Sun sets on Bourne's comeback in 8-7 loss to Cotuit

COTUIT, Mass. — Bourne Braves field manager Scott Landers didn’t panic as he watched Cotuit’s offense pour it on his team in the third inning of Saturday’s game.

Sure, the Kettleers transformed a 1-1 tie into a four-run advantage in the span of three at-bats, negating a promising Braves effort in the first two frames. But the reality is that Landers’ group has found itself in a similar position multiple times in the past week, managing to fight back and, at the very least, keep the game competitive each time.

It did more than simply make the score respectable on Saturday.

The Braves (6-10-2) notched six runs in the fourth to take a 7-5 lead, but another big frame from Cotuit (11-7) was enough for it to win, 8-7, as the game was called after six innings.

“We got down and we hung in there and battled back, took the lead,” Landers said. “They got a three-run homer and kind of a broken record, but we got the momentum and then gave it right back. And then they won a game because of darkness.”

Trailing 5-1 in the top of the fourth, Bourne quickly loaded the bases with its first three hitters of the inning — designated hitter Ethan Conrad (Wake Forest), outfielder Braden Holcomb (Vanderbilt) and third baseman Blake Barthol (Coastal Carolina). Catcher Ben Hartl (Kansas) and first baseman Garrett Michel (Virginia Tech) singled and walked, respectively, to bring in two runs.

After outfielder Landyn Vidourek (Cincinnati) struck out, fellow outfielder Isaiah Jackson (Arizona State) stepped up to the plate searching for his first hit since opening night. He got that much-needed knock six pitches later, slamming a two-RBI single into center field to knot the score at 5 and snap an 0-for-26 drought.

The Braves weren’t finished, though, as Michel and Jackson both capitalized on wild pitches to advance 90 feet from third and give their team a two-run lead.

“It’s baseball, anything can happen,” second baseman Camden Kozeal (Vanderbilt) said. “There’s no clock in baseball… That [response] just shows how we are as a team and how close we are, and we trust each other to get the job done and put at-bats together.

“Who knows, [the] game ended in the sixth inning, and there’s three more innings of baseball where we could turn things around. [We have to] keep this going and take it into tomorrow,” he added.

But Cotuit had a response of its own in the bottom of the inning. Right-hander Tyler Fay (Alabama), who succeeded his Crimson Tide teammate and Saturday’s starter Zane Adams, conceded two singles before first baseman Tanner Thach (UNC Wilmington) took him deep for a three-run shot that put the Kettleers back in front.

Bourne’s offense couldn’t muster a response in the game’s final two innings, only managing to put one base runner on during that stretch. Kettleers right-handed pitcher Michael Ebner (USC), one of the best relievers on the Cape so far this summer, got the final four outs of the night, putting the Braves down in order in the sixth.

Pivotal sequence

While the Braves have played much-improved baseball over the past week, there has been a consistent flaw in their game through their most recent stretch: setting the tone early.

Looking at the entire season, there isn’t a glaring disparity in that category, as Bourne has drawn first blood in seven of its 17 contests this season entering Saturday. But it hadn’t scored first in a game in eight days, the last time being on June 28 in a home matchup with the Cotuit Kettleers.

Kozeal ended that somber streak, ironically at Lowell Park against the Kettleers, during his first at-bat of the night.

Hitting second on Saturday, Kozeal got all of the first pitch he saw, sending a solo shot 370 feet down the right field line. Cotuit answered back with a run in the bottom of the first, but there’s no doubt that Kozeal’s blast helped the Braves offense get going off the jump.

“It was good for us as a team, just [to] get the tempo going,” Kozeal said. “You could kind of tell just with the sky, it was going to get dark early and we knew we needed to jump on top, we figured something like this would happen. So it was good for the team.”

A look ahead

As has been the case for most of the season, the team Bourne is monitoring closest is Falmouth. Going into Saturday night, two games separated the fourth-place Braves and last-place Commodores in the Cape Cod West Division. However, that gap has been narrowed.

Now 3-2 in their last five games, Falmouth upset one of the hottest teams on the Cape in the Chatham Anglers on Saturday. This result, paired with a Bourne defeat, positions the Braves just one game out of last place.

What only adds more excitement to this standings battle is that these two teams will face off Sunday night at Doran Park. Two contests into their five-game season series, both Bourne and Falmouth have won one game apiece, with the Commodores taking the most recent meeting on June 27 by a score of 4-2.

Landers will go with southpaw Tucker Novotny (Minnesota), who has one Cape League appearance under his belt — a three-inning start where he allowed three earned runs and 10 base runners in a win against Chatham on June 29.

Falmouth’s starter will likely be left-hander Parker Coil (Arkansas), who has yet to start a game this summer but has five relief appearances under his belt. He has pitched to a 4.32 ERA with 10 strikeouts in 8 1/3 frames and is 2-for-2 on save opportunities. His most recent outing came in a 6-4 win over Cotuit that saw him allow just one hit in the final 2 2/3 innings.

First pitch will be at 6 p.m.


Kozeal’s first-inning bomb was the fastest a Brave has hit a home run this summer. He now has hits in back-to-back games and has a three-game on-base streak… All four of Bourne’s home runs this summer have come on the road… Drawing a walk on Saturday, shortstop Clay Grady (Virginia Tech) has reached base in six straight games, dating back to June 28 against Cotuit… With a single on Saturday, Holcomb has knocks in three consecutive games… Conrad’s hit on Saturday increased his total to 19 in 10 games. He boasts a .500 average and 1.167 OPS… Working four walks on Saturday, Bourne leads the league in that category with 91… The Braves have thrown the second-most strikeouts (175) on the Cape.