HYANNIS – For Gatemen starter Ken Waldichuk, the third time around was not the charm. Waldichuk got lit up for six runs on seven hits in 3.1 innings during his third start of the season as the Gatemen fell out of first place losing 9-1 to the Hyannis Harbor Hawks.
“It’s funny how this game can humble you. Just when you might think you’ve got it figured out, you don’t,” Gatemen manager Don Sneddon said. “Tonight, our two pitchers didn’t do well. They missed up and they paid the price for it.”
The bad outing for Waldichuk started in the first when Braden Comeaux singled with one down. Pedro Pages was the next hitter and he ripped an RBI double to the outfield giving Hyannis an early 1-0 lead.
After a 1-2-3 bottom of the second, Waldichuk allowed another pair of runs in the third. With a runner on first and two down, Matthew Barefoot pulverized a ball deep to left field for a 2-run homer.
In the next inning, Hyannis would end the night for Ken Waldichuk. Kyle Wilkie led off the inning with a single and advanced to third on a double by Todd Lott. With two runners in scoring position, the Gatemen moved the infield in to try and keep the Hyannis lead at 3-0. It did not pan out.
After a Tommy Jew pop out to second, Eric Rivera scored two runs with an RBI single, extending the Harbor Hawks lead to 5-0 and the night was done for Waldichuk. Despite not walking any hitters, Waldichuk did not have his good command as he missed his locations all throughout the strike zone, leaving pitches over the middle of the plate.
“Waldichuk missed up. He got behind in counts and they just sat dead red on him. If you can’t throw a breaking pitch over for a strike in this league you’re going to get in trouble,” Sneddon said.
Connor Lunn entered in relief of Waldichuk, but he did not fare much better. Lunn walked the first batter he faced and then allowed a three-run home run to Pages with two men on and two outs to give Hyannis an extremely comfortable 8-0 lead. Pages ended the day 2-5 with two runs scored and three RBI.
Connor Lunn allowed three runs in 1.2 innings to raise his ERA to 3.38 on the season. Photo by Caroline O'Connor.
On the offensive side, the Gatemen hit the ball well but could not get any substantial rallies going. The Gatemen scattered 12 hits and only scored a singular run. On the other hand, the Harbor Hawks had the same amount of hits, but they bunched them together and scored nine runs on the night.
“If the hit totals are runs, it would be a very close ballgame. But they got the timely hits with men on base. They got hits to score runs and we didn’t,” Sneddon said.
“That’s the way this game is played. It’s just a matter of we were out of rhythm, out of sync and we couldn’t get the runs when we needed them.”
Harbor Hawks starter Nick MacDonald scattered seven hits over five innings of work as he recorded his first victory of the Cape Cod season. MacDonald struck out five and was seemingly in command throughout his whole start.
“Their pitcher did a great job, kept us off balance, not overpowering,” Sneddon said. “I use the concept you need to get two to three to win and that’s either pitching, defense, or hitting. We got some average defense, but we had no pitching or hitting tonight.”
After Waldichuk and Lunn left the game through a combined five innings, the two newest members of the Gatemen pitching staff came in and had scoreless relief appearances to finish out the night. RHP Jack Ralston from UCLA threw two scoreless and RHP Tyler Ahearn from FSU worked a scoreless inning as well.
Following tonight’s loss, the Harbor Hawks have won five in a row and jumped into first place in the West Division (19 points) and the Gatemen (18 points) fell into second for the first time all year.
In regard to the Gatemen offensive struggles, tonight was the first night for the team without Bryson Stott and Andrew Vaughn, both of whom have left for Team USA.
“Vaughn is special. You aren’t going to replace him. So, you might as well forget about that. Everybody else has to do their job. We are not trying to replace him, same thing with Stott. We just have to play our game, not try to press, not try to do too much.
“It’s like the Golden State Warriors without Curry. They manage still to win because other guys pick him up even though they are better with him out there. Same thing here. We are better [with Vaughn and Stott] but we’ve just got to pick each other up on that.
The beauty of baseball? The Gatemen get a chance to right the ship tomorrow.
They Gatemen will have another opportunity tomorrow night to pick each other up as they take on the Chatham Anglers at 6:30 p.m. in Wareham at Spillane Field.
Final: Harbor Hawks 9, Gatemen 1