strike-outs to end the game and propel the Braves into the next round to face Wareham.
Chad Green (Louisville) made the start for Bourne and did not factor in the decision, despite a very good outing. Green gave up just one run, on five hits, before handing the game over to the bullpen.
Patrick Young (Villanova) was the beneficiary of the Brave bats coming alive and was credited with the win, despite a rough turn on the hill. Young recorded five outs and gave up two runs on three hits. Farrell (William and Mary), who was very good, recorded the save.
In the next round of the playoffs, Bourne was swept by Wareham, two games to none. Both games were very close, but the big Gatemen bats came up huge in a 5-3, game-one win and then an 8-6 victory on Tuesday night to take the series. Mott Hyde (Georgia Tech) broke a 6-6 deadlock in the top of the ninth of game two with a two-run jack over the left-field wall to provide the difference and earn the Gatemen a trip to the finals where they met Yarmouth-Dennis.
The game had been a back-and-forth, prolonged affair that started late (8 PM) and went well past the bedtime of the batboys, thanks to a three-hour, 35-minute game time.
Bourne had rallied for a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to tie the score at 6-6, thanks to a clutch two-run, two-out double by Mazzilli that scored Steve Goldstein (Stony Brook) and Jack Reinheimer (LSU).
Wareham closer Colby Suggs (Arkansas) picked up the win for Wareham with 1.1 innings of perfection. Hawtin Buchanan (Mississippi) suffered the loss in relief for the Braves.
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