A season filled with ups and downs came to an end over the weekend for the Bourne Braves. Although they challenged the top-seeded Falmouth Commodores every step of the way, the Braves fell to the West Division champs in three games, losing the opening-round series, 2-1.
Bourne finished the season with a below .500 record (19-26-2) and earned the fourth seed in the playoffs, but boasted a number of individual feats—highlighted by Nick Dombkowski’s (Hartford) five-inning perfect game against Yarmouth-Dennis on July 17.
Infielder Zavier Warren (Central Michigan) led the team in batting, sporting a team-high average (.315) and drove in the most runs (24) along with shortstop Jimmy Glowenke (Wake Forest). Outfielder Jud Fabian (Florida) had the most home runs on the team with six. On the mound, of the four Cape League players who qualified for the league ERA standings, two of them played at Doran Park. Dombkowski was second in the league among qualified pitchers with 2.48 ERA while Ryan Cusick was third with a 3.79 ERA. Mac Lardner (Gonzaga) fell just short of the innings limit to qualify for the ERA standings, but finished with a 2.25 ERA in six starts. Out of the pen, Kieran Shaw (Harvard) proved to be a trustworthy arm to close out games, posting 1.31 ERA in 13.2 innings pitched with five saves.
Below is a recap of the Braves’ three-game series against the Commodores.
Falmouth got all three of its runs in the first two innings, before the Braves mounted a late-inning comeback that fell short on Friday, August 2.
Visiting Guv Fuller Field, Bourne starter Harrison Rutkowski (Rutgers), gave up one earned in the bottom of the first and two more earned runs an inning later that ultimately sowed the fate of the Braves, which fell behind 3-0. Rutkowski put forth a gutsy effort from that point forward, going four scoreless innings before taking the loss.
He finished the game with six innings, scattering nine hits and walking one while striking out five.
In the top of the sixth inning, Bourne closed within a run to make the game tightly contested. Warren worked a lead-off walk before Glowenke moved him over to third with a ground rule double to put two runs in scoring position with no outs. Brendan Rivoli (Virginia) scored Warren with a sacrifice groundout, followed by a sacrifice fly from Jake Mackenzie made the game 3-2.
Then, in the top of the ninth, Bourne had the game-tying run in scoring position after Joshua Madole (UNC-Greensboro) singled and Jared Poland (Louisville) was hit by a pitch with two outs. But Falmouth got Kyler Fedko (UConn) to strikeout to end the game.
Reliever Karl Johnson (UConn) was strong in relief, hurling two hitless innings and allowing just one over the minimum. Cody Morissette (Boston College) had two doubles in the game for Bourne.
Returning home to Doran Park and facing elimination on Saturday, August 3, the Braves found themselves on the right side of another closely played contest.
Lardner went five innings and allowing one earned run and working through nine hits while fanning five as Bourne scored a 3-1 win. Poland earned the victory with two perfect innings, following by Shaw’s first two-inning save on the Cape, where he allowed one hit and one walk.
Despite the strong pitching performance, the Braves found themselves trailing, 1-0, until they pieced together a three-run bottom of the sixth inning. Bourne loaded the bases with one out before scoring two runs on a ball that was misplayed by Falmouth off the bat of Mackenzie to take a 2-1 lead. After the Commodores made a pitching change, Madole jumped on the fourth pitch of his at-bat and singled in Glowenke to give the game its final score of 3-1.
All three runs were unearned.
In the top of the eighth, Shaw allowed the first two batters to reach base and allowing the go-ahead run to get to the plate before retiring the next seven batters to preserve the win and force a decisive game three.
Falmouth stranded nine runners in the loss.
After two tooth-and-nail games, Falmouth used its home-field advantage in the final game of the series to score an 8-2 win and eliminate the Braves at Guv Fuller Field on Sunday, August 5.
Dombkowski took the loss, allowing four earned runs in three innings pitched and giving up five hits. Right-hander reliever Sean Harney (UMass) was touched up for three earned runs in 1.1 innings pitched.
But regardless of how the pitching staff fell short against the Commodores, Falmouth starter Franco Aleman (Florida International) shut down the Braves’ lineup. He scattered two hits in 6.2 innings and allowed two earned runs while striking out six in the win. The Commodores had a three-run inning in the bottom of the second and another in the bottom of the eighth.
Trailing 5-0, Bourne sent seven batters to plate in the top of the seventh, scoring two of them. Mackenzie doubled in Glowenke before Kyle Hess (Pittsburgh) singled in Mackenzie two batters later.