Wareham’s chances at a crucial Western Division win on Wednesday took a hit barely two innings into the ball game.
On a beautiful Wednesday afternoon for baseball at Lowell Park, the Gatemen were shutout by Cotuit, 4-0, as the Kettleers combined for a four-hit shutout of Wareham.
The contest was called after seven and a half innings of play due to darkness.
Gatemen starter Noah Zavolas left the game in the bottom of the second inning due to an apparent leg injury after surrendering a solo home run to Cotuit’s Thomas Dillard. Dillard’s blast gave the Kettleers a 1-0 lead.
Offensively, meanwhile, Wareham once again found itself searching for answers.
Steven Kwan out of the leadoff spot connected on three singles in the ball game, but the only other hit came from catcher Willie MacIver in the top half of the seventh.
Still, Wareham found itself with plenty of base runners as the Kettleers staff combined to walk seven Gatemen on the day.
In four of the eight innings, however, Wareham left a runner in scoring position including leaving the bases loaded in the fifth inning. Cotuit did not retire the Gatemen in order once.
Wareham coach Don Sneddon said there was a part of the Kettleers’ staff that made them effectively wild on Wednesday.
“There is certainly element in that there,” said Sneddon. “You have to be able to come up with a clutch hit or two because you’re leaving so many guys on base. Up until that hit by Willie (MacIver) there I think our only hits were from Kwan and you just can’t afford that.”
In relief of Zavolas was a combination of Jordan Britton, Franklin German, and Will Neely. While the group was not able to make it completely through the five and 2/3 innings of work unscathed, the Gatemen bullpen certainly did their part to keep their offense within striking distance.
After Britton allowed three in the bottom of the third, the trio of arms allowed just four base hits over their final four innings of work.
Those three runs off Britton came in the bottom of the third as the Kettleers played some small ball to generate a cushion.
With second and third and one man down, consecutive successful safety squeeze attempts from Terrin Vara and Miles Lewis brought home a pair of runs to put Cotuit up 3-0.
Moments later, Michael Toglia smacked a base hit into centerfield to score the third and final run of the inning.
“Credit to them they manufactured a couple of runs there,” said Sneddon. “We almost had the first one there as (Jordan) Britton made a great attempt on it.”
One definitive bright spot was the effectiveness of German and Neely. In replacement of Britton the two went three shutout innings scattering just two hits.
German struck out a pair and did not walk a batter, while Neely fanned two in a scoreless seventh.
“We are going to need guys to step up down the stretch and those two certainly pitched well today,” said Sneddon.
Next Up: Wareham plays host to Brewster for the final time this season. First pitch form Spillane Field on Thursday is scheduled for 630pm;.