WAREHAM – A pair of two-run homers early helped to propel the Gatemen over the Bourne Braves 6-1 in their final home regular season game at Spillane Field.
Lael Lockhart Jr. got the scoring going by smacking a no doubt home run to right field to put Wareham up 2-0 in the second. An inning later, Jeremy Ydens hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the third to double the Gatemen lead and make it a 4-0 game.
Lael Lockhart (far right) celebrates his two-run homer in the second inning with Ryan Kreidler (5) and Gian Martellini (far left). Photo by Caroline O'Connor.
“That’s what we have to have,” Don Sneddon said referring to the complete team win. “Every game is going to be like that now. Everybody’s best pitchers, best hitters, everybody’s psyched up. The intensity comes up. If you were tired, you’re not tired anymore.”
Ydens, who was 2-for-24 over his last six games, broke out of his slump in a big way hitting the homer and also got on base two more times via a hit by pitch and a single.
“Ydens is just a great player, a hard worker. You want 15 guys like him. Just a professional from day one,” Sneddon said. “He’s played and he’s a little tired, as we all are, but he’s never complained. The homer is good for him. It was a matter of time. His swing is still good, but it [slumps] happens in baseball.”
Aside from the two Gatemen homers, Wareham scored their other two runs in the fifth inning when Isaac Collins scored on an RBI fielder’s choice from Austin Shenton and then Pavin Parks recorded an RBI single to give the Gatemen their sixth run of the night.
On the hill, the Gatemen staff had another “pen day” and it worked to perfection. Five different Gatemen pitchers combined to limit the Braves offense to just one run on the night off seven hits.
Nathan Florence got the start for Wareham and had his second straight effective outing in a row. Last time out, Florence went four innings giving up one run in a 5-0 loss to YD. Last night, Florence went three scoreless to lower his season ERA to 5.74. The scoreless outing for Florence was his first of the summer.
After Florence’s night was over, Derek West came in to get an inning of work before he starts in game two of the playoffs this weekend. West tossed a scoreless inning in the fourth before handing the ball off to Tyler Ahearn.
Ahearn, who entered tonight’s game with a 6.23 ERA, had his best appearance of the summer tossing two innings with no runs allowed. This appearance tonight was Ahearn’s second straight scoreless appearance in a row.
The fourth Gatemen pitcher, MacGregor Hines, did allow a run, but it would be the only one Bourne would score all night. The Braves actually were in a good position to cut into the Gatemen lead and do damage as they had the bases loaded with no outs.
Instead, Tyler Fitzgerald grounded into a 5-4-3 double play to kill the rally in the seventh, despite the fact that a run came across to score. Hines got the next Bourne batter to ground out and end the inning with just the one run scoring.
Lastly, Pavin Parks pitched the final two innings to finish up the win for Wareham while facing one batter above the minimum.
Following the game, Parks was released from the Gatemen roster as he heads home to have a surgery before returning to Kent State in the fall. Parks ends his summer with a 1.80 ERA in 10 IP.
“I appreciate all the effort he did to stay here. He could have had that be an issue, but he didn’t make any excuses and went right after it,” Sneddon said. “Losing him is going to hurt. He’s definitely a presence on that mound, especially in those late innings.”
The win for Wareham puts the club in first place by one point with one game remaining. With the win yesterday, the Gatemen secured that they will have home field for the first round of the playoffs.
With a win today or a Hyannis loss, the Gatemen will be the number one seed in the West Division which would guarantee Wareham has home field advantage up until the CCBL Final should they make it.
Final: Gatemen 6, Braves 1
Next up: The Gatemen (25-16-2) will head to Bourne for the finale of the regular season and complete their home-and-home series with the Braves (17-25-1). First pitch at 6 p.m. from Doran Park.