Six Braves named to 2023 CCBL All-Star Game


Six members of the Bourne Braves were named Cape Cod Baseball League All-Stars on Sunday. Derek Bender, Caden Bodine, Jonathan Vastine, Bryce Eblin, Bryce Cunningham and Matthew McShane will be taking their talents to Whitehouse Field on July 22 as representatives of the West. Bender, Bodine and Vastine will be starters, while the latter three made the team as reserves.

Bender has been a forceful presence in the three-hole for Bourne. He won Player of the Week in his first week upon arriving to Cape Cod, and leads the league with a .367 batting average in 92 plate appearances. He owns a 1.027 OPS, a team-high three home runs and a team-leading 11 stolen bases.

Bodine, Bender’s Coastal Carolina teammate, has been an on-base machine behind him in the lineup. His .471 OBP ranks best on the Braves. He’s a few plate appearances short of qualifying for the league leaders, but his OBP would top Bender for the best on Cape Cod. Bender and Bodine are both catchers, so Bender has alternated among catcher, DH, first base and outfield while Bodine has switched between catcher and DH. The duo helped revitalize a Bourne offense that struggled in the first week of the season.

Also helping ignite that offensive surge was Vastine, the Vanderbilt Commodore who’s become the Braves’ everyday shortstop. Along with playing elite defense at short, Vastine has posted the third-best qualified OBP in the league with a .442 mark. He’s stole nine bases, and is tied for second on the Braves with 14 RBIs. Vastine has displayed remarkable athleticism in everything he does on a baseball field, from the way he sprints around the bases to the way he dives for ground balls that most shortstops wouldn’t get to.

Eblin earns his first All-Star nod in his second summer with Bourne. He rejoined the team after winning postseason MVP in last year’s championship run, and has hit .262 with a .360 OBP and 10 RBIs. The Alabama infielder has appeared at second base, third base, shortstop and DH in the Braves’ lineup.

Another Bryce, Cunningham, is also in his second season with Bourne, and was named to last year’s All-Star squad as well. The big Vanderbilt right-hander has impressed in his three starts since rejoining the team, with a 1.84 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings.

Rounding out Bourne’s All-Star class is pitcher Matthew McShane. The St. Joseph’s reliever has posted a 1.65 ERA in 16 1/3 innings, while collecting 19 strikeouts. He’s shown longevity as well, going at least three innings in three of his seven appearances.

The West will take on the East at 6 p.m. on July 22, with the Harwich Mariners hosting. There will be a pregame home run derby at 4 p.m.