The Gatemen’s late season slide is officially in danger of wiping away any postseason hopes.
Despite an overall strong outing from starter Fitz Stadler, Wareham fell for the seventh consecutive time on Saturday night, losing to Orleans, 7-4, on a brisk night at Spillane Field.
Wareham’s loss combined with Hyannis’ victory over Bourne pulls the Harbor Hawks to within just a game for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Western Division.
It is the Gatemen’s first seven game losing streak since 2013 when the team finished 9-33-1.
Gatemen head coach Don Sneddon said there are few words to describe what has happened to his team over the last week.
“Credit to Orleans they are a good ball club,” said Sneddon. “We couldn’t get a put-away pitch, get the third out of innings, and stop the bleeding. Good teams do that to you.”
Down 7-2 in the bottom of the ninth, the Gatemen made things interesting for the second time this week when down to their final three outs.
Consecutive dropped third strikes put two on, and a walk loaded the bases with one out.
Kyle Kasser kept the Gatemen rally going with an RBI single to right field, cutting the deficit to 7-3.
Orleans’ reliever Brooks Wilson settled in, however, and induced an RBI groundout and a flyout to seal the victory for the Firebirds.
Wareham was able to pounce on the first place Firebirds in the bottom of the second behind the bat of Jake Anchia.
With one out, Robbie Metz and John Toppa each singled bringing the slugging Anchia to the plate. On 2-0, Anchia drilled an outside fastball into the right centerfield gap for a two run double to give the Gatemen a 2-0 lead.
Stadler made his third start of the year for the Gatemen and it proved to be his most notable outing to date.
The Arizona State Sun Devil turned in five and 1/3 strong innings allowing three earned runs on six hits, walking only one and striking out a pair.
Stadler executed fine command of his four-seam fastball, locating it both on the inner and outer half of the plate.
After cruising through the first four innings, Orleans got to Stadler in the fifth trailing 2-0.
Brandon Schearer singled and stole second, and a walk put runners on the corners. A wild pitch scored Schearer and an RBI single down the left field line by Austin Hale tied the game tied.
One inning later, after the Gatemen were kept off the board in the fifth, Orleans went in front for good in the top of the sixth.
Stephen Scott chased Stadler from the game with a one out jam shot double to center and after a base hit and hit batter loaded the bases, Lars Nootbar pushed Orleans in front with a jam single to left.
In an inning that was microcosmic to the Gatemen’s current struggles, Wareham was simply unable to stop the bleeding.
Two, two-strike RBI hits followed Nootbar’s knock including a two run single off the bat of Jimmy Herron to increase Orleans’ lead to 6-2.
At the plate, Wareham found success in the early going, cranking out two runs on five hits through the first four innings.
Once Orleans tied the score in the top of the fifth, the Firebirds staff followed suit going through the next four frames unscathed to keep the lead intact.
Next Up: Wareham closes their season series with Orleans as they take a trip to Eldridge Park. First pitch is scheduled for 530pm and Jordan Britton is the Gatemen’s probable starting pitcher.