The Wareham Gatemen clinched their first playoff berth since 2012 tonight with a balanced attack, as solid pitching and solid offense led them over the Cotuit Kettleers, 7-4.
The Gatemen got an electric outing by Ian Hamilton in their biggest game of the season, as Hamilton showcased a blazing fastball, which at times was too much for the Kettleers to catch up to.
Only on one instance did a Kettleer square up a Hamilton fastball, and that was Tim Susnara, who homered in the second inning, giving Cotuit a brief 1-0 lead. After the longball, Hamilton buckled down, striking out seven through five innings of work.
Despite the final score, Wareham’s offense didn’t heat up right away, as it pushed across just two runs in the first five innings.
One run scored on a David MacKinnon single, and the other scored on a broken bat single by Connor Beck, which gave Wareham the lead for good.
The Gatemen offense put the game out of reach in the sixth inning, scoring five times as all the bats came to life at once. Connor Beck was in the middle of things again, as he hit a ground ball to third base with the bases loaded. Cotuit’s third baseman tried to barehand flip the ball to the plate and cut down the runner attempting to score from third, but he couldn’t pick it up and everyone was safe. A batter later, Preston Grand Pre hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Andrew Knizner and giving the Gatemen some breathing room.
Kramer Robertson broke the game wide open when his turn came. After a runner scored from third on a wild pitch, Robertson proceeded to drive a long triple into the left center field gap, clearing the bases and putting his team up 7-1.
Evan Hill relieved Hamilton to begin the sixth inning, and had baserunners consistently on board. And he ended up paying the price when he yielded a three-run homer to Brandon Berry in the seventh.
Hill got outs when he needed them, though, stranding three men on base during his four innings of work. Hill was markedly better as the night went on, as he recorded a quick and easy eighth inning and then came out strong in the ninth for the save.
The Gatemen, with the win, clinch the three seed in the CCBL playoffs, with the first game being tomorrow night at Bourne at 6 pm ET.