FALMOUTH- Through six innings, the Wareham Gatemen bats were held in check. They had scored just two runs, recorded only three hits, and had not made much solid contact all night.
According to Manager Don Sneddon, there was a reason for the lack of offensive outburst.
Sneddon claimed the Gatemen hitters were having trouble picking up the ball out of the pitcher’s hand early in the game.
“Our hitters could not see as well. I’m not sure that’s the only really but it’s sure a good reason. They come in and they don’t make excuses. Tonight, they came in and said coach we are having a tough time seeing the ball,” Sneddon said.
Arnie Allen Diamond, home of the Falmouth Commodores, lacks a true batter’s eye in center field. Normally the batter’s eye is a dark surface beyond the center field wall that makes it easier for the players to see the white ball coming in. Without one, tracking a pitch becomes that much more difficult.
Combine that with a setting sun and a mix of clouds, the Gatemen had trouble seeing the ball the whole way through.
Eventually, the Gatemen figured it out and did what they have done in every game this season: pick up a win.
Trailing 4-2 in the seventh, Luke Roskam worked a leadoff walk for Wareham. Michael Amditis would then strikeout, but Dominic Clementi also walked, putting runners on first and second. Isaac Collins singled next to load up the bases for Skylar Hunter with one down.
Hunter, who entered the game just 1-13 (.077), ripped a ball up the middle that hit the lip of the infield grass and bounced into centerfield, scoring two runs.
Hunter would finish the game 2-5 with three RBI, two stolen bases, and a run scored.
With the score tied 4-4, Andrew Vaughn, the hottest Gatemen hitter entering play, stepped up with runners on the corners. Vaughn was hitless through his first three at bats and was looking to change that.
Right on cue, Vaughn smoked a ball the opposite way into right field and over the wall for a 3-run homer. The Gatemen took a 7-4 lead off the five runs scored in the seventh and did not look back.
Andrew Vaughn (16) celebrates his 3-run homer with Skyler Hunter (51) and Isaac Collins (10). Photo by Caroline O'Connor.
When asked why the Gatemen offense has produced late in games, Sneddon had a two-word answer: Andrew Vaughn.
“He’s just a very mature hitter. He does not get cheated when he’s up there and commits to the pitch. He has power to left-center, right-center, and pull,” Sneddon said.
“He’s a complete hitter. The fans are getting a real treat by seeing him play with us.”
Sneddon’s praise for the Golden Spikes Finalist Vaughn did not stop there. He would later call Vaughn “probably the best hitter in college baseball.”
The pitching for Wareham was not sharp early but found its rhythm as the game went along. Again, the lack of visibility seemed to cause an issue for Wareham early on.
Starting pitcher Justin Glover gave up three runs in the first inning and skipped four pitches past the catcher Luke Roskam.
“Our catcher could not see the ball. They don’t have a hitter’s eye and it just fell apart. It was ugly,” Sneddon said. “I even checked with the umpire and he was having trouble seeing the ball.”
Sneddon proceeded to say that the problem eventually subsided as the game went on.
Despite the poor first inning, Glover settled into his own. Glover allowed just one hit over his final three innings and did not surrender another run.
“Give him credit, he’s pitching with a big bruise on his leg. He got hit real hard and he gutted that out and he still threw strikes,” Sneddon said.
“A lot of guys could have broken down after an inning like that. I think he did a good job of recovering.”
Following his departure, RHP Will Proctor (1-0) gave a very similar performance to the one Connor Lunn gave the night before. Proctor, who recored the victory tonight, pitched 3.2 innings surrendering just one run on one hit and one walk.
“He’s a good athlete. He’s a converted shortstop so he hasn’t had a lot of action on the mound. We’re just trying to get him to learn to throw a breaking ball over. If he can do that, he can be pretty tough,” Sneddon said.
RHP Dominic Savino pitched the final 1.1 innings and recorded the save as the Gatemen upped their win streak to four games.
Final: Gatemen 7, Commodores 4
Next up: The Gatemen (4-0) will play on the road again Saturday night against the Harwich Mariners (1-3) in Harwich. First pitch at 5:30 p.m.