SEAN TENAGLIA (Gatemen Beat Writer)
HYANNIS, MA: In a must-win game Tuesday night in Hyannis, the Wareham Gatemen fell victim to the dreaded big inning. The Harbor Hawks plated six runs, all with two outs, in the bottom of the sixth inning, as they cruised to a 7-0 win over the Gatemen (11-23-1). With the loss, the Gatemen dropped to five points behind Hyannis for the final playoff spot in the Western Division.
As has been the case lately in many of Wareham’s games, the Gatemen and Harbor Hawks participated in a well-pitched, low-scoring battle. Hyannis scored the game’s first run in the bottom of the fourth courtesy of a two-out RBI double to the right-centerfield wall from second baseman Dylan Bosheers (Tennessee Tech). That run would be the only run scored until Hyannis’ big sixth inning, due to a fantastic pitcher’s duel between Ryan Olson (San Diego) and Marcus Brakeman (Stanford).
Working on just four days of rest, Olson was outstanding on the mound for the Gatemen. In 5.0 innings of work, he allowed just three hits and one run while striking out five Hyannis batters. Olson credited his strong outing to his ability to attack the strike zone and not give the opposition any free passes.
“We just have to go out there and try to be competitive and get after guys,” Olson said. “I’ve tried to limit my walks, and that’s how I’ve been so successful lately.”
After Olson was pulled, All-Star reliever Scott Effross (Indiana) entered the game for the Gatemen in the bottom of the sixth. It looked like the Harbor Hawks would go quietly after first baseman Nick Halamandaris (UC-Berkeley) made a fantastic diving catch and doubled off left fielder Daniel Kihle (Wichita State). However, with two outs, designated hitter Bobby Melley (Connecticut) and first baseman Carl Wise (Charleston) crushed back-to-back doubles to the fence to give Hyannis a 2-0 lead.
The wheels came off for the Gatemen at that point, as the next six Hyannis batters would reach base via walks, infield hits, and fielding miscues. Catcher David Houser (Tennessee) delivered with a two-run single to put the Harbor Hawks up 4-0. Centerfielder Kyle Survance (Houston) and third baseman John La Prise (Virginia) each brought in runs on infield singles off reliever Jason Richman (Georgia Southern). When all was said and done, the Gatemen found themselves deflated and trailing 7-0 in what had been a tight game just minutes earlier.
Even without Hyannis’ six-run sixth inning, the Gatemen still may not have won the game due to their continued offensive woes. For the 12th consecutive game, the Gatemen failed to score three runs, as they were shutdown and shutout by Brakeman and the Harbor Hawks.
In 6.0 innings, Brakeman allowed only four hits while striking out an incredible 11 Gatemen batters. He struck out the side in both the fifth and sixth innings, and never allowed the Gatemen lineup to gather any momentum during the game. The only inning in which Wareham put two runners on base was the fifth, but Brakeman quickly worked out of the jam to strike out the final two batters of the frame.
Catcher Keaton Aldridge (Memphis) and designated hitter Willie Calhoun (Arizona) each had a pair of hits in the ballgame, but they were the only Wareham batters to reach base twice.
The difficult loss had to feel deflating for the Gatemen, who were coming off two thrilling ninth-inning victories and were looking to capitalize to move up in the playoff hunt. Nevertheless, Olson said that his teammates would be ready to go Wednesday night when they host the Harbor Hawks for a rematch at Spillane Field (7 p.m. ET).
“We just have to come back tomorrow and play these guys again and get back even with them,” Olson said. “Our focus right now is to just put this behind us.”
The term “must-win” has been tossed around a lot lately with the Gatemen, but if any game this season is a must-win, then it is Wednesday’s rematch. With only nine games remaining in the regular season, the Gatemen will either find themselves in a tight playoff race or fading fast following Wednesday’s tilt.
As always, you can watch the live stream of the game by accessing our “Gatemen Pressbox” page. The pre-game show begins around 6:40 p.m. Like the Wareham Gatemen Baseball Facebook page and follow @WarehamGatemen for all the latest news on the team.