CHATHAM- The Wareham Gatemen have started the 2018 season in the win column. Wareham defeated the Chatham Anglers by a score of 12-4 Tuesday night at Veterans Field.
Gatemen starter Joey Matulovich walked a tightrope throughout his four innings of work, but he left the game unscathed. Matulovich pitched four scoreless innings and stranded all eight men he put on base. He struck out four, walked four, and surrendered four hits.
“I was a little rusty out there, but we will clean that up and get it right,” starting pitcher Joey Matulovich said. “The key was throwing strikes when I needed to. Guys are getting wood bats in their hands, so you have to pound the zone and just make them hit it.”
On the offensive side, the Gatemen got off to a great start in the top of the first inning scoring three runs.
Gatemen CF Skyler Hunter led off the game with a single and 2B Oliver Dunn followed it up with a walk. After an Andrew Vaughn strikeout, LF Bryant Packard reached on an error loading the bases for SS Bryson Stott.
During the Stott at bat, a wild pitch was thrown and Hunter crossed the plate easily giving Wareham a 1-0 lead. Later in the at bat, the left handed Stott hit an opposite field single plating two runs to put Wareham up 3-0.
Dunn got the scoring going again in the fifth by hitting a home run to right field, the first Gatemen homer of the season. Wareham entered the bottom of the fifth up 4-0.
Once Matulovich left the game, the Anglers were finally able to push runs across. Jared Horn came in out of the Wareham bullpen and proceeded to allow a double and an RBI single to 1B Tristin English and C Kyle McCann.
Chatham pushed two more runs across in the inning, cutting the Wareham lead to 4-3 after five innings.
The Gatemen were able to manufacture an insurance run in the sixth though. Packard walked and went first to third on a single by DH Parker Phillips. With no outs, Stott struck out, but 3B Austin Shenton picked up his teammate by driving in the run with a sacrifice fly.
Once again, the Anglers would not go down easy. Down now 5-3 in the seventh, Chatham had back-to-back singles to start the inning. A wild pitch allowed the runners to move up to second and third and Chatham’s 3B Ben Ramirez capitalized by hitting a sacrifice fly to reduce the Gatemen lead to just one.
Wareham’s Brendan White was next out of the bullpen and he relieved Horn after three innings of work. White put two runners on base, but he got LF Colin Simpson to ground into a 4-6-3 inning ending double play to preserve the 5-4 lead after eight innings.
In the ninth, the Gatemen broke the game open. Chatham relievers Spencer Van Scoyoc and Cameron Jabara walked the bases loaded with nobody out.
Oliver Dunn was once again back in the thick of things as he hit an RBI single to push the lead to 6-4.
Vaughn was up next, and he dropped the hammer. Vaughn hit a grand slam on a lined shot to left field and the Gatemen were comfortably ahead 10-4.
In the postgame show on the Gatemen Baseball Network, Vaughn attributed his grand slam to just simplifying his approach despite going hitless up until that at bat.
Andrew Vaughn's grand slam in the ninth was part of a seven run inning.
“I was thinking a little bit too much in my first couple of at bats then I just toned it down and told myself I just have to play baseball and do my thing,” Andrew Vaughn said.
Shenton and Isaac Collins, who entered as a pinch hitter in the ninth, each would add RBI singles to add insult to injury and give the Gatemen their sixth and seventh runs of the inning.
White stayed in the game and closed it out the game for the Gatemen in the ninth.
Final: Gatemen 12, Anglers 4
Next up: The Gatemen will play their home opener tonight against the Harwich Mariners at Spillane Field. First pitch at 6:30 p.m.