Within a blink of an eye the Gatemen had the momentum back on their side.
Already leading 2-1 in the top of the sixth the Brewster Whitecaps (2-2) were looking for insurance, and with runners on first and second and two outs they appeared to be on the verge of doing just that. On the first pitch of his at-bat, Kekai Rios slapped one back through a box for a base hit. Zack Gahagan was waved home, but Gatemen centerfield Joey Bartosic made a perfect throw to home plate, nabbing Gahagan and preventing the Whitecaps from extending their lead.
The Gatemen quickly pounced, scoring two in the bottom half of the sixth to retake a 3-2 edge. Trevor Ezell and Robbie Metz led off with singles before moving up to second and third on a wild pitch. First baseman Gavin Sheets proceeded to make a productive out, grounding out to second base to score Ezell to tie the score. Moments later, Metz scampered home on a wild pitch, giving the Gatemen the lead.
From there, Ryan Wilson took over, throwing three innings of shutout baseball while surrendering just one hit, as the Gatemen (3-1) defeated Brewster 3-2 on Tuesday night at Spillane Field.
Wareham coach Jerry Weinstein said the big takeaway so far this year has been how well his team runs the bases.
“We ran the bases extremely well once again tonight,” praised Weinstein. “Ezell got a great dirt ball read as did Metz. Then, right after, Sheets makes a productive out, gets Metz over and gets Ezell in. Once we took the lead, Wilson took over threw strikes, worked quickly, and changed speeds.”
Anthony Herron got the start for the Gatemen and went the first four, not allowing a run and scattering just three hits. Herron, who is known for his “strikeout stuff” fanned four Whitecap hitters on Tuesday, three via his devastating splitter and another with a high four-seam fastball. Additionally Herron displayed solid command of his four-seam fastball throwing 37 of the 54 he fired in for strikes.
Weinstein said overall he was pretty impressed with Herron considering he was not sure what to expect.
“I was very impressed with Herron considering I had never seen him,” said Weinstein. “For a community college kid he was very poised, not overwhelmed by the moment. A solid performance for a 19 or 20 year old who has not really faced this type of competition.”
The Gatemen scored first in the bottom of the second. Colton Burns worked a one out walk and Adrian Tovalin hit a slow tapper to shortstop that was promptly thrown away, allowing Burns to move all the way over to third base. On 0-1, Jonathan Engelmann hit a weak tapper over the mound for a fielder’s choice RBI, bringing in Burns with the first run of the game.
In the top half of the fifth though the Whitecaps tied the score. Rios reached on an error, and quickly came around to score on a booming RBI double by Nicholas Dunn to get Brewster on the board.
After Whitecaps starter Ryan Feltner sent the Gatemen down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the fifth, Brewster grabbed a 2-1 advantage as Ryan Noda led off with a triple and scored on a Gahagan single up the middle.
From then on, however, the Gatemen bullpen was rock solid as Wilson retired nine of the last 10 batters he faced to preserve the win.