The Final Out

Brewster catcher Kevin Byrne rushes toward the pitcher’s mound to celebrate with his teammates as Bourne’s Nick Goodwin walks away after making the final out of the Cape Cod Baseball League championship series at Stony Brook Field in Brewster on Wednesday afternoon.

The final game of the 2021 Cape Cod Baseball League championship series went a lot like the season did for the Bourne Braves. It got off to a great start, but in the end it was someone else celebrating.

Bourne, which began the year with a historic hot streak, was swept by Brewster in two straight on Tuesday and Wednesday night, August 10 and 11, to end the year as the runner-up to the Whitecaps. Brewster scored a thrilling 2-0 win in the first game of the series at Doran Park in front of more than 4,500 fans. Then, the next afternoon in Brewster, more than 5,200 spectators saw Brewster rally for a 10-6 win to take the Arnold Mycock Championship Trophy.

From the outset of game two it looked like Bourne was going to slug itself to game three and blow out the Caps. The first five Braves to step to the plate all had hits, two of which left the ballpark, and in the blink of an eye the visitors led by a 5-0 count.

Brewster settled down after that, though, and slowly chipped away at the Bourne lead before coming back to take a 6-5 lead midway through the game. Bourne tied it at six, but a four-run seventh inning by the Whitecaps put the game away.

It could not have started any better for Bourne. Christian Knapczyk (Louisville) swatted a single to open the game, then Tanner Schobel (Virginia Tech) followed with one of his own before Dalton Rushing (Louisville) hit one to right that caught the jet stream and carried far over the right field wall for a 3-0 lead. Hunter Jump (Arizona State) then jumped on the second pitch he saw and rifled a single to left before Max Anderson (Nebraska) pulled a bomb to left field that cleared the wall to make it 5-0.

While Bourne seemed to have the Caps on the ropes, the home team never wavered. Brewster got two back on a two-run homer to left by Zachary Neto (Campbell) in the bottom of the first and used an RBI double from Jake Thompson (Oklahoma State) in the third to make it a one-run game.

Bourne had a chance for a big inning in the fourth, but a baserunning mistake cost it dearly. With Peter Burns (Boston College) on second and Knapczyk on first after a single and a walk, Schobel hit a ball to left-center that rolled past the fielder. Coach Harvey Shapiro played things safe and put on the stop sign at third, but Knapczyk thought that Burns was still going and Bourne found itself with two men occupying the same base. The next batter fanned and Brewster escaped the jam.

The home team continued to whittle away in the bottom of the inning, scoring another run to pull within one on an RBI fielder’s choice. In the fifth it took the lead on an RBI single from Chad Castillo (California Baptist) and then a double to the left field wall by Kurtis Byrne (Texas Christian).

Bourne fought back to push one across in the top of the sixth to tie it back up. Colby Thomas (Mercer) roped a triple to right-center with one down and then scored on a Burns sac fly.

In the seventh the Caps put the game away, scoring four times. Against reliever Ben Ethridge (Southern Miss), Tony Bullard (Arizona) walloped the first pitch that he saw over the left field fence to put Brewster ahead to stay. That swing opened the floodgates. Brewster went on to tack on three more in the inning, making things comfortable for its pitching staff to shut the door. Schobel had a double in the eighth, but nothing came of that hit. In the ninth the Braves went down in order with Teddy McGraw (Wake Forest) striking out Nick Goodwin (Kansas State) to end the game and set off a pig pile on the pitcher’s mound.

In game one the story was the two teams’ excellent pitching performances. Bourne allowed just four hits in the game, but the Caps allowed just five and no runs. Virginia Tech’s Griffin Green, who lives in Chelmsford, picked up his only win of the season in his second start, and ninth appearance. Green went five strong, struck out seven and walked two while allowing three hits and no runs. Jake Bennett (Oklahoma) also threw five strong frames, but Brewster strung together a ground rule double, a walk and then a two-run double from Byrne to make it a 2-0 game in the second.

Neither team scored after that, though Bourne threatened late in the game. One-out walks to Lucas Costello (Wake Forest) and Goodwin had the tying runs on base for the Braves in the bottom of the ninth. Brewster reliever Dale Stanavich (Rutgers) came in and put out the fire for the visitors, getting back-to-back K’s to end the game and put Brewster in the driver’s seat.

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