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Bourne, Mass. — It hangs in the air. The sweet buzz of a break, the promise of a victory late in the day. A humming energy that cannot be replicated.
After ten innings yielded a tie of one with the Bourne Braves (14-13), left fielder Josh Stowers (Louisville) faced a full diamond in the top of the eleventh. Two hits and an intentional walk of first baseman John Aiello (Wake Forest) had loaded the bases with two outs.
“I had all the confidence in the world. Especially with them walking John [Aiello], and trying to get to me,” Stowers said. “As a hitter you kind of get offended, and it gives you an extra notch of confidence and makes you even more determined to get the job done.”
As Stowers swirled his bat above the plate, the park grew quiet. A loud crack shattered the silence.
The dugout erupted as second baseman Jake Palomaki (Boston College) and shortstop Jeremy Peña (Maine) surged for the plate, gliding past the windmilling arm motions of manager and third base coach, John Schiffner. A sea of high-fives and cheers greeted the two as they completed the journey home.
The energy reverberated as catcher Cody Roberts (North Carolina) hit the sweet spot for another single, driving in Aiello.
“That’s the key,” Schiffner said. “You’ve got to have clutch base hits.”
Designated hitter Ashton McGee (North Carolina) put Chatham (13-15) on the board in the fifth, plating Stowers on a fielder’s choice.
Relief pitcher Jack DeGroat (Liberty) stayed calm under the pressure of the final three innings.
“I tried to keep consistent with each pitch and just do the same thing over and over again, [and] stay around the zone,” DeGroat said. “I’ve been closing for most of the year — I’ve been having the one inning, so it’s nice to get to stretch out like that.”
DeGroat struck out six in the outing. The Braves put two runners in scoring position with two outs in the ninth, but right fielder Jacob Olson (South Carolina) made a running catch in the outfield to keep the Anglers alive heading into extras.
“The importance with him [DeGroat] was that he struggled there — he almost let things slip away, and he took a big deep breath and got the big outs in his second inning,” Schiffner said.
Starter Jack Perkins (Stetson) kept it clean, striking out six over five innings. RJ Freure (Pittsburgh) dealt two strikeouts in three innings for his fourth scoreless outing of the summer.
The Anglers face the Harwich Mariners (9-16-1) at Whitehouse Field, Harwich Saturday. FIrst pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.