With selections for the Cape Cod Baseball League All-Star game being announced in the coming days, there is no question that Joey Bart has made his case.
Bart collected two more hits on Friday evening as well as three RBIs, helping Wareham (13-13-3) to a 6-3 win over Bourne at Spillane Field.
The win snaps a seven game slide that saw the Gatemen go 0-5-2 and moves them back into second place in the West Division.
Gatemen coach Jerry Weinstein said all in all a terrific offensive night for his team.
“We did a lot of little things good,” summarized Weinstein, “We stole bases, had a squeeze play, ran the bases good, and got timely offense.”
Trailing 2-0 entering the bottom the third, the Gatemen went in front in large part due to some speed on the bases.
Joey Bartosic drew a one walk and moved over to second on a Cole Freeman single to right field.
Robbie Metz – hitting out of the two hole – followed up by continuing his hot hitting, dropping a single in front of Braves center fielder Brendan Breaux that scored Bartosic to bring Wareham within 2-1.
Freeman, using his wheels, was able to go first and third, while Metz took second on the throw from Breaux.
Bart stepped up to the plate, and fell behind in the count 1-2, forcing him to change his approach.
“I was looking to get something through the right side to score (Freeman and Metz),” said Bart. “I got a breaking ball and luckily I was able to stay inside of it and get the job done.”
The catcher out of Georgia Tech came through, blooping a base hit behind first and into right field, scoring Freeman and Metz to put the Gatemen on top, 3-2.
Hogan Harris replaced Ethan Small on the mound for the Gatemen in the top of the fifth, and faced some unusual control issues.
Willy Yahn singled off the glove of Freeman at second base to begin the inning and Jake Mangum worked a walk, giving the Braves two on with none out.
Harris was able to come back and induce a bunt pop up to go along with a strike out for two quick outs. Connor McVey, however, was hit-by-a-pitch loading the bases.
Up stepped Justin Yurchak, the West Division’s leading hitter, looking to put the Braves back on top.
Yurchak laid off back-to-back fastballs to get ahead in the count 2-0. Harris, however, found his four-seamer and pained two on the black before finally getting Yurchak to swing at one above his eyes to end the threat.
“All in all we got some OK pitching,” said Weinstein.
Nico Giarratano made sure that Harris’ efforts were rewarded.
Giarratano had gone two plus years and 233 at bats on the Cape without a home run, but in the bottom of the fifth of Friday night’s game that all changed.
With the count full, Giarratano turned on a fastball from Bourne starter A.J. Moore and sent it right down the right field line for a solo home run, giving Wareham a 4-2 edge.
“I felt pretty good today in (batting practice) and been working on something things with (hitting coach) Don Sneddon,” said Giarratano. “Luckily in that spot I got my pitch and was able to do something with it.”
Wareham carried a 6-3 advantage into the top of the ninth inning, seeking their first win in over a week.
Ryan Wilson, who had come on in midway through the top of the seventh, was sent back out to try and complete the save.
Wilson seemed to run out of gas as after surrendering a line out to center field, allowed Yahn and Mangum to reach base hits via consecutive singles.
Connor Wong – who homered earlier in the ball game – earned a full count walk, loading the bases with one man down.
Out of the dugout came Weinstein, and immediately he made the decision to go to Jake Matthys.
Matthys showed zero signs of being phased by the pressure, throwing back-to-back breaking balls to Bourne cleanup hitter Dave MacKinnon.
MacKinnon came back to force the count to 2-2, but on the following pitch, Matthy’s jammed MacKinnon and induced a weak line out to third for the second out of the inning.
Just one more pitch from Matthys was all that was necessary, as he got a ground out to first on the initial offering to Connor McVey to seal the 6-3 victory.