By SEAN TENAGLIA (Gatemen Beat Writer)
FALMOUTH, MA: What a difference a week makes.
Kyle Cody (Kentucky) struggled in his second start of the season last Saturday at Orleans, allowing three runs over 1.1 innings in a 7-0 loss to the Firebirds. This Saturday, Cody came up with the best start of the season for the Gatemen (5-11), tossing 7.0 shutout innings in a 4-0 win over the Falmouth Commodores.
Cody recorded four 1-2-3 innings in his 7.0 innings of work, allowing only three hits while striking out six Commodores. He faced a total of 24 Falmouth batters, only three more than the minimum required in 7.0 innings. The six-foot-seven Kentucky starter quickly forgot about his previous outing as he dominated the Commodores from start to finish Saturday night at Arnie Allen Diamond.
“I changed my mindset,” Cody said. “I had a lot of time to think about it and get over it. It was a new day, and I just had to come out here and do my job.
“I just wanted to get the ball to the plate and throw strikes. I knew I had the defense behind me the whole game, so I just tried to pound the strike zone.”
Post Game Interview with Player of the Game Kyle Cody (Kentucky)
Cody went deeper into the ballgame than any other member of the Wareham pitching staff this season, which Head Coach Cooper Farris attributed to his control on the mound.
“He just attacked the zone and stayed down,” Farris said. “He’s got good stuff, and when he’s down in the zone, he’s really good.
“We got strike one right off the bat pretty much all night, and that’s where you want to be. It gets them in a hole and they start guessing other pitches.”
The Gatemen had a lot to be proud of in their shutout win Saturday night. For the first time in eight games, the defense was spotless. After five errors proved costly in a 7-3 loss to Orleans Friday night, Farris sat his players down and emphasized the importance of remaining focused on the diamond.
“I got after them pretty good after the game and we challenged them all to figure out why they’re here and what they’re doing with their at-bats and their defense.
“I told them that the errors were caused by a lack of focus. The ball is going to take a bad hop every now and then, but nine out of ten errors occur because you take your eyes off the baseball. Danny [Rosenbaum] made a great play at third and I thought we played well in the middle. I thought the outfielders did good with their angles.”
The Gatemen grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth when Falmouth starting pitcher Ryan Moseley (Texas Tech) committed a balk with two outs and Wareham first baseman Nick Halamandaris (UC-Berkeley) at third base. They then capitalized on fielding miscues committed by the Commodores to grab two more runs in the top of the fifth. Second baseman Kramer Robertson (LSU) stole third base and then crossed the plate on an errant throw from the Falmouth catcher. A two-out double from Halamandaris to left-centerfield brought in designated hitter Willie Calhoun (Arizona) to give Wareham a 3-0 lead.
Halamandaris was 1-3 with a run scored and an RBI in his return to the lineup after missing a week of action due to an illness. The UC-Berkeley first baseman was satisfied that he was able to contribute to a big win in his first game back.
“Baseball is a game where you can lose the game quick,” Halamandaris said. “It was nice to get my timing back and contribute right away. It’s felt awesome to be able to jump back in and help the team get the win.”
A sacrifice fly from centerfielder Jake Little (Memphis) put the Gatemen up 4-0 in the top of the seventh, but that would be more than enough support for Cody. Reliever Scott Effross (Indiana) stepped in to finish out the final two innings for the Gatemen, and delivered in a big way. He allowed just one hit while striking out four Falmouth batters to close out the shutout victory. Effross has transitioned seamlessly into a key late-game role for the Wareham bullpen and now has a 1.80 ERA in ten innings of work.
“I definitely felt comfortable,” Effross said. “I know the competition up here is top notch, so I have to be aware of making mistakes late that could cost us the game. Overall, I think I’ve adjusted nicely.
“I felt good on the mound tonight. I saw Kyle get ahead of a lot of hitters with fastballs, so I tried to follow suit.”
After a couple of tough losses in which the Gatemen gave away games with defensive miscues and poor pitch locations, the shutout win was a refreshing performance for the team.
“It was a clean game,” Effross said. “We’ve had games with one inning where we let it get away, and we’ve been kicking ourselves.
“Tonight, we moved on and played our brand of baseball. We know we’re talented enough to compete with any of the teams in this league, and that’s what we did tonight.”
The Gatemen return to action Sunday evening with a matchup against the Cotuit Kettleers at Spillane Field (6 p.m. ET). Following up their shutout performance will not be easy, but another win against a Western Division foe would put the Gatemen right back into contention in the league.
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” – Post Game Interview with Manager Cooper Farris
Gatemen Broadcast Team Game Highlights