WAREHAM, MA: When it was announced early in the game that the Cotuit Kettllers tied their game with Brewster, the Gatemen knew that a victory over West Division Champion Bourne would secure a home playoff game at Spilllane Field on Friday. Wareham responded by jumping out to 5-2 lead through six innings. However, the Bourne Braves, their Western Division Championship secured, showed why they are the #2 seed in the CCBL Playoffs and came back to defeat the Gatemen 7-5 in the regular season finale for both teams.
The Gatemen scored their first run in the 3rd inning after Jordan Swagerty’s (Arizona State) first of three hits of the game; this one a triple into right-center field. Shea Vucinich (Washington State) promptly followed that up with an rbi single that provided Wareham with a 1-0 lead. Wareham would add two more runs in the 5th inning.
Alex Dickerson (Indiana) led off the inning with a single and would come around to score on a Shea Vucinich rbi double. Derek Dietrich’s (Georgia) ground out drove home a run and Wareham grew their lead to 3-0. Bourne followed that up with 2 runs of their own in the top of the 6th inning.
With a runner on base, likely CCBL MVP Kyle Roller (East Carolina) double to put runners on 2nd and 3rd. Gatemen starting pitcher Blake Monar (Indiana) was lifted and Josh Slaats (Hawaii) was called from the bullpen. Stefen Romero (Oregon State) greeted Slaats with a 2-rbi double and cut the Wareham lead to a 3-2 margin. Monar finished the night but pitching 5.1 innings, striking out 5, allowing 5 hits, 2 earned runs and not walking a batter.
The Gatemen matched the Braves’ 6th inning; scoring two runs of their own. After a George Springer (UCONN) walk and Robert Kral (College of Charleston) single, Springer scored on a botched pick-off attempt at first. Another run was added when an Alex Dickerson ground-out/fielder’s choice brought home a run. Wareham appeared well on their way to securing a home playoff game on Friday and led 5-2 after 6 innings.
After a combined perfect inning by relievers Josh Slaats and Keith Bilodeau (Maine) in the 7th, the Gatemen bullpen fell apart in the 8th and 9th innings. With one out and nobody on in the 8th, Bilodeau was replaced by David Fischer (UCONN). Fischer gave up a single right up the middle to former Wareham Gatemen 3B Raynor Campbell (Baylor) and then walked Kyle Roller. Stefan Romero then hit a towering blast over the visiting bullpen in left field and tied the game 5-5.
Wareham went in order in the 8th; setting the stage for a dramatic Bourne Braves comeback. Dean Kiekhefer (Louisville) replaced Fischer to begin the 9th. CCBL 10th Player Award Winner Pierre LePage (UCONN) hit a pinch hit single through the hole on the right side to start off the inning. A walk to Rob Seggedin (Tulane) and a fly to CF, put runners on 1st and 3rd with one out. Another walk loaded the bases before Raynor Campbell delievered the game winning hit; a 2 rbi single the gave Bourne a 7-5 lead.
Ryan Pineda (Cal State Northridge) opened the bottom half of the inning with a single but that is as far as the Gatemen offense would go and as a result, Wareham lost their 6th game to Bourne on the season. In addition to Swagerty’s 3 hits, Wareham was led offensively by Vucinich’s 2 hits and newcomer Robert Kral’s 2 hits.
Wareham finished the regular season with a 19-19-6 record and a 3rd place finish in the competitive Western Division race that wasn’t fully settled until the last day of games. The Gatemen qualify in the new CCBL Playoff Format as the 5th seed in the 6 team format. Wareham will travel to Lowell Park and play the Cotuit Kettleers in a one game playoff on Friday, August 7th at 3:00pm. The winner advances to the 2nd round and will play a best of 3 series to determine who will advance to the CCBL Championship.
The Gatemen broadcast team will be providing live, play-by-play from Cotuit starting with a 2:45pm pregame show live from Lowell Park. Keep checking back to www.gatemen.org for playoff news and updates.