Wareham dug themselves a deep hole, falling behind Bourne 4-0. The good news for the Gatemen is that the teams had only played an inning and a half. Wareham came right back with three runs in the home half of the second to make it 4-3 and that score held until the eighth when the Gatemen posted three more runs to take a 6-4 lead. Bourne scored a run in the ninth, but Wareham held on for a 6-5 win in Game 1 of their West Division semifinal series. The big blow in the decisive eighth was a two-run double down the leftfield line by Daniel Palka. With seven runs being scored and some ugly baseball being played through the first two innings, this did not shape up to be a typical Cape League playoff game. Through those two innings, there were a combined 7 runs, 7 hits, an error, 5 walks (4 by Braves starter Josh Conway), one batter hit by a pitch, a balk, and numerous deep counts. Suddenly, things settled down after that as neither team could push across a run over the next five innings.
Baylor's Josh Turley started for Wareham and ran into trouble right away. The first two batters - Travis Jankowski (single) and Patrick Cantwell (double) - got the Braves started. Jankowski scored on a sac fly by Tommy Coyle. Blake Crohan laced a two-out single to plate Cantwell and Bourne had a quick 2-0 lead.
Conway struggled with his control in the bottom of the first. After consecutive walks with one out, Max Muncy lined into a doubleplay to end the threat.
Bourne doubled their lead in the second. With one out, a single, walk, and fielder's choice set the Braves up with runners on the corners. Turley balked in a run and Coyle singled home the fourth run.
After Johnny Field struckout to start the bottom of the second, Wareham loaded the bases on a single, hit batter, and a walk. Conway got just what he needed when he got C.T. Bradford to hit a hard groundball but second baseman Garrett Cannizaro couldn't field the ball cleanly and settled for one out at first. That proved costly when LJ Mazzilli doubled to score two runs. Conway walked John Andreoli, but Wareham ran themselves out of a possible bigger inning when Mazzilli was caught attempting to steal third.
Braves reliever R.C. Orlan walked Muncy to start the eighth. Field bunted in an attempt to move Muncy over and when the ball hugged the firstbase line, Field beat the throw to first. That brought Palka to the plate and on a 0-2 pitch, Palka shot a linedrive to the fence in left, giving the Gatemen a 5-4 lead. Tyler Ross (batting .168 coming into the game) singled to center to score Palka with what would prove to be the winning run.
That set the stage for Gatemen manager Cooper Farris to bring in Konner Wade to try to close things out. Jankowski made sure Bourne would not go quietly. He singled to short and advanced to second on a throwing error. Jankowski moved to third on a wild pitch and scored when Cantwell chopped the ball back to the mound. Wade threw the ball over the first baseman's head allowing Cantwell to reach safely, however Cantwell was tagged out when he turned left after running past the firstbase bag. Wareham flashed some leather after those two errors. Shortstop Mazzilli made a leaping, twisting catch on a drive off the bat of Coyle. The final out was recorded when rightfielder Robert Refsnyder charged the ball and made a nice diving catch to rob Kyle Farmer of a hit.
NOTES: Game 2 in the series will be played at Doran Park at 4:00 today... A couple of lefties are scheduled to go in this one. Brent Suter (Harvard) is likely to get the call for Wareham. Kevin Brandt (East Carolina) will try to extend Bourne's season... The announced attendance was 1,502. For a playoff game on a Friday night between teams from neighboring towns, the crowd did not look that big... Still trying to figure out why there is a need for a couple guys to wear "SECURITY" shirts at Spillane Field... Daniel Feehan sang the National Anthem before the game and he then picked up the win after pitching a scoreless eighth. Can't confirm the rumor that he worked at the concession stand too... Turley lasted 7 innings, giving up 8 hits, a walk, and 4 runs. Only 2 of those runs were earned. He threw 113 pitches... Both teams have lost a key starting pitcher. Ryan Eades (Bourne) and Barrett Astin (Wareham) are done for the season. Losing pitchers like that will make things much harder for these teams to try to advance through the playoffs with pitching depth being further thinned out... Taunton HS Athletic Director Mark Ottavianelli was presented with the Curly Clement Award by CCBL Deputy Commissioner Sol Yas before the game. The award is given to the umpire who "best exemplifies integrity and professionalism"... Nice chatting with you Lee Mazzilli. Welcome to CodBall!