Braves can’t keep pace with Gatemen offense in 8-6 loss

WAREHAM, Mass. — Bourne’s schedule isn’t getting any easier, even after Tuesday's win over the Cape Cod East Division-leading Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox.

On Wednesday, the Braves kicked off a two-game set with the Wareham Gatemen, who currently lead the Cape Cod West Division. The stark difference in records didn’t change field manager Scott Landers’ message — his team can beat any opponent so long as it plays a clean, mistake-free game.

Wednesday’s game wasn’t spotless on the Braves’ part, but they played well enough to win. They simply ran into the offensive juggernaut that is the Gatemen. Wareham (11-4) put up six runs in the first two frames, including a five-run second to take an early 6-0 lead. A late comeback effort from Bourne (5-9-1) fell short in an 8-6 defeat.

“We battled back,” Landers said. “We let up some barrels early in two home runs, and [we were] quickly [down] 6-0. But we showed some grit and some good at-bats down the stretch in the later innings. We didn’t quit, so we’ll take that, and we’ve got [Wareham] tomorrow.”

Wareham’s high-octane offense showed up in the first, with outfielder Bobby Boser (South Florida) doubling into left and later being driven in by a single from fellow outfielder Jace Rinehart (South Carolina-Upstate). It got far worse in the next frame.

Infielder Nate Earley (Florida SouthWestern State JC) clobbered right-hander Nolan Sparks’ (Boston College) first offering of the inning for a solo shot into right. Three more Gatemen reached before Boser picked up his second extra-base hit — a grand slam that carried over the right field wall.

Bourne started on the long road back in the third, though, putting together a rally it ultimately took advantage of. Outfielder Landyn Vidourek (Cincinnati) pieced up a 3-1 offering that got over outfielder Brendan Summerhill’s (Arizona) head in center for a one-out double. Shortstop Jack Penney (Notre Dame) singled and outfielder Chris Stanfield (LSU) walked to load the bases.

Unlike in the first inning of Tuesday’s game, the Braves cashed in thanks to outfielder Ethan Conrad (Wake Forest), who flew a two-RBI single into the center field gap, giving his team life. Conrad contributed again in the sixth, doubling into left field and advancing 90 feet on a wild pitch before a sacrifice fly from third baseman Blake Barthol (Coastal Carolina) drove him in.

“[The rally] was huge,” Vidourek said. “I feel like everything was against us, but we did a really good job staying the course. Unfortunately, they put up more runs than we did, but offensively, I feel like we had a pretty good game.”

After Wareham tacked on two more runs in the sixth, the Braves punched back immediately. Penney and Stanfield drew walks and Conrad grounded a single into right field for his third RBI of the night. A productive groundout from Barthol added another run, making the score 8-5.

A botched pickoff attempt to first an inning later allowed catcher Ben Hartl (Kansas) to score from third, and all of a sudden, Bourne was within two runs of tying a game they seemed out of after two frames.

With Conrad on first in the ninth, the Braves had the tying run at the plate twice but couldn’t convert, sealing the 8-6 defeat.

Hitter of the Game — Ethan Conrad

The impact Conrad has had on the Braves’ offense since joining the team seven games ago can’t be overstated.

In the seven contests he’s been on the Cape, Conrad has logged a staggering 16 knocks, good for a .571 average, along with eight stolen bases. On Wednesday, he continued his hot streak, going 4-for-5, driving in three runs and swiping a bag.

“The kid can hit,” Vidourek said. “Hitting is contagious, so it always helps. But I think he does a really good job. Like I said, hitting is contagious, and it makes us all go up to the plate with the same mentality. Just talking to him [about] what he’s seeing, obviously he’s seeing the ball well.”

Pitcher of the Game — Griffin Hugus

When right-hander Griffin Hugus entered the game in the seventh, Bourne needed a steady performance on the mound to keep its comeback hopes alive.

The Miami transfer provided just that.

Hugus tossed two scoreless innings and had minimal issues, only allowing one hit. He also fanned two Gatemen and kept Wareham’s lineup at bay. He now owns a 6.14 ERA and nine strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings this summer.

“[Hugus] was good,” Landers said. “I thought his [velocity] was better. He’s always here to compete, which is good. But I thought his stuff was much better tonight.”

A look ahead

Regardless of any result, Bourne sits in the Cape Cod West Division’s fourth spot, but their loss narrows Bourne’s gap with last-place Falmouth to just a half-game, as the Commodores downed the Cotuit Kettleers, 6-4.

The Gatemen and Braves will head across the Bourne Bridge to Doran Park on Thursday for the second half of their home-and-home series. Wareham is now tied for the best record on the Cape and remains two games ahead of the Kettleers for the West Division lead.

Bourne’s probable starter for Thursday’s game is left-hander Joe Ariola (Wake Forest). Exclusively a piece in the bullpen thus far, Ariola has enjoyed a solid season, pitching to a 4.05 ERA and eight strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings across four relief appearances.

He will likely take on right-hander Yoel Tejeda Jr. (Florida State), who has started one game to date. That outing came on June 27 against the Chatham Anglers, where he went four frames, didn’t allow any runs and struck out five.

First pitch is at 6 p.m.


With a hit in Wednesday’s game, Penney is now on an eight-game hitting streak… Conrad also extended his own hitting streak, now seven games, and has 16 knocks during that stretch. He is also fourth in the Cape Cod Baseball League in stolen bases with seven… Bourne has drawn the second-most walks (73) in the league… The Braves still sit with the second-most strikeouts (147) on the Cape… Sparks is tied for the third-most strikeouts in the league with 16.