By: Koki Riley
BOURNE, MA - On Monday night, the Bourne Braves defeated the Brewster Whitecaps 5-3 at Doran Park, halting Brewster’s quest for a third victory over Bourne in two days.
The Whitecaps defensive struggles continued, committing three errors and allowing two unearned runs, which proved to be the difference in the two-run loss.
“Our pitching is good enough to keep us in games and I think we’re getting just enough offense to win a handful of these things,” said Whitecaps coach Jamie Shevchik. “But we now have, I think, 21 errors and 17 unearned runs and that’s totally unacceptable. You’re not going to win many games that way.”
A Jared Triolo (Houston) groundball in the second inning trickled off Whitecaps’ first baseman Chandler Taylor’s (Alabama) glove and into right field, allowing Bourne’s first run to cross the plate.
In the following inning, after a Grant Williams (Kennesaw State) single, Whitecaps starting pitcher Connor Higgins (Arizona State) would throw over to first base to check on Williams, but threw the ball over Taylor’s head, allowing Williams to get to third on the errant throw.
“There’s too much focus in college baseball on pitching and how far we can hit a baseball in a batting cage. There’s no reward for guys that play good defense,” Shevchik said. “You don’t make all-star games by somebody playing great defense. It’s just lacking throughout the college game in general and that’s something these guys are going to have to take a little more serious because this is where we’re losing games.”
Higgins’ overthrow would come back to bite the lefty, as a single up the middle from Braves shortstop Turner Brown (East Carolina) would bring home another run, tying the game at two.
One of Brewster’s lone bright spots was relief pitcher Ryan Avidano, who didn’t give up a run in 3.1 innings of work for Brewster.
“Just working ahead early, throwing the fastball for strikes and putting them away late with the curveball,” said Avidano when he was asked about his successful outing.
Despite the three errors in the game, Brewster was able to score a healthy amount of runs early on in the game thanks in large part to Braves starter Ian Miller (Harvard), who walked six batters in 2.1 innings for Bourne.
Brewster got out to a hot start after Miller walked the bases loaded in the top of the first inning. Marty Costes made it 1-0 Brewster with a sacrifice fly to shallow center which looked like a bloop single off the bat but was reeled home on a spectacular basket catch from the shortstop Brown, scoring Kyle Datres (UNC).
Brewster would double their 1-0 lead later in the inning thanks to an infield single from designated hitter Michael Curry (Georgia).
After Bourne stormed back to tie the game, Brewster would regain the lead in the fourth inning when A.J. Graffanino (Washington) singled home Curry, giving the Whitecaps a 3-2 lead.
Brewster’s lead would not last long, however, as Bourne scored both Kevin Radzewicz (Fairfield) and Spencer Brickhouse (East Carolina) in the bottom of the fourth inning on a single from Jameson Hannah (Dallas Baptist). The base knock from Hannah would give Bourne a 4-3 lead.
Brewster would fail to score for the rest of the game as the team continued to struggle with timely hitting, leaving eleven runners on base.
“It’s the same story. We had opportunities to score and situational hitting is where we’re lacking right now,” said Shevchik. “All we needed to do was put the ball in play. Put the ball anywhere on the ground and we’d probably score two more runs, but again that’s not the case.”
The Braves tacked on a fifth run in the fifth inning when Brickhouse delivered his fourth hit of the day, driving in birthday-boy Lyle Lin (Arizona State) to stretch the Bourne lead to two.
Higgins, who had been stellar in his first two outings, was hit hard on Monday. The lefty surrendered seven hits and five runs (three earned) over 4.2 innings, raising his season ERA from 0.90 to 2.45.
“He’s starting and he’s now pitching in a regular rotation every six or seven days and he’s not used to doing that,” said Shevchik. “So there’s going to be a little bit of a learning curve and a little bit of a toll that’s taken on his arm and his body. I think after he bounces back, he’s got a fourth start, we’re going to keep him in the same role so he’s going to have to get used to this.”
In relief of Miller, the Braves bullpen was sensational as the four man crew of Nick Johnson (Rhode island), Dylan Coleman (Missouri State), Chad Luensmann (Nebraska), and Ryan Feltner (Ohio State) would combine for seven innings of work and allow only one run on seven strikeouts.
WHAT’S NEXT: Brewster travels to Guv Fuller Field in Falmouth on Tuesday to take on the Commodores. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.