BOURNE – For the Wareham Gatemen, tonight was all about missed opportunities and manager Don Sneddon will be the first one to tell you that.
“This is what the Cape’s about. We are going to win some of these games, we are going to lose some of these games,” Sneddon said. “It doesn’t come down to just the last inning. We had some opportunities and we squandered those opportunities.”
The Gatemen offense, which exploded for nine runs on Wednesday night, left seven runners in scoring position in the 4-3 loss to the Bourne Braves on Thursday. Wareham would strand five runners on base in total over the last three innings.
“I’m trying to convey the importance of scoring every inning first, second, third, fourth, and fifth,” Sneddon said. “We have got to be able to do that without getting a base hit. We had an opportunity there and it didn’t happen today.”
The night for Wareham started out started out promising as the first three batters of the game reached and Wareham jumped out to an early 1-0 lead.
Jeremy Ydens, for his third time in as many games, led off the game with a base hit. Isaac Collins worked a walk which brought Andrew Vaughn up to bat with two on and no outs.
Jeremy Ydens has now hit safely in his first three games of the season for Wareham. Photo by Caroline O'Connor.
Vaughn laced a single to right field as Ydens easily came around to score and Collins advanced to third on the hit.
From there, the Gatemen bats went cold. Austin Shenton, the league’s leading hitter entering play, hit a ground ball to the Bourne first baseman Spencer Horwitz. This moved Horwitz off the bag and the pitcher had to cover to record the out at first. Fortunately for Bourne, Horwitz was able to look the runner at third base back to the bag before flipping to the pitcher for the out.
With runners now on second and third and one out, Bryant Packard struck out on three pitches and then Bryson Stott flew out to left field to end the inning.
The Gatemen offense did not get another opportunity to score until the fourth. In that inning, Stott was second base following a single and a steal with two outs. Ryan Kreidler left him stranded him as he ground out to third to end the inning.
Through six inning of play, the Gatemen could only score one run off SP Justin Lasko.
“Their starting pitcher [Lasko] did a great job. Not overpowering but he could throw a curveball, changeup and spot his fastballs. He just did that all day long and had hitters out on their front foot. He kept us off balance,” Sneddon said.
Lasko picked up the win tonight pitching six innings allowing only three hits, one walk, and the aforementioned one run. He also struck out six Gatemen hitters.
The Gatemen starter, Mason Feole, did not throw the ball as nearly as well.
Feole, who allowed no runs and struck out six last time out, was tagged for three runs on four hits and one walk.
The Braves jumped on Feole from the start as Chase Murray led off the game with a solo homer to right field to immediately tie the game at 1-1.
Feole would proceed to give up another run in the inning when Jared Triolo hit an RBI single with two outs. This pushed the Braves lead to 2-1.
Two innings later, Triolo got another two-out RBI when he doubled off Feole, extending the Braves lead to 3-1.
The third inning would be Feole’s final inning of work on the night and most likely the last of his Gatemen career.
“Feole struggled. He used too many pitches,” Sneddon said. “He still has to be more efficient. In three innings, he threw 60-something pitches so you can’t go deep in counts.”
Despite another stagnant night from the Wareham offense, the Gatemen would not go down without a fight. Once Lasko left the game, the Gatemen scored two runs in the seventh to tie the game at 3-3.
“Usually, you try and get the starter out if he’s throwing well and get a different look and a chance to get something going,” Sneddon said. “You’ve got to keep the game tight until that point and we did.”
The man who kept them in the game? Joey Matulovich.
Matulovich came in to relieve Feole and dazzled over four innings of work. Matulovich struck out five Braves and did not allow any runs or walks.
“Joey did a great job. I thought his last inning was his best. His curveball was his best. He’s a competitor so we will get some good innings out of him,” Sneddon said.
Once Matulovich’s night ended, Will Proctor came in to pitch the eighth. Again, the Braves capitalized with two outs and made the most of an opportunity. With wo outs and runners on first and second, Horwitz played the role of hero as he singled to right field as the go-ahead run came around to score.
Three of the four runs for the Braves came with two outs while the Gatemen did not record any.
Opportunity knocked one final time for Wareham in the ninth when the Gatemen had runners the tying run just 90 feet away and the go-ahead run at second, but two outs.
Parker Phillips came in the game to pinch-hit for Collins and went down on five pitches, striking out to end the ballgame.
“We gave them some things unfortunately, walked some guys at the wrong times, hit by pitch at the wrong time, wild pitches at the wrong time and they clutched up and got the base hit at the right time,” Sneddon said. “That’s the difference in the ballgame.”
Final: Braves 4, Gatemen 3
Next up: The Gatemen (7-3) will play on the road Friday night against the Orleans Firebirds (3-6) at Eldredge Park in Orleans at 7:00 p.m.