COTUIT – If today’s start for RHP Joey Matulovich was the final of his Gatemen career, he had two incredible seasons in Wareham.
Matulovich was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in round 20 of this June’s draft and could be leaving Wareham soon. The signing deadline for all draft picks comes later this week, July 6, meaning tonight may be the last time Matulovich pitches as a Gatemen.
“I don’t like to talk about that. I get emotional,” manager Don Sneddon said. “We’re going to miss him if we do, who knows though. They haven’t made a run yet. If it does, I’m happy for him. If it doesn’t, I’m happy for us.”
This season is Matulovich’s second for the Gatemen as he spent part of the 2017 summer here in Wareham. Last year, he went 2-2 with a 2.34 ERA over 30.2 innings of work. On the whole, his career Cape ERA sits at 1.48 to go along with a 4-2 record in 54.2 innings.
As for tonight, Matulovich threw six scoreless innings and allowed just one hit, walked two, and hit two men in an 8-1 win over Cotuit. Per usual, Matulovich had solid command and was pretty economical over his six innings. Of his 83 pitches, 59 went for strikes and 24 were balls. With this start, he improved to 2-0 on the year and lowered his ERA to 0.38.
Joey Matulovich won for the second straight time in as many starts (via Caroline O'Connor).
“It was a great performance. He threw fastballs for strikes, kept them off balance with his breaking ball. He was able to just pitch. It almost looked effortless out there,” Sneddon said.
“He threw a lot of strikes. He mixed well. He made my job pretty easy filling up the zone like that. He did a really good job,” catcher Gian Martellini said.
The Gatemen offense helped out Matulovich and scored him eight runs on 15 hits. Eight of nine Gatemen starters recorded a hit in this well balanced attack. Matulovich’s battery mate, Martellini, had his best game of the Cape season as he recorded two hits and drove in three of the Gatemen eight.
The Gatemen run total now sits at 116 runs on the season, 27 more runs than the second highest total (Bourne has 99 runs scored).
The scoring for Wareham began in the third inning when Jeremy Ydens reached on a single with one down. Sahid Valenzuela followed Ydens with a single of his own and Austin Shenton did as well for the third Gatemen hit in a row. Shenton’s single knocked in the first run of the day, giving Wareham a 1-0 lead and the 14th RBI for Shenton on the year.
Lael Lockhart was the next Gatemen hitter and he was the first Wareham player to hit in the cleanup spot in the absence of Bryant Packard, who had just recently been selected to Team USA.
Lockhart rolled over and hit a ground ball to the second basemen who tried to spin a double play to end the inning. The hustling Lockhart beat out the throw on the back end and Valenzuela came in to score from third to give Wareham a 2-0 lead.
Over the next three innings, Matulovich allowed four base runners but stranded them all. With a man on and two outs in the sixth, Matulovich threw a 91-mph fastball on the last pitch of his night to strikeout Zach Biermann.
In the top of the next inning, Wareham pushed across two more runs to extend their lead to 4-0. Skyler Hunter recorded his first hit of the day to start the rally when he reached on an infield single. Kettleers reliever Luke Chevalier got Ydens to hit a tailormade double play ball, but it went under the wickets of his shortstop, Adam Oviedo.
Three batters later, the bases were loaded for Lockhart. No runs had scored in the inning until this point, but Lockhart worked a four pitch walk to drive in his second run on the day.
After a strikeout of Pavin Parks, Drew Millas worked another bases loaded walk for Wareham. The RBI was the first on the season for Millas, a big weight off his shoulders after he stranded the bases loaded twice on Sunday night in a loss.
The Gatemen would add on one more when Shenton hit a bloop single to bring home Gian Martellini who started off the eighth inning with a double.
In the ninth, Martellini put an exclamation mark on the game and sealed the win against his former club. In 2017, Martellini spent the summer as a member of the Kettleers.
With two outs, Martellini was back at it again this time crushing a 3-run homer over the left field fence with two outs. It was his first RBIs and homer on the season for Wareham.
“I was just trying to see a good pitch up and put a good swing on it. Honestly that’s all I was trying to do. I haven’t been in the lineup too too much so I don’t feel as confident as I have in the past,” Martellini said.
Martellini entered tonight having played in just four games and was 2-8 at the plate.
“I just have to be ready. I’ve been catching bullpens trying to stay fresh and taking swings with the guys and taking BP very seriously,” Martellini said.
In relief of Matulovich, Cody Carroll entered the game and pitched two innings as allowing one run on one hit and one walk. Zach Hart came in for the ninth and pitched a scoreless frame to close out the game.
Final: Gatemen 8, Kettleers 1
Next up: The Gatemen (13-8) will have July 4 off tomorrow and will take on the Bourne Braves (10-9-1) Thursday night. First pitch at 6:00 p.m. at Doran Park in Bourne.