Bourne snaps six-game losing skid to Y-D in 3-2 win

SOUTH YARMOUTH, Mass. — Bourne entered Tuesday’s contest at the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox on the wrong side of recent history between the two squads.

In the six visits to Merrill “Red” Wilson Field since July 16, 2021, the Braves are winless, with the most recent result being an 8-1 defeat on June 23. But after Tuesday, that streak is no more.

Despite early struggles on offense, Bourne (5-8-1) rode dominant pitching and a big sixth inning to a 3-2 victory over the surging Red Sox and has now won consecutive games for the first time this summer. What’s more is that the Braves only issued two free passes, key against a strong offense like that of Yarmouth-Dennis.

“I’m not sure one team is better than the other out there,” field manager Scott Landers said. “You’ve just got to play the game of baseball and play it against yourselves and play against the game. And every time you play mistake-free and limit the freebies, you’ve got a chance to win."

Akin to many other games this season, Bourne got off to a promising start, putting three runners on in the first inning. Shortstop Jack Penney (Notre Dame) whacked the fourth pitch he saw over the third baseman’s head for a leadoff single and was moved 180 feet thanks to a productive out from outfielder Chris Stanfield (LSU) and a passed ball.

Outfielder Ethan Conrad (Wake Forest) then walked and stole second before third baseman Blake Barthol (Coastal Carolina) worked a seven-pitch walk. However, infielder Camden Kozeal (Vanderbilt) hit into a 4-3 groundout to strand the bases loaded.

This issue persisted when Bourne had its second opportunity with runners in scoring position three frames later.

At first, it seemed too good of an opportunity to miss out on. But a leadoff single and walk from designated hitter Braden Holcomb (Vanderbilt) and Barthol, respectively, were for naught. Three straight outs stymied any momentum Bourne had generated.

The Red Sox got on the board in the bottom of the first, though, as designated hitter Easton Carmichael’s (Oklahoma) one-out sacrifice fly scored Phoenix Call (UCLA) from third.

After that first inning, Braves starter Beau Bryans (Alabama) displayed sheer dominance, retiring the Red Sox in order twice and surrendering only a single through the remainder of a largely successful five-frame outing. He hit 94 mph on his fastball and struck out four in his best performance of the summer.

“[Bryans] came out really good, gave us a cushion to kind of get going,” Conrad said. “When our pitchers do that, it makes it really easy for us to string hits together and get a few runs in.”

While Conrad was without a hit after his first two at-bats, that quickly changed in the sixth. The New York native unloaded on the fourth pitch of the at-bat — which came low and in the center of the zone — for a solo shot into right-center field. Bourne wasn’t finished, as back-to-back singles from Holcomb and Barthol soon resulted in the former scoring from third on a wild pitch.

The Braves tacked on another run in the eighth, and despite conceding a solo shot in the bottom of the ninth, their bullpen ultimately held on and sealed a massive win.

“We made some mistakes with some strikeouts early with runners in scoring position,” Landers said. “We capitalized later in the game, and that’s all I can ask for out of these guys. Just make adjustments throughout the game. We’ll make some mistakes, we’ve just got to fix them and do what we’ve got to do to win.”

Pivotal sequence

It should come as no surprise that when the Braves scored their third run — which proved to be the game-winner — in the eighth, Conrad was in the middle of it.

He slapped a grounder to shortstop Wehiwa Aloy (Arkansas), who couldn’t field it cleanly, for an infield single before reaching third via a wild pitch and his seventh stolen base of the season. Pinch hitting for Holcomb, infielder Garrett Michel (Virginia Tech) increased Bourne’s lead with an RBI single into center.

Hitter of the Game — Braden Holcomb

It’s no secret that Holcomb has been a consistent hitter through most of his Braves tenure, as he has led his team in hits for the majority of the season. But in his past two games, he’s found another level.

The Florida native followed up a two-hit performance on Saturday against Chatham with a 2-for-3 showing at Yarmouth-Dennis. His first hit came in the fourth, a single he smacked into center field. After two more innings elapsed, Holcomb found himself in an 0-2 count but lined his second single of the evening, again into center field.

“He’s seeing the ball better and getting more acclimated,” Landers said. “He’s had some hard-hit balls, some balls he stayed on. But overall, he’s been pretty good. We’ve just got to keep him there.”

Pitcher of the Game — Cameron Padgett

When Bryans passed the torch to right-hander Cameron Padgett (North Carolina) in the sixth following a dominant start, his successor continued to make it look easy on the bump.

Padgett’s first outing on the Cape wasn’t seamless, as he allowed three hits, but he controlled the damage anytime he faced issues. After striking out fellow Tar Heel Gavin Gallaher to begin his evening, Padgett relinquished a double to outfielder Ethan Petry (LSU). However, he then forced Yarmouth-Dennis into two straight outs, stranding Petry on second.

It was a similar situation an inning later with infielder Cameron Kim (UCLA) and catcher Brady Neal (Alabama) notching consecutive one-out singles. Much like the prior frame, though, Padgett responded and hurled back-to-back strikeouts. Overall, he used a mix of his fastball, changeup and slider to find success against the Red Sox.

In three innings, Padgett allowed only three hits and no runs while fanning four, a strong first impression on Landers.

“His fastball was good,” Landers said. “He kept it down both sides of the plate. His changeup is one of his best pitches and he threw that well. Once he started commanding the slider a little better after that first inning he was out there… He pounded the zone and did what he had to do.”

A look ahead

With the win over Yarmouth-Dennis and a Hyannis Harbor Hawks loss, Bourne moves within three games of third place in the Cape Cod West Division. However, Hyannis’ loss was to the Falmouth Commodores, the last-place team in the West who remains one and a half games back of the Braves.

Bourne is set to begin a home-and-home series with the Gatemen on Wednesday, starting with a matchup at Clem Spillane Field in Wareham. Similar to the Red Sox, the Gatemen have been one of the hottest teams on the Cape so far this season and lead the West with a 10-4 record.

The probable starter for Bourne is right-hander Nolan Sparks (Boston College), who was in line to get the nod on the bump at Orleans on Sunday. Sparks’ last start was at Yarmouth-Dennis on June 23 in a 4 2/3-inning outing that saw him strike out six and allow two earned runs. In two total appearances this summer, he has pitched to a 2.70 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and thrown 10 strikeouts.

Sparks will likely face right-handed pitcher Tate McGuire (Arkansas) on Wednesday. McGuire has two starts under his belt this season — his most recent being in a 2-1 win over Orleans during which he tossed five innings of no-hit ball — and has a spotless ERA along with a sub-one WHIP and 12 punchouts in 9 1/3 frames.

First pitch in Wareham is set for 6 p.m.


Penney extended his hitting streak to seven games, contributing a single… Conrad has now reached base in all six of his games as a member of the Braves. He also took the outright team lead for stolen bases on the season with seven, good for the fourth-most in the CCBL… Holcomb has recorded back-to-back multi-hit games after contributing two hits against Yarmouth-Dennis… Barthol enjoyed a very solid debut, going 1-for-2 with a pair of walks… Bourne has drawn the second-most walks on the Cape with 67, five fewer than first-place Hyannis… The Braves are also second in the league in stolen bases… Bourne’s 134 combined strikeouts are the third-most in the league.

(Photo credit: Shannen Hardy)