WAREHAM – The Austin Shenton mini-slump is over. In a 10-6 win over the Hyannis Harbor Hawks, Shenton went 3-5 with two home runs and four RBIs on the night.
Shenton, who was just 2-19 over his last five games with six strikeouts, hit two home runs to pace a Wareham offense that had 15 hits and scored runs in six different innings.
“I felt like I wasn’t as passive as I have been in the previous two games. It’s a fine line trying to be not too aggressive and not passive at the same time,” Shenton said.
“I think today I was right in the middle and took good swings on ball that I normally, when I’m not in a mini-slump, hit pretty well. It was a good game to get a good win against Hyannis.”
Austin Shenton was all smiles on Sunday, recording his first multi-homer game of the summer (via Caroline O'Connor).
In the first, Shenton got the Gatemen on the board with a 2-run shot to dead center field over the 412-foot marker which put Wareham ahead 2-0.
His next time up, in the second inning, Shenton nearly hit one out to left field, but his fly ball was caught right at the warning track.
In the fourth, Shenton recorded a single and kept the line moving in an inning in which the Gatemen would score three runs.
In the sixth, Shenton got ahold of another. On the first pitch of the inning, Shenton walloped a fastball over the fence in right for his second homer of the night and fourth of the season. It was his first multi-homer game of the summer. This time, it extended the Gatemen lead to 8-0.
The 3-5 night for Shenton raised his average back up to .358 which ranks third best in the Cape League. The four RBIs for Shenton bring his total to 27 which is tied for second in the league and puts him two RBIs back of his cleanup hitter, Jeremy Ydens, for the most in the league.
Despite entering the game in a slump, Shenton said his approach day in and day out does not change, no matter the results he gets.
“It’s the same as it is every day,” Shenton said regarding his approach. “I was trying to put together good ABs, my A-swing on every single pitch and just put the ball in play and hopefully get a win.”
Through the first seven innings of play last night, it was all Gatemen. Wareham had a 10-0 lead entering the eighth inning. For the second straight night, the team put up double digit runs.
After their 11-run offensive onslaught Saturday, Wareham had runners on base in all eight innings they batted and they scored runs in six of those eight innings on Sunday. Eight of nine Gatemen hitters reached base safely and seven of nine in the lineup had base hits. Of the seven who had hits, six of them recorded multi-hit games.
Additionally, the Gatemen, who had not hit a homer since July 13, have now homered five times the past two days and have 10 extra-base hits in their last two contests.
“It’s just the game of baseball,” Don Sneddon said. “I wish I could tell you exactly what it is. Hitters just get in grooves and in rhythm. It isn’t fair. For example, [Jeremy] Ydens hit three balls on the money and has nothing to show for it, but that’s just the way it goes.”
During the first seven innings of play, the Gatemen pitching staff did their job and held the Harbor Hawks in check.
Entering play, Hyannis was hitting .302 off Gatemen pitching, their best mark versus any team in the Cape. Zach Hart took care of that.
Hart, making his first start of the summer in his 11th appearance, dazzled over five innings and kept the Harbor Harks off the board. Hyannis did not record their first hit off Hart until the fourth and only had two while he was in the game.
“Hart did a great job. He threw five shutout innings; that’s about as dominant as you can get,” Sneddon said. “We are going to need that down the line since we are losing some pitching. It always seems to happen this time of year, so we are looking for anything we can get.”
Hart’s final line read five innings pitched, five strikeouts, no runs, two walks, and two hits allowed in addition to recording the win.
Tyler Ahearn then entered to relieve Hart and tossed a scoreless sixth and Pavin Parks pitched a scoreless seventh.
In the eighth though, the Harbor Hawks started their comeback. Hyannis would put 10 runners on base over the final two innings and ended up scoring six runs to make it a 10-6 game.
“This time of year, you are going to have to win 6-5 games, 6-4 games. The real dominating pitching is probably not going to be there. Maybe each team has one guy left or two but that’s what you are going to have to win,” Sneddon said.
The win for Wareham puts them four points ahead of both Falmouth and Hyannis for first place in the West Division with three games remaining.
“Everybody still wants to play,” Sneddon said. “They are still in it. I have players still coming to me complaining because they aren’t starting tonight. They still want to make that statement and I think that’s great.”
Final: Gatemen 10, Harbor Hawks 6
Next up: The Gatemen (24-16-1) are off Monday, but will head to Lowell Park on Tuesday to play the Cotuit Kettleers (20-17-3) at 5 p.m.