The 2010 Wareham Gatemen proved to be one of the more resilient teams in recent Gatemen history both on and off the playing field. Constant early season roster moves; necessary due to the MLB draft, injuries and Collegiate National Team invitees, required General Manager Tom Gay and Head Coach Cooper Farris to make frequent adjustments and additions that resulted in an opening day team that looked very different than then one they had assembled during the offseason. This maneuvering, however, resulted in a core group of important players that led this team on the field; pushing the Wareham Gatemen into the CCBL Western Division Finals.
EARLY SEASON ROSTER MOVES SHAPE TEAM
With only a week before opening day and in order to field a team to play two exhibition games against the NECBL , the Gatemen signed 9 players in a span of just 2 days. No one would have guessed that those signings would result in a CCBL All-Star (Tony Caldwell –Auburn), the teams’ winner of the Sylvia Bigelow Award as Wareham’s top positional player (Jonathan Smith), an MLB draft pick and eventual signee (Josh Richmond – Louisville), a starting 2nd basemen (Adam McClain – Memphis), a backup catcher (Chris Walker – Fordham) and one of Wareham’s most colorful and exciting players. (Nico Rosthenhausler)
Catcher Tony Caldwell personified the resiliency and character of this team with his gritty style of play that made him one of the more popular players among the Gatemen faithful. His play earned him a selection into the CCBL Western Division All-Star Team and an opportunity to play at Fenway Park. He didn’t disappoint – throwing out a runner on an attempted steal, hitting a triple and scoring a run. His .297 batting average led the Gatemen.
Jonathan Smith arrived from NAIA Tenn-Wesleyan and immediately proved that he belonged in the league. Smith was also joining an outfield that featured two of the highest profile players in all of college baseball – George Springer (UCONN) and Alex Dickerson (Indiana), who were both invited to play for the Collegiate National Team and eventually left the Cape to take advantage of that tremendous opportunity. Smith played in all but 6 regular season games, hit .250, drive in 11 runs and hit a homerun. His exceptional defense made him one of the top outfielders in the league and the 31 runs he scored led the Cape Cod Baseball League and his 14 stolen bases led the Gatemen.
Adam McClain (Memphis) was splitting time with Anthony Toth (Michigan) at second base until Toth went down with a season ending hamstring injury. McClain stepped into the full time role and became a spark plug for the Gatemen offense; consistently getting on base, delivery clutch hits and playing terrific defense in the Wareham infield. Also signed just before the season started was Chris Walker (Fordham) and Nico Rosthenhausler (Oklahoma State). From behind the plate on opening day, Walker threw out 3 runners; solidifying his spot on the roster that proved to be deep at the catcher position. His final .270 average was 3rd on the team.
Rosthenhausler, like Caldwell, was a very popular player with his teammates and with the Spillane Field fans. Appearing in 30 games, Nico hit .250 and also helped fill the void left in the wake of Springer and Dickerson’s departure.
GATEMEN STRUGGLE TO START SEASON
Opening Day for the entire Cape Cod Baseball League season took place at Spillane Field on June 13th, 2010 vs. the Cotuit Kettleers and featured a special pregame ceremony. The only game played this day, the league and the Gatemen honored former players and donned special red shirts in honor of America’s Troops. Know as “Red Shirt Friday” throughout the 2010 season, each home team on Friday night wore the special shirts as the league’s way of recognizing the sacrifice and effort of the armed forces.
On the field, Wareham kicked off the season in style, defeating Cotuit 5-2. Unfortunately, the opening day win would prove to be one of the few highlights of the first quarter of the season. After taking a 3-0 lead into the 9th inning at Hyannis in game 2, Wareham allowed 4 runs in the bottom half of the inning and lost that game 4-3. The Gatemen would go on to lose 12 of the next 15 games on their way to a 4-13 start.
To make matters worse for Wareham, the early season highlights came from a trio of players that would soon be leaving the team. RHP Matt Barnes (UCONN) and outfielders George Springer (UCONN) and Alex Dickerson (Indiana) were all scheduled to leave the Cape to play for Team USA for the rest of the summer. All three players proved why they were selected for this honor during their brief stint in Wareham. Springer, the 2009 Gatemen recipient of the Sylvia Bigelow Award, hit .288 in 16 games, knocked in 8 runs and left the Cape leading the league with 3 homeruns.
Pitcher Matt Barnes started 3 games for Wareham and also didn’t disappoint. His matchup against Boston Red Sox first round draft pick Anthony Ranaudo from Brewster on June 26th at Spillane Field was one of the highlights of the entire 2010 CCBL season; drawing a large crowd of fans, scouts and media attention. Barnes finished the game with 14 strikeouts, allowed only 4 hits and one run.
Alex Dickerson played in only 9 games this season before departing but left as the best hitter in the Cape Cod Baseball League. Dickerson was 17 for 34 with a homerun, 4 doubles and 7 rbi.
The loss of these 3 star players was a blow to a team that was off to such a terrible start; leaving the Gatemen trying to replace the ace of their pitching staff and heart of their batting order. This situation would test Wareham’s resiliency, provide opportunities for players to step up and go a long way toward deciding the ultimate fate of the 2010 Wareham Gatemen.
JULY 4TH FIREWORKS
The July 4th weekend was the start of something special for the Gatemen. Upon the departure of these star players, Wareham headed into Bourne for their annual July 4th holiday showdown at Doran Park. The Gatemen put 15 runs on the board; headlined by Tyler Bream’s (Liberty) 5 hits and 6 rbi; propelling Wareham to a home-and-home sweep of the Braves and the beginning of a stretch where they would win 8 of 11 games – moving Wareham back into the race in the Western Division.
A new heart of the Gatemen lineup emerged as Tyler Bream, Max Muncy (Baylor) and Zach Wilson (Arizona State), who had arrived late after playing in the College World Series, found their strides and provided a much needed boost the offense.
Bream and Muncy were two of the top run producers in the league. Bream’s 26 rbi tied for tops in the league and Muncy would drive in 1 less and finish with 25. Their run production highlighted a Wareham offense that finished 2nd in the league with a .243 average, had 351 hits and finished 3rd with 18 total homeruns.
On the mound, a pair starting pitching aces emerged as Jed Bradley (Georgia Tech) and Max Perlman (Harvard) gave the Gatemen a well balanced attack. Perlman was named the CCBL Pitcher of the Week in July and both players were named Western Conference All-Stars. Bradley finished tied for the league lead with 44 strikeouts and Perlman finished just 2 behind with 42. Another Gatemen starting pitcher, Eric Pfisterer (Duke) struck out 43 batters rounding out 3 Wareham pitchers finishing in the top 5 in that category.
Rounding out the Wareham starting rotation for most of the season was 2009 CCBL All-Star Jack Armstrong (Vanderbilt) and Josh Urban (Texas). Armstrong won 4 games; leading the Gatemen and finishing only 1 win shy of the league lead. If invited back in 2011, Urban will challenge for the top spot in the Wareham rotation.
Defensively, the Gatemen established a solid infield with McClain and Derek Dennis (Michigan) teaming up to form a terrific double-play combination. Bream held down the hot corner while a rotation of Max Muncy and Jerrud Sabourin (Indiana) played first base. Behind the plate, Caldwell and Walker were spotted by Josh Ludy, the talented freshman from Baylor.
Though they struggled at times, the Wareham bullpen closed the door to preserve many of the Gatemen wins down the stretch. Ken Ferrer (Elon) and Keith Bilodeau (Maine) shared closing duties while Jake Davies, Andrew McKirahan (Texas), Erik Miller (TCU), Devin Burke (Duke) and Joseph Flynn (Franklin Pierce) handled many of the middle innings during the season.
GATEMEN LEAD WEST IN ALL STAR GAME
With the Gatemen challenging for the CCBL Western Division lead, the Cape Cod Baseball League All-Star selections featured 5 Gatemen; leading the West. Tyler Bream and Zach Wilson were selected as starters for the game that was played at Fenway Park. Jed Bradley and Max Perlman were named as pitchers and Tony Caldwell was the West backup catcher.
Jake Davies (Georgia Tech), primarily a left-handed relief pitcher for the Gatemen, was selected to participate in the homerun derby prior to the game.
Bradley and Perlman each pitched a shut-out inning during their turn on the mound and Bream, Wilson and Caldwell each had hits and scored runs to help lead the Western Division to victory. Zach Wilson was named the West MVP for his rbi double of off Fenway’s Green Monster.
Wilson would finish the CCBL season as a serious candidate for league MVP as he was among the league leaders in batting average, homeruns and rbi.
LATE SEASON PLAYOFF RUN
With only 8 games remaining after the All-Star game, the Gatemen were only one point out of first place on July 30st and clinched a playoff spot on August 1st. As was the case all season for the Gatemen, new players contributed at key spots throughout the season.
A rare home and away double header on July 29th, combined with the early departure of Jed Bradley who went home because he had reached his innings limit, provide an opportunity for two unlikely starters. Joseph Flynn (Franklin Pierce), from nearby Plymouth, Massachusetts would shutdown the Falmouth Commodores in game 1 and Devin Burke (Duke), in only his 2nd start of the year, would do the same to the Brewster Whitecaps. For his performance, Flynn was named the CCBL Pitcher of the Week.
Heading into the final game of the season against Bourne, Wareham could have finished as high as 2ndplace finish as low as 3rd place in the Western Division. The Gatemen lost to the Braves in the regular season finale that setup a best-of-three, first round matchup in the first round of the CCBL Playoffs against the division champions.
PLAYOFF EXCITEMENT RETURNS TO WAREHAM
The 2009 season resulted in a one game playoff loss at Cotuit. However, a new CCBL playoff format for 2010 guaranteed the Gatemen at least one home playoff game; the first at Spillane Field since the 2006 CCBL Championship Series.
Game 1 of the opening round was at Doran Park in Bourne and the Gatemen handed Max Perlman the ball to face Grayson Garvin – the league’s top pitcher. After a shaky first inning, Perlman settled down and provided his team the opportunity to make a comeback and eventually take the lead on route to a 9-5 playoff victory.
Game 2 drew over 2,000 fans to Spillane Field to see what proved to be the most dramatic and important game of the season. Taking a 2-0 lead into the 9th inning, Wareham’s bullpen could not close the door and Bourne tied the game 2-2. This set the stage for a LJ Mazzilli (UCONN) rbi single into the gap in the 11th inning; prompting a Gatemen celebration and lifting Wareham into the CCBL Western Division Championship Series with the Cotuit Kettleers.
Mazzilli and his UCONN teammate John Andreoli were the offensive leaders in the series for Wareham. Andreoli, a late signee who started the season in Brewster, was for 5 for 8, scored 5 runs and stole a base.
Mazzilli drove in 2 runs in game 1 and lifted the Gatemen into the division finals with his walk off hit in game 2. LJ is the son of former major league player Lee Mazzilli and was one of three Gatemen players who have a father that once played Major League Baseball. (Jack Armstrong & Tyler Bream are the other players)
Wareham returned to the Western Division finals for the first time since 2006 and like that year, faced the Cotuit Kettleers in a best-of-three series. Despite being supported by over 3,000 fans at Spillane Field, the Gatemen were swept by Cotuit in two games. The Kettleers would move on to defeat the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox and win the 2010 CCBL Championship.
The Gatemen finished the regular season with a 19-24-1 record in the regular season and a 2-2 record during the playoffs. Wareham drew over 28,000 fans to Spillane Field in 2010 and thousands more to the internet broadcast.