WAREHAM – After missing two straight seasons due to injuries, Derek West is on his way back.
West made his longest outing of the summer going 5.1 IP in a 5-1 Gatemen win over the Falmouth Commodores. He even took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before surrendering his first hit of the night, a solo homer to Edouard Julien to lead off the inning. On the night, West allowed just the one hit, two walks, and struck out five.
Derek West recorded his first win of the summer yesterday in his fourth outing for the Gatemen (via Caroline O'Connor).
“I felt great out there. A lot of the success came from my fastball tonight. I was able to pound the zone with it,” starter Derek West said. “I know last time I faced them I worked backwards and threw a lot of off-speed. I didn’t know if they were going to approach the game that way today, so I was able to pound a lot with the fastball.”
“My off-speed wasn’t working early on but then later in the game I was able to use the changeup and get my off-speed going there to keep them off balance.”
West, a redshirt sophomore, just completed his first full season of actually pitching at the collegiate level. West completed 50 innings for the University of Pittsburgh and posted a 3.24 ERA to go along with a 3-4 record.
West had missed what would have been his first two seasons of his collegiate career due to injuries. He missed his initial freshman year after having Tommy John surgery and missed his second year after tearing his ACL/PCL in his right knee.
“I definitely feel like I am getting there,” West said in regard to getting back to what he once was.
“The curveball tonight isn’t what it used to be, especially towards the end of Pitt. I’ve got a lot more developing to do, but I’ve had a rather unorthodox path. I am excited to finish out this summer strong with the Gatemen and make a strong, deep playoff run and keep working hard.”
On the Cape, West has been even more impressive and will be an integral part of any playoff run the Gatemen make. Entering last night, he had allowed only one run in 10 innings of work.
“What a great pickup that was to find somebody this late who can pitch like that. It is huge for us. It makes all the difference in the world going into these playoffs,” Don Sneddon said.
Last night’s performance for West was his second straight dominant outing versus Falmouth. In his Gatemen debut, West tossed five shutout innings in relief on July 14 in a game the Commodores won 3-0.
On the other side, the Commodores trotted out their All-Star ace, Matthew Canterino.
Canterino, making his last start of the summer for Falmouth, was worked to the fullest throwing a whopping 112 pitches over 6.2 IP and surrendering five runs (four earned).
The Gatemen got to Canterino in the first after getting two of the first three runners of the game on base. Isaac Collins led off the bottom of the first with a walk and two batters later Austin Shenton doubled the other way to put runners in scoring position and one away.
Like he has done all season long, Jeremy Ydens produced in a runner scoring situation as he drove in a run, the first of the game for Wareham, on a sacrifice fly to center field.
With two down, Drew Millas, one night after recording a game-high three hits, was in the DH spot hitting fifth in the Wareham lineup.
The decision to bat Millas fifth paid off immediately for Wareham when he singled up the middle to score Shenton and give the Gatemen a 2-0 lead.
Two innings later, the Gatemen scored a run without the benefit of a hit or a walk. Collins led off the third by reaching on an error. He proceeded to steal second base, advance to third on a groundout, and score on a wild pitch.
The Gatemen held this 3-0 lead into the sixth before Julien hit an opposite field homer off West to end the Pittsburgh Panther’s no-hit bid.
“I missed my spot entirely. He was crowding the plate his toes were on the black of the inside corner and Luke [Roskam] set up inside,” West said.
“I tried too hard to hit it. I had been hitting the corners all night and then I left it out. It was probably three inches outs and he went the opposite way with it.”
After forcing the next batter to ground out, West walked Austin Langworthy on four pitches and would leave the game following this at-bat ending what was a fantastic night for the Gatemen starter.
“He pitched up and he got away with it. You can do that if you have enough on the fastball and you set them up with the breaking ball. He really got some keys outs pitching up,” Sneddon said. “They are a very aggressive hitting club, so they like to swing the bat and they don’t get cheated.”
MacGregor Hines entered in relief and instantly got a double play to end the inning. Hines would also pitch a scoreless seventh and then the Gatemen bats provided more insurance in the bottom half.
With runners in scoring position and two down, Collins ripped an RBI single up the middle, plating two Gatemen to extend the lead to 5-1.
“That was the nail in the coffin. That was the thing that really sent the message. We needed that. We needed it morale wise. We are going to be playing these guys somewhere along the line I think,” Sneddon said.
Hines came back out to start the eighth and would give up a leadoff double to Logan Davidson for the second Commodores hit of the day. He would record one more out before turning the ball over to Joey Baran who worked the final 1.2IP to finish off the game.
“What’s there not to like? We limited that team to two hits. That’s exceptional. It was a great pitching performance all the way through,” Sneddon said.
With the win, the Gatemen won the makeshift series over the Commodores taking two out of three games and are now tied for first in the West with Hyannis in addition to being four points ahead of Falmouth.
“We’ve had good games with them [Falmouth] the whole way through. It was good for us to know we can win a dog fight again,” Sneddon said. “It’s a mental thing knowing we can do that versus being swept the other ways around.”
Final: Gatemen 5, Commodores 1
Next up: The Gatemen (22-16-1) travel to Orleans today for the final time to take on the Firebirds (13-24-1) at Eldridge Park. First pitch at 7 p.m.