Posted by Cape Cod Daily News via Right Field Fog
Friday August 12, 2022 (1 month, 3 weeks ago)
The 2021 season was the Summer of Bourne. Until it wasn’t.
With others on center stage, the 2022 season seemed like it was not. Until it was.
For two straight years, the Bourne Braves finished with the best record in the Cape Cod Baseball League. And after a runner-up showing in the championship series last year, the Braves captured the title this year. An 8-1 victory on Thursday capped off a sweep of Brewster for the crown.
It’s the first title since 2009 for Bourne, in a season that bridged a new era. Longtime manager Harvey Shapiro left after last summer’s magical ride and former Brewster assistant coach Scott Landers took over. The roster was mostly new. And the West Division seemed to belong to Cotuit, or maybe Hyannis. A year after a historic start by Bourne and a wire-to-wire ride to the division, it was the Kettleers that were hot at the start in 2022. Then Hyannis surged to overtake Cotuit.
The Braves were in the chase pack. At the midway point of the season, they were 8-8-6, but in the second half, they started winning a little more often than they lost – and then a lot more often. A 10-3 loss to Falmouth on July 22 was their final defeat of the regular season. They went 7-0-1 over their final eight games, surging to the top of the division and to the best record in the league.
The playoffs became one giant slugfest around the Cape League. In that landscape, it was pitching that set the Braves apart. They finished with a 3.05 team ERA in the playoffs. Everyone else in the league was over 5.00 in the postseason.
While Bourne’s offense wasn’t as hot as some other teams, it helps to have the MVP. Matt Shaw of Maryland was the Cape’s best hitter, and he came through in the playoffs.
A hot team, with the MVP and better pitching than everybody else?
Pretty good recipe.
In the playoffs, the Braves split their first two games with Falmouth, but won the next one to take the series. Then they swept Hyannis to survive the rough-and-tumble West.
That set up a championship rematch with Brewster – plus a matchup of Landers and his former boss Jamie Shevchik.
The Braves set the course for the series with a 3-0 win in game one – the first shutout of the Cape League playoffs. Matt Duffy of Canisius College pitched six scoreless innings. The mid-July pickup hadn’t allowed a run in any of his appearances, but also hadn’t gone more than three innings. He came through at the right time. Seth Keener (Wake Forest) followed him with a three-inning save. The top of the lineup provided all the offense Bourne would need.
Given Brewster’s playoff ride, a three-game title series seemed very possible, but Bourne made that prospect more difficult right out of the gate with four runs in the top of the first inning. Brewster only managed to get one back, and the Braves piled on with two runs in the sixth and two in the seventh.
The MVP did MVP things, as Shaw homered off the scoreboard at Stony Brook Field in a 3-for-5, two RBI night. Leadoff man Bryce Eblin (Alabama) went 4-for-5 with two runs scored en route to playoff MVP honors. Eyan Enos (East Tennessee State) homered and drove in four.
Four pitchers combined to keep Bourne comfortably in front. Justin Baeyens (Maine) was credited with the win, and Ty Cummings (Campbell) pitched the final 3.1 innings to close it out.
On the same field where they watched Brewster celebrate last year, the Braves poured onto the field for their own party.
It’s the Summer of Bourne after all.