By SEAN TENAGLIA (Gatemen Beat Writer)
ORLEANS, MA: The second and final trip to Orleans for the Wareham Gatemen played out much like the first. After being shut out by Orleans, 7-0, at Eldredge Park on June 21, the Gatemen (7-15) failed once again to put together much of an offensive surge Sunday night as they fell to the Firebirds, 5-1.
The Gatemen tallied six total hits, including a pair each in the second, fourth, and seventh innings. In the top of the second, third baseman Danny Rosenbaum (Louisville) lined a single to left and right fielder Anderson Miller (Western Kentucky) singled up the middle with two outs. A wild pitch from Orleans starter Nathan Bannister (Arizona) moved both runners into scoring position, but Bannister got catcher John Bormann (UT-San Antonio) to chase a slider in the dirt to end the inning.
The Wareham lineup plated its only run in the top of the fourth after designated hitter Chris Chinea (LSU) led off the inning with a ground-rule double down the right field line. Chinea crossed the plate to cut the Orleans lead to 2-1 when Rosenbaum grounded into a 6-3 double play, but Bannister utilized the twin killing to halt any momentum the Gatemen had mustered.
Bannister retired the final six batters he faced in the fifth and sixth innings and held the normally active Gatemen bats at bay all night. In 6.0 innings of work, he allowed only four hits and the one run, while striking out six Wareham batters.
After Bannister left the ballgame, the Gatemen did have two chances to cut into the Firebirds’ lead. In the top of the seventh, left fielder Corey Ray (Louisville) and Miller singled with two outs and moved into scoring position with a double-steal. Orleans reliever Reilly Hovis (UNC) got pinch hitter Keaton Aldridge (Memphis) to take a called third strike on the outside corner to escape the jam. In the top of the eighth, the Gatemen had two more runners reach base via back-to-back walks with one out, but reliever Jacob Cronenworth (Michigan) picked up consecutive strikeouts and maintained the 5-1 Orleans lead.
One day after Wareham put up seven runs on nine hits, Head Coach Cooper Farris was forced to wonder what happened to his team’s offensive production.
“We tried to be really big at the plate today and had 12 strikeouts,” Farris said. “We had a few situations where we could have scored a few runs, but we just didn’t have good at-bats.”
Wareham starting pitcher Jake Kalish (George Mason) ran into some early trouble in the bottom of the first inning, as the Firebirds jumped out to a 2-0 lead. Two-out RBI singles from first baseman David Thompson (Miami) and designated hitter RJ Ybarra (Arizona State) brought in the first two Orleans runs.
Kalish settled down over the next few innings, but found himself in more trouble in the bottom of the fifth inning after a tough sequence of events. The George Mason southpaw thought he had strike three against Orleans shortstop David Fletcher (Loyola Marymount), but his pitch was just above the strike zone and Fletcher reached base on a walk. Right fielder Mitch Tolman (Oregon) then reached on an infield single that bounced off the glove of Wareham shortstop Blake Lacey (USC). Thompson stepped into the batter’s box and crushed an 0-2 pitch from Kalish through the gusting wind and just over the left field wall for a three-run homer that increased the Orleans lead to 5-1.
In 4.1 innings of work, Kalish allowed six hits and five runs while striking out five Firebird batters. He really settled in after the first inning and had a solid outing spoiled by one impresive swing of the bat from David Thompson.
Relievers Ryan Olson (San Diego) and Willie Kuhl (Cal State Fullerton) came into the game and executed their jobs to perfection, allowing only one hit while combining for three strikeouts in 3.2 innings of relief work. Unfortunately, their efforts would not be enough as the Orleans pitching staff silenced the Wareham offense for the remainder of the game.
Anderson Miller was 2-4 in the ballgame, but acknowledged that his team struggled to string together clutch at-bats when they needed them most.
“Their pitchers got ahead a lot,” Miller said. “We had chances to get some runs, but it seemed like we were just one hit away. We had runners at second and third in a couple innings and couldn’t get that big two-out hit.”
The Gatemen travel to Bourne on Monday night to take on the Braves in a makeup game for their rained-out July 4 matchup (6 p.m. ET). At the halfway point of the season, the team needs to string together a few wins to make up ground in the Western Division and position themselves for a playoff run.
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.
“Coop’s Scoop” – Postgame interview with Manager Cooper Farris – Click below to listen to interview
Game highlights from the Gatemen Broadcast Team
Gatemen Player of the Game – Anderson Miller