WAREHAM – The Gatemen offense scored early and often in an 8-2 win against the Cotuit Kettleers, including four runs in the first inning and two more in the second.
Sahid Valenzuela and Austin Shenton paced the Wareham attack with six hits, three RBIs, and five runs. The duo reached base in seven of their 10 plate appearances.
“Our guys were hitting pretty well,” Don Sneddon said. “Sahid set the tone battling and being able to drive the ball down the right field line. He was working in the cage a little bit extra today and it paid off for him. Sometimes that’s all you need, just a little bit more work to try and get something rolling for you.”
With his 3-4 day, Valenzuela raised his batting average to .348 (via Caroline O'Connor).
Valenzuela got some extra work in the cage today after a night to forget on Thursday. He went 0-5 with two strikeouts in the 2-2 tie at Cotuit. In his last four games, Valenzuela was just one for his last 15 (.067 average). In addition, Shenton was two for his last 14 (.142 average) over his last five games before busting out of his slump tonight.
“Shenton’s an excellent hitter, he’s a professional too. He just bounces back. It’s not hard for him because he has such a great swing,” Sneddon said. “If he had to play with my stroke, that’s really hard to hit with but with his stroke he is pretty good with that. He’s fun to watch.”
After Cotuit scored a run in the top of the first, the Gatemen countered with four runs of their own in the bottom half. Wareham got their first four hitters on base and sent eight total men to the plate in the inning.
Isaac Collins began the game with a walk, Valenzuela singled to bring home Collins, Shenton doubled to bring him in, and Ydens ripped an RBI single. Just like that, Wareham was up 3-1 and had erased the 1-0 deficit they faced after the top of the first.
The Gatemen would score one more in the inning when Drew Millas worked a bases loaded walk with two away.
An inning later, Wareham tacked on two more runs and extended their lead to 6-1. Pavin Parks hit an RBI double to score Valenzuela and Shenton, both of whom had reached base safely with singles.
In particular, Shenton’s single impressed Sneddon as the Gatemen DH laid down a perfect bunt towards the third base line with the shift on.
“I love that. We’ve been working on that, especially with that shift. That just made my summer right there from this point. We’ve been working on our bunting game, specifically for something just like that,” Sneddon said.
Back to Parks, this RBI double would be the first of two on the night as he would also hit one in the sixth. Parks finished his night 2-3 with three RBIs.
After a scoreless third for both teams, Sahid Valenzuela led off the fourth by jacking a homer to right field, his second on the season and first from the left side of the plate. Wareham led 7-1 through four innings.
On the pitching side of things, Will Proctor (2-0, 2.66 ERA) picked up his second win of the season for Wareham and his first since his first appearance back on June 15. Proctor scattered seven hits through his five innings of work and was just tagged for one run. This start marks the third time Proctor has lasted five innings.
“We talk about you are never going to be 100 percent. He was like 75 or 80, but he gave 100 percent of 75 and 80 percent and that’s what you have to do,” Sneddon said.
“You don’t go out on that mound always having your good stuff and he didn’t, but he definitely battled.”
Even though Proctor scattered most of his base runners, he did put three on base to begin the fifth. From there, Proctor dialed in. He got Thomas Dillard to strikeout and then got Brady Smith to ground into a fielder’s choice in which Parks cut down the runner at the plate.
With two away in the inning, Proctor executed his pitches and got Michael Toglia to strike out swinging to end the threat without a run coming across to keep the Wareham lead 6-1 at the time.
Following Proctor’s exit, Jared Horn came in to relieve him and immediately struck out the side in the sixth. Horn went three innings out of the bullpen allowing one run on two hits and one walk while striking out seven Kettleers.
“I did what Coach Lawler told me to do. I attacked with my fastball and got guys out with my off-speed,” Horn said.
“The difference today was I was in the zone. Guys had to be ready to swing the bat. When I was effective, I was using my breaking ball to get swing and misses, and it seemed to work out.”
To end his night, Horn struck out the side once again in the eighth.
“He came in on fire, didn’t he?” Sneddon said. “He’s got a lightning arm. He can def throw and if he gets that curveball over its fun to watch him pitch.”
Cody Carroll then pitched a 1-2-3 ninth that included two strikeouts of Cotuit hitters, giving the Wareham staff 13 total punchouts on the night.
Final: Gatemen 8, Kettleers 2
Next up: The Gatemen (17-10-1) will play on the road Saturday night against the Falmouth Commodores (13-14-1). First pitch at 6 p.m. at Arnie Allen Diamond in Falmouth.