FALMOUTH – A pitching matchup between two West Division All-Stars did not disappoint last night as just four total runs were scored in a game the Wareham Gatemen won 3-1 over the Commodores.
RHP Ryan Garcia got the start for Wareham and just like he’s done all summer, he held the opponents in check. Garcia made his longest start of the summer going six innings allowing one unearned run to score. He also recorded the win to improve to 2-0 on the summer while lowering his ERA to 1.33.
“It was a good win for our morale, winning a dog fight,” Don Sneddon said. “We haven’t won those lately. They key was obviously pitching. To come out and use just two pitchers is pretty rare.”
Easton Lucas pitched three shutout innings to record his second save of the season (via Caroline O'Connor).
The home team countered Garcia with an All-Star of their own, LHP TJ Sikkema. Sikkema, on his 20th birthday, made his last start of the summer for Falmouth as he had reached his innings limit.
Over the course of the season, Sikkema was excellent for Falmouth. He entered yesterday’s game with a 1.42 ERA over 24.2 innings of work.
Last night, Sikkema was fantastic yet again. He threw 102 pitches over 6.2 IP and allowed two runs to score despite taking the loss. Sikkema surrendered five hits and two walks to go along with five strikeouts over the course of his outing.
The first of the two runs allowed by Sikkema came in the third inning with Isaac Collins at the dish.
Collins, who entered the day hitting a lowly .182 off lefties, lifted a ball into the gap in right center field with two outs that would plate the speedy Skyler Hunter all the way from first base. Collins reached third base standing up to record his first triple of the summer.
Collins would remain at third as Sahid Valenzuela bounced out to the pitcher to end the inning.
With Wareham ahead 1-0 in the fourth, the Commodores were able to scratch a run across and tie the game at one. With one away in the inning, Davis Sims roped a single to center field and was able to advance to second base when Hunter misplayed the ball.
The miscue by Hunter was his second error of the game as he had already dropped a fly ball in center field in the second inning.
Hunter’s first error did not end up costing Wareham as Garcia was able to pitch out of a jam with runners on second and third with nobody out.
This time, he was not as fortunate. The next Commodores hitter, Logan Davidson, singled to put runners on the corners with one out.
Cam Cannon, who entered the day on a 10-game hit streak, singled to extend his streak to 11 and tied up the game at one. Garcia worked his way out of the inning further unscathed, but the run went across as unearned due to Hunter’s error.
“You take your eye off the ball and bad things happen,” Hunter said after the game. “It’s super frustrating, but you have to keep battling because the game is going to come back at you.”
In the fifth, Garcia found himself in another difficult situation. With two outs and a runner at second, the All-Star Kyle Stowers stepped up to the plate looking to break the 1-1 tie.
Stowers entered last night’s game on a tear as he has been the best hitter on the Cape the past few weeks. The reigning Coca-Cola Player of the Week was hitting .359 prior to the game and had just gone 2-2 with a homer during the All-Star Game over the weekend to win MVP honors.
Garcia got the best of his fellow PAC-12 competitor this time around as he got Stowers to strikeout and end the frame. The strikeout was Garcia’s third of the night and came in the midst of a stretch where he would strikeout four batters in a row.
“He [Stowers] fouled off a couple pitches to get to two strikes. I threw a curveball he took which was pretty borderline, but it was a good take,” Garcia said. “Then I threw a changeup and he swung over it, so it was big out for that inning.”
After a scoreless sixth for both team, Lael Lockhart Jr. had the Gatemen in business with one away in the seventh when he ripped a triple for his first hit of the day.
Luke Roskam followed up the triple by working a walk to put runners on first and third. Sikkema then recorded his biggest out of the night when he got Ryan Kreidler to pop out to shortstop for the second out of the inning.
With two away, the Gatemen number nine hitter, Skyler Hunter, stepped into the box looking to make up for his two uncharacteristic errors earlier in the night and give Wareham a lead.
“I was frustrated basically the entire game and I was just trying to take deep breaths and stay positive as much as a I could,” Hunter said.
On the first pitch he saw, Hunter singled to left field to drive in the go-ahead run and put Wareham on top 2-1.
“I knew he’d come fastball in on me and I threw the hands. I happened to find a barrel and a hole in the outfield which I was super pumped about,” Hunter said.
Hunter would be the last hitter Sikkema would face as his Cape League season would end with his team trailing 2-1 in the seventh.
Since Sikkema had lasted so long in the game, Hunter was facing him for the third time in the game, a rarity in Cape League games.
“You know how he is going to pitch you. The first inning, he went curveball curveball changeup. Then he went fastball in, fastball in. I kind of assumed he’d go hard in because it worked for him in the last at bat,” Hunter said about his third at-bat.
The Gatemen would push across an insurance run in the eighth when Gian Martellini doubled with two outs to make it a 3-1 game. In fact, all three Gatemen RBI hits came with two down in this game.
Easton Lucas relieved Garcia in the seventh and he recovered nicely from his nightmare outing at Brewster on July 18.
Last time out, Lucas gave up a season-high four runs and took the loss in a game in which he blew a three-run lead.
Last night, Lucas was back to his All-Star form. He pitched three innings of shutout ball and faced just one batter over the minimum. Lucas gave up one hit on the night and recorded his second save of the summer for Wareham.
Final: Gatemen 3, Commodores 1
W- Ryan Garcia (6 IP, 5 K, 1 BB, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER)
L- TJ Sikkema (6.2 IP, 5 K, 2 BB, 5 H, 2 ER)
S- Easton Lucas (3 IP, 4 K, 0 BB, 1 H, 0 R)
Next up: The Gatemen (21-15-1) play the Falmouth Commodores (19-17-1) again Thursday night, this time at Spillane Field in Wareham. First pitch at 6:30 p.m.