WAREHAM – Attention Gatemen fans: if you do not already, get to know the name Ken Waldichuk.
Waldichuk dazzled again on the mound for Wareham, pitching five innings while striking out six and allowing zero runs in the Gatemen 6-3 win. This was Waldichuk's first victory on the season.
“Waldichuk mixed it up. He didn’t have his great control. He lost it the middle but found it at the very end,” manager Don Sneddon said. “He’s the reason we were able to hold them off.”
Waldichuk has now thrown nine innings on the season allowing just one run striking out 12 and walking three.
“I feel like I was able to throw whatever pitch I wanted to. I did not make too many mistakes down the middle of the plate that they could capitalize on,” Waldichuk said.
Waldichuk's ERA now sits at 1.00 on the year. Photo by Caroline O'Connor.
Waldichuk’s outing started off a little shaky as he walked two of the game’s first three hitters. LF Adam Fogel came to the plate and Waldichuk did what he does best: attack the hitter.
Fogel struck out looking and then 1B Tristin English grounded out to SS Bryson Stott to end the threat.
A walk to CF Greg Jones and a single by SS Brenden Fryman put two runners on in the third as Waldichuk was in trouble again. Just like the first inning though, Waldichuk held them scoreless and worked out of it.
“I just have to focus on one spot in the zone to try and hit because usually when I start putting people on, it is due to a lack of focus,” Waldichuk said.
From there, Waldichuk cruised. He retired the side in order in both the fourth and the fifth.
Despite the three walks, Waldichuk demonstrated great command when he needed it, especially with his breaking ball. Waldichuk kept hitters guessing all night by mixing speeds. Of Waldichuk’s six strikeouts, four were looking.
After Waldichuk worked out of the first inning jam, the Gatemen offense got things going.
One of the new additions to the roster, RF Jeremy Ydens from UCLA, doubled to left center field to put the leadoff man on for the Gatemen. 2B Isaac Collins grounded out to the first baseman, moving the runner over to third.
“Ydens’ going to be huge. We needed a leadoff guy. Our leadoff guys have struggled, we’re hitting .190,” Sneddon said. “Him coming in will solidify that. I just got to find a guy to hit behind him.”
With one down and a man on third, 1B Andrew Vaughn hit a fly ball to right field that was plenty deep enough to score Ydens from third.
It was so deep that Vaughn scored on it as well. The Gatemen took a 2-0 lead on the opposite field homer by Vaughn. It is already his league leading fourth homer of the young season.
“You always want to get ahead if you can. It lulls the other team,” Sneddon said. “The big thing tonight was every inning they scored, we scored. It negates what they did.”
This checks out. The Anglers failed both times to record a shutdown inning. When the Anglers scored in the sixth, the Gatemen scored a run of their own. When the Anglers scored two in the eighth, the Gatemen answered back with another run.
Back to Vaughn, he is now 3-6 over his last six at bats with two homers following a mini 0-9 slump.
In the fourth, 3B Austin Shenton kept his bat hot as he singled to the opposite field, one of his three hits on the day. Shenton finished the day 3-4 and his batting average rose to a whopping .522.
Stott also followed with a single, putting runners on the corner and no outs. C Luke Roskam grounded into a fielder’s choice and the third Gatemen run came in to score.
Today was Roskam’s best offensive performance of the season. Roskam went 2-4 with a double and two RBI.
On the whole, the Gatemen offense exploded for 12 hits and six runs scored. Seven of the nine Gatemen starters recorded hits, including four with multi-hit games (Ydens, Vaughn, Shenton and Roskam).
The two Gatemen without hits, CF Skylar Hunter and LF Bryant Packard, each recorded an RBI to contribute to the offensive attack.
A balanced attack is much needed going forward from the Gatemen as they will lose SS Bryson Stott and 1B Andrew Vaughn to Team USA next week.
“We are losing a couple guys this weekend so that will hurt us. You can’t replace Vaughn. Period,” Sneddon said. “Stott has played good defense, but we have some guys who can try and fill that role.”
As for the newcomers, Jeremy Ydens and DH Lael Lockahrt Jr. were in the lineup today and were successful in their Gatemen debuts. They went 3-8 with a run scored. In addition, INF Ryan Kreidler from UCLA has also been added to the roster.
“They’re from good programs so it’s not an issue. Playing time is not an issue. We will be able to get guys in and out,” Sneddon said.
Out of the bullpen, a couple of newcomers also made their Gatemen debut tonight. Nathan Florence of Wilbraham, Mass. threw 2.1 innings and Tyler Yeh from Los Angeles, Calif. pitched 1.2 innings to record the save.
Final: Gatemen 6, Anglers 3
Next up: The Gatemen (6-2) will play at home Wednesday night against the Hyannis Harbor Hawks (4-3) at Clem Spillane Field in Wareham at 6:30 p.m.