WAREHAM- For the second straight night, fans in Wareham were treated to a great starting pitching duel and yet again, another Gatemen win.
LHP Mason Feole of UConn was dominant in his 2018 Gatemen debut. Feole struck out six Kettleers over his four innings of work and did not allow a hit.
Feole had fantastic command of all of his pitches and did not walk a single batter.
“Feole can pitch. That’s why he’s going to Team USA,” Manager Don Sneddon said. “He’s changed from last year.”
The change Sneddon was referring to is from last summer when Feole was also a member of the Gatemen but struggled. Feole posted a 1-3 record with a 4.94 ERA for the Gatemen in 2017.
Feole dazzled during his four innings of hitless baseball. Photo by Caroline O'Connor.
“He’s tightened his mechanics up. For him to really make it, he’s going to have to keep his pitch count down. He gets up there too quickly, but that’s also another reason why he’s effective. The hitters can’t wait,” Sneddon said.
“He’s a veteran for us, even though he’s a sophomore and it showed out there.”
On the other side, Cotuit LHP Zane Collins matched Feole pitch for pitch. Collins threw five scoreless innings, only allowing two hits.
“He [Collins] was able to get his breaking balls over on command and his fastballs he located with that. Not real overpowering but he just did a good job of keeping us off balance,” Sneddon said.
Both starters departed with the score still knotted 0-0.
In the middle innings, 3B Eric Jones of Davidson College provided Cotuit with big plays on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Gatemen finally had something resembling a rally. Wareham had runners on the corners with two down and CF Skylar Hunter at bat.
On a 1-0 count, Hunter hit a scalding, sinking line drive down the third base line, but Jones took a step and a dive to rob Hunter of a go ahead hit. Just as quickly as it looked like Wareham might score, the threat was extinguished.
“He [Jones] happened to be playing in close, not the traditional third base position. Unfortunately, Hunter hit it right to him,” Sneddon said. “If he was in traditional third base position, it scores a couple runs for us.”
In the top of the sixth, Jones made his presence known again. With runners on first and second base and two outs, Jones smacked a single to right field and SS Cory Wood came around to score giving Cotuit a 1-0 lead.
Wareham would answer right back with two runs of their own in the bottom of the frame. With one down, the Gatemen had runners on first and second when SS Bryson Stott hit a comebacker fielded cleanly by reliever Colby White.
White threw to his SS Adam Oviedo who stepped on second base for the second out, but his throw to first bounced and could not be dug out on the other end. The double play was not turned, and the inning was kept alive.
Catcher Michael Amditis would then hit a single to right field to tie up the score at 1-1. Stott went first to third on the play as Amditis moved up to second on the throw.
White was then pulled to make way for the new reliever Ryan Smith. On Smith’s first pitch, he skipped it past the catcher and Stott trotted home to give the Gatemen a 2-1 lead.
Gatemen RHP Connor Lunn was spectacular in relief of Feole. Lunn gave up a run in the sixth, but he worked four innings and picked up the win.
Lunn picked up right where Feole left off and got the win. Photo by Caroline O'Connor.
“It felt great to be out there. I was really excited to be out there on the mound. It’s been a few weeks, so it was nice to get all the rust off,” Connor Lunn said.
“Since I was in a closer’s role this year, being able to go four innings was nice and refreshing.”
Sneddon was also very impressed with how Lunn threw the ball.
“Lunn really mixed pitches well. He’s going to be good for us. I’m excited for him to be able to pitch like that in his first Cape League experience,” Sneddon said.
With the middle of the order up in the eighth, Wareham once again added a few insurance runs late.
1B Andrew Vaughn singled to left and LF Bryant Packard singled as well. Vaughn’s aggressive base running paid off as he went first to third and Packard advanced to second on the throw.
“We had a conversation at practice today about our base running, about how poor it was last night,” Sneddon said. “Tonight, it was just the opposite. I’m sure it wasn’t just my conversation. We just did a better job with that.”
DH Parker Phillips singled to shallow center field plating two Gatemen pushing the lead to 4-1.
Wareham RHP Tyler Keysor recorded the save getting the final out of the game after Cotuit scored one run on one walk two hits in the ninth.
With the win, the Gatemen improve to a league best 3-0.
“Well, I like being 3-0. It’s a long season so you don’t get too excited about it,” Sneddon said with a smile. “It’s a heck of a lot better than being 0-3.”
Final: Gatemen 4, Kettleers 2
Next up: The Gatemen (3-0) will play on the road Friday night against the Falmouth Commodores (1-1) at Fuller Field in Falmouth. First pitch at 6:00 p.m.