WAREHAM – With Wareham ahead 3-1 and Ryan Stoudemire on the mound in the eighth inning, the Gatemen were poised to win their third in a row and enter the All-Star break in first place in the West Division. Cotuit’s Garrett Wolforth had other plans.
With two outs in the eighth, Stoudemire first walked Mike Toglia. Then on an 0-2 pitch to the next batter, Wolforth deposited Stoudemire’s put away pitch into the Gatemen bullpen to tie the game at three.
Two innings later, in the tenth, Cotuit pulled ahead 4-3 when Will Robertson singled off Cody Carroll to bring in what would be the game’s winning run.
“It happens. As a coach, I was more upset with the walk that Stoudemire gave up. The walks end up killing you and sure enough it ended up killing us,” Don Sneddon said.
“The guy that hit the home run [Wolforth], no disrespect to him, but we owned him all night. Baseball is a game of mistakes and we made a mistake and they capitalized on it and we didn’t.”
With the two runs allowed last night, Stoudemire blew the save and his scoreless streak of five straight outings ended in the process. It was the first runs he had given up since June 17.
For Carroll, he gave a run for the first time since July 7. Over his last two outings, Carroll had combined to throw three innings without allowing a run.
The tough night for the back end of the bullpen erased what was a great start for MacGregor Hines in his Wareham debut and a stellar middle relief appearance from Zach Hart.
MacGregor Hines impressed in his Wareham debut throwing three scoreless innings in a 4-3 loss (via Caroline O'Connor).
Hines worked three scoreless innings for the Gatemen and allowed just one hit on the evening. He struck out three hitters and put two men on base via walks. Of his 56 pitches, 37 went for strikes.
After three innings of 0-0 baseball, Hines was removed and Zach Hart entered for Wareham in the fourth. The Kettleers got on the board first when Zach Humphreys grounded out into an RBI fielder’s choice to put Cotuit up 1-0.
The Gatemen put two runners on in the fourth, but left them stranded when Skyler Hunter flew out to left field to end the inning. In the fifth though, the Gatemen got the run back.
Isaac Collins led off the inning with a bloop single to left field on an excuse me swing. Oliver Dunn followed that up with a single of his own, for his second of the day, to put the first two runners on in the inning. On the night, the top two in the Wareham order combined for five hits.
After the Dunn single, Cotuit’s starter Bryce Jarvis was pulled after 4+ innings of work. The start for Jarvis yesterday was certainly an improvement from the first time he faced the Gatemen earlier this summer. On July 13, Jarvis gave up three runs over 3.2 IP on five hits.
Zane Collins came in to pitch next and he got Austin Shenton to fly out and Jeremey Ydens to ground in to a 5-4 fielder’s choice for the second out of the inning. With runners at the corners and two outs, the fate of the inning rested in the hands of Lael Lockhart Jr.
Lockhart, who entered the game hitting .208, recorded one of his biggest hits of the summer as he singled to right field to score Collins and tie the game at one. Wareham would have to settle for just the one run as Pavin Parks flew out to center to end the inning.
After Wareham tied it, Hart continued with his solid relief appearance and held the Kettleers scoreless through the seventh inning. Overall, the four innings pitched was Hart’s longest appearance of the summer and he retired the last nine Kettleers he faced.
“You are going to see more of that. He’s started in college so that’s no big deal for him. Because we’ve lost some guys we are going to have to rearrange roles. He will be one of them,” Sneddon said.
In the bottom half of the seventh, Wareham was in business as the Gatemen had a runner on second base with one out and Shenton at the plate.
Instead of facing the league’s second leading hitter, Cotuit elected to put Shenton and take the bat out of the All-Star’s hands.
“I love hitting with runners on base, especially with runners in scoring position,” Shenton said postgame. “I just yearn for that opportunity. As a competitor, I don’t really believe in pressure in that situation because I love it.”
“It kind of sucks but at the end of the day, I know Jeremy behind me is going to get the job done and he did tonight. I have a great hitter behind me so if they are going to walk me, he is still going to get the job done.”
Ydens promptly made Cotuit pay as this All-Star singled to right field to score Collins, giving Wareham a 2-1 lead. The Gatemen tacked on an insurance run when Shenton came around to score on a wild pitch, putting the Gatemen up 3-1 entering the eighth at which point the Wareham pen faltered.
“These games are dog fights. They are games you like to be in and win 3-2 and 2-1. If we are going to win this whole thing, we have to win some of those games,” Sneddon said.”
Final: Kettleers 4, Gatemen 3
Next up: The Gatemen (20-14-1) are off until Tuesday afternoon when they will take on the YD Red Sox (20-11-4) at Dunkin’ Donuts Park in Hartford, Conn. First pitch at 12:30 p.m.