For the Gatemen, opening day went about as well as they could have envisioned.
Behind five innings of one run ball from Jake Fishman, and home runs out of Colton Shaver and Brett Netzer, the Gatemen (1-0) defeated two-time defending champion Yarmouth-Dennis 6-3 on Friday evening at Red Wilson Field.
Over the course of his outing, Fishman used his low-90s fastball to get ahead of the Red Sox (0-1) hitters, before putting them away with his off-speed repertoire that included a devastating splitter.
In total, Fishman went five innings and surrendered just one run while scattering five hits and striking out three. He threw 62 pitches, 42 of which were strikes. Of the 41 four-seam fastballs Fishman threw 28 hit the zone. Perhaps the biggest standout of all, however, was the command Fishman had of his splitter as 12 of his 17 splitters either led to swing and misses or were called strikes.
Fishman said an opening day effort like this is a big confidence boost leading into his next outing.
“It’s awesome to come out here in the first game and pitch well and get the win for you team,” said Fishman. “It’s important in this league to try and find a rhythm and I feel like today is the first step towards a success season.“
Meanwhile, first year head coach Jerry Weinstein said he though Fishman made good adjustments especially when he was in trouble.
“Jake hit his target pretty good did tonight and when he found himself in a jam he did a good job of mixing his speeds,” said Weinstein. We caught the ball behind him, got him the lead, and from then he took care of it.“
Shaver Shines: Catcher and cleanup hitter Colton Shaver out of Brigham Young University led the Gatemen offensively. After a scorching hot preseason, Shaver picked up right where he left off on opening day, going two-for-four with three RBI’s, a solo home run, and one run scored.
Shaver saw a steady diet of breaking balls over the course of his four at-bats, and routinely found himself down in the count before getting a pitch that he was able to handle.
In his first at-bat, with runners on second and third and one out, Shaver fell behind in the count 0-2 on back-to-back curveballs. Red Sox starter Will Gaddis went back to curveball for a fourth straight time, but on 1-2 Shaver was able to wait back and hit a ground ball to shortstop that brought in Joey Bartosic with the first run of the game.
Now, with the game tied at one in the top of the third, Shaver came to the plate with two on and two out looking to give the Gatemen the lead. Once again, Shaver got down in the count 0-2 on two straight breaking pitches. After laying off a high fastball and a curveball in the dirt, Shaver drilled a 1-2 breaking ball into left center field for an RBI single to put the Gatemen on top 2-1.
Shaver, however, held off on showing his power until his third at bat. With the Gatemen still clinging to a 2-1 lead, Shaver drilled a long solo shot on yet another curveball over the fence into the trees in left center field to give his team some insurance and a 3-1 lead.
Shaver said his eyes lit up when he saw that he was being thrown yet another breaking pitch.
“In that at bat he threw two straight curveballs I saw how both of them moved and I just missed both of them so as soon as I him flip up that third one I just lit up and got my barrel through it,” recalled Shaver.
Behind the plate Shaver also showed off his arm, picking off a runner at first from his knees.
Setting the Table: Out of the leadoff spot, the Gatemen got everything they could have asked for out of Joey Bartosic. The George Washington centerfielder went two-for-five with two runs scored and a stolen base.
Bartosic’s efforts helped set the stage for a middle of the order (Robbie Metz, Shaver, and Nick Buentello) that went a combined 7-for-11.