SEAN TENAGLIA (Gatemen Beat Writer)
WAREHAM, MA: On Friday night at Spillane Field, Wareham starting pitcher Sean Adler (USC) did something that no other starter in the entire Cape League had been able to accomplish all summer.
In a game that lasted an hour and 45 minutes, Adler tossed all nine innings without allowing a single run, as the Gatemen (14-26-2) cruised to a 5-0 victory over the Cotuit Kettleers. Adler’s dominant complete-game shutout performance had Wareham Head Coach Cooper Farris singing the USC southpaw’s praises following the win.
“It was the Sean Adler Show tonight,” Farris said. “He threw all of his pitches well and kept them off-balance. They’re a good hitting team, but he tied them up and did a great job tonight.
“He’s been really good. Any time you add guys late, you don’t know what they have. He’s pitched really well for us. I don’t think he’s had a bad outing yet. He was confident in all of his pitches tonight and we saw today that he can throw them any time in the count.”
Adler allowed only six Cotuit hits, while striking out eight Kettleers in his 9.0 innings on the mound. His command on the bump was phenomenal as he was able to quickly work around trouble whenever Cotuit threatened to get something going. The only inning in which the Kettleers put multiple runners on base was the top of the fourth, but Adler induced a 6-4 double play to escape unscathed. Farris noted that Adler’s unique delivery seemed to pose a major challenge for several Cotuit hitters.
“He hides the ball really well and even the catchers say it’s really hard for them to pick up out of his hand,’ Farris said. “When you’re throwing 88, it looks like 98. He tied up some good hitters tonight.”
The Gatemen jumped on Cotuit starting pitcher Nick Eicholtz (Alabama) to plate four runs in the bottom of the second. First baseman Nick Halamandaris (UC-Berkeley) led off the frame with a four-pitch walk and third baseman Jose Cuas (Maryland) then reached with a single up the middle. After catcher Keaton Aldridge (Memphis) walked, the Gatemen had the bases loaded with no outs.
Left fielder Kyri Washington (Longwood) delivered with a two-run single to left field that gave Wareham a 2-0 lead. Washington, who was 1-2 on the night with two runs scored, was pleased to help the Gatemen grab an early lead, something with which they have struggled all summer.
“I’m starting to see the ball a lot better than I was before,” Washington said. “It’s toward the end of the season, but I’m just working on improving every day.
“It felt good to jump on them early. In the beginning of the year, we had a lot of runners left on base, so it was good to see us get them in today.”
With two outs, the Gatemen loaded the bases again as shortstop Blake Lacey (USC) came to the plate. Lacey jumped on the first pitch he saw from Eicholtz and lined it into the left-centerfield gap to bring home two more Wareham runners and increase the lead to 4-0. Over the past two weeks, Lacey has developed into one of the most consistent hitters in the Wareham lineup, as Farris acknowledged following the game.
“The biggest thing with Blake has been giving him a routine,” Farris said. “We’ve been trying to get him to settle in and come straight to the baseball. He really struck the ball well tonight.”
Eicholtz settled down after the second inning and actually would retire the final 13 Gatemen batters he faced in the ballgame. The Gatemen would go on to add an insurance run to increase their lead to 5-0 when Washington crossed the plate on a wild pitch in the bottom of the seventh.
Despite only tallying five hits, the Gatemen certainly made their at-bats count on Friday and came through with the clutch hitting that has been missing for most of the season. The five-run cushion proved to be more than enough for Adler, who mowed down the Kettleer lineup in quick succession all night.
Although the Gatemen were eliminated from postseason contention, Farris said that his team still has a lot to play for through the final two games of the season.
“The biggest thing is they have to prove themselves up here every night,” Farris said. “It’s all about proving that you belong and I just hope that they keep competing through the weekend.”
The Gatemen close out their season with a home-and-home series against the Western Division-leading Bourne Braves. The first game will be played Saturday at Doran Park in Bourne, as the Gatemen look to ride some momentum through the final weekend of the season (6 p.m. ET).
As always, you can watch the live stream of the game by accessing our “Gatemen Pressbox” page. The pre-game show begins around 5:40 p.m. Like the Wareham Gatemen Baseball Facebook page and follow @WarehamGatemen for all the latest news on the team.