WAREHAM, MA. For the second straight night, the Gatemen found themselves in a back-and-forth contest into the late innings, but this time Wareham was able to pull out the win, defeating Falmouth 6-5 and clinching a playoff berth in front of 1,352 at Spillane Field.
Falmouth (16-22-2) scored first, as Brian Fletcher (Auburn) doubled home Scott Lawson (Miami) to put the Commodores on the board, up 1-0 after one half inning. The Commodores tacked on two more runs in the top of the second, as John Nester (Clemson) and Ryan Jones (Wichita State) led off with singles, putting runners on the corners with no outs. Josh Adams (Florida) laid down a squeeze bunt, bringing Nester home to put Falmouth up 2-0.
Jones stole third and came around to score as Rob Kral’s (College of Charleston) throw to the bag sailed into left field, staking Falmouth to a 3-0 advantage. Not only did Wareham (19-17-6) make up those runs in the next half inning, they did it without recording a single out.
George Springer (Connecticut) walked to lead off the inning and came all the way around from first to score on a double from the newly added catcher Kral. With Kral on second, Zach Wilson (Arizona State) was hit by a pitch, and Alex Dickerson (Indiana) hit a three-run blast to right. Dickerson’s third home run of the season tied him for the team lead and put Wareham on top 4-3. Falmouth tied the game off of Scott Rembisz (Florida International) in the fourth as Lawson reached on a one-out walk and was moved to second when Fletcher was plunked. Hunter Morris (Auburn) singled home Lawson, knotting the game at 4-4.
Morris did more damage three innings later, lofting a solo home run over the right field fence off of Matt Barnes (Connecticut), giving Falmouth a 5-4 lead. Outside of the home run, Barnes retired the other nine batters he faced in the fifth, sixth, and seventh. The Gatemen had the response one more time, as Ryan LaMarre (Michigan) and Springer drew back-to-back walks with two outs, and Kral delivered the big hit – a two-run double that scored both runners and put the Gatemen on top 6-5.
Dean Kiekhefer (Louisville) earned the save by pitching a scoreless ninth, becoming the first Wareham pitcher to earn two saves on the season. With the win and the Brewster (16-20-4) loss at Yarmouth-Dennis, Wareham is assured of making the 2009 playoffs after finishing in last place in the division each of the last two seasons. Bourne (21-17-2) and Cotuit (20-17-5) also clinched playoff berths on Sunday, and Cotuit remains one point ahead of Bourne and Wareham for first place.
Bourne has a definite advantage over Cotuit and Wareham, as the Braves will play two games on Monday against Brewster while the Kettleers and Gatemen are idle. Each team will play a game on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Wareham returns to the playoffs for the first time since 2006 when the Gatemen played in the Championship Series and lost in a deciding game 3 to Yarmouth-Dennis. This year will mark Wareham’s 20th time in the CCBL playoffs since 1976; including a league record 13 consecutive playoff appearances from 1990 to 2002. The Gatemen won have won the champtionship 6 times; including back-to-back titles in 2001 and 2002.
It was also announced Sunday by the Wareham organization that the Gatemen broadcast team of Alex Perlman and Kevin Copp will return to the road for just the second time this season with coverage of Wareham’s next game, at Falmouth Tuesday at 7:00 p.m.