America's League

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Braves Struggling in Title Defense

06/22/2010 4:05 PM

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     After bringing the Arnold Mycock trophy to Bourne for the first time in 44 years, the 2010 summer has started in difficult fashion for the Braves. The defending champions lost their first three games before finally notching a 5-0 win against the Falmouth Commodores.

     Still, the Braves are optimistic.

     “The first couple of weeks are hit and miss and hope for the best,” general manager Mike Carrier said. “You need to just get through those first 10 or 11 games and hope to be on the winning side.”

     But the Braves have seen little of the winning side. They opened the summer with a 3-2 loss to Falmouth after allowing two unearned runs.

     They followed with a 4-3 loss to Y-D at Red Wilson Field. The Red Sox took a 4-1 lead before the Braves got within two in the seventh inning, with Nick Ahmed (UConn) scoring in the ninth on a Mike Nemeth (UConn) double. But the Red Sox held on.

     And then the pattern continued. The Braves fell to Wareham after giving up a run in the first and not being able to bounce back.

     Still, they’ve had glimpses of what could be to come. Devin Jones (Mississippi State) kept Wareham batters at bay in a 5-0 win, allowing three hits and walking one in five shutout innings.

     After dropping the first game of the doubleheader against Y-D, 6-4 right-hander Mike Morin (UNC) dominated the Red Sox, fanning 10, walking two and surrendering one hit in five innings.
And then the pesky pattern returned as the Braves lost 3-2 to the Brewster Whitecaps.

     Bourne has gone from the top to near bottom. Their 2-5 record is better than only the Cotuit Kettleers and ties the Harwich Mariners for the worst mark in the Eastern Division.

     With players still in the College World Series, there is time to turn things around. The Braves didn’t pick up any players at the June 5th tryout, but went to another list of prepared temporary players. And if players are facing any pressure, Carrier thinks it likely falls on those temp players.

     “There is a possibility that the temp guys will have success and will actually get signed to a permanent contract when the time comes,” he said.

     But the contracted players aren’t stress-free.

     “There’s pressure for the contracted guys that signed in the fall because they want to do well in the Cape. But they’ve got a secure spot regardless,” he said. “They want to showcase their individual skills in a team sport.”

     Temporary or permanent contract, all players are hoping to catch a scout’s eye. Former Braves infielder Pierre LePage (UConn) is one of the recent players to join the big leagues. He was selected in the 13th round of the MLB amateur draft by the Chicago Cubs. His spot could be filled by a temporary player. LePage’s teammate, Kyle Roller, (East Carolina) was selected in the 8th round by the New York Yankees.

     Bourne might be struggling early, but fans are still out in full force. Doran Park is tied with Falmouth for fourth in attendance, averaging more than 750 people a game.

     “Without the fan support we can’t support the team,” Carrier said. “It’d be impossible to do anything without them.”