By SEAN TENAGLIA (Gatemen Beat Writer)
WAREHAM, MA: Ducks on the pond.
How can a phrase that conjures up an image of peace and innocence bring about such frustration? Well, in baseball lingo, “ducks on the pond” stands for runners on base. In the case of the Wareham Gatemen (1-5), the team stranded a total of nine ducks on the pond in their 8-4 loss to Hyannis at Spillane Field Tuesday night.
In the midst of their four-game losing streak, the Gatemen have failed to capitalize in run-scoring opportunities. Sunday, they left eight runners on base in game one of their afternoon doubleheader at Yarmouth-Dennis. The Gatemen got the bats going Tuesday night, racking up 11 hits, but were unable to convert enough opportunities to earn the win. Head Coach Cooper Farris was satisfied with his team’s offensive performance against the Harbor Hawks, but expressed his frustration at their inability to convert that output into runs.
“I thought we did a better job tonight,” Farris said. “We’ve been working hard on our swings. We had 11 hits and five strikeouts, which I’ll take every night, but again we left runners out there.
“We need guys to step up. It seems like the same guys are coming up with guys in scoring position and not getting the job done. Each one of them has to take responsibility for himself. Hopefully, they’ll keep working and we’ll see what happens.”
The Gatemen did get some two-out hitting in the bottom of the second inning, as left fielder Charlie Warren (Rice) singled down the left field line. Second baseman Kramer Robertson (LSU) then blooped a broken-bat single to centerfield and Warren came around to score Wareham’s first run of the game on a Hyannis throwing error.
Wareham tied the score 2-2 in the bottom of the third when designated hitter Willie Calhoun (Arizona) crushed a double that one-hopped the right-centerfield fence, scoring shortstop Blake Lacey (USC).
Despite battling an illness, Calhoun had yet another impressive night at the plate for the Gatemen, hitting 3-5 with two doubles and an RBI. Calhoun’s second double of the evening led off the bottom of the seventh and missed clearing the right field wall by inches. The Arizona infielder is now hitting .391 with five doubles and three RBIs through six games this summer. Farris was impressed with Calhoun’s offensive prowess in the young season.
“Willie is a guy who understands hitting,” Farris said. “He’s been hitting to spots and just understands what he’s doing. He doesn’t miss many pitches. Even his outs are loud. I just hope he keeps doing what he’s been doing. Maybe some of these guys can learn from what he’s doing.”
Center fielder Jake Little (Memphis) showcased the pop in his bat in the bottom of the fifth, crushing a pitch from Hyannis starter Tate Scioneaux (Southeastern Louisiana) over the left field wall for his second home run of the summer to cut to deficit to 6-3. However, that was as close as the Gatemen would get, as missed opportunities would be the story of the night.
Wareham brought the tying run to the plate with one out in the fifth, but Scioneaux retired first baseman Nick Halamandaris (UC-Berkeley) and right fielder Anderson Miller (Western Kentucky) to escape unharmed.
Again, in the bottom of the sixth, trailing by three runs, the Gatemen had runners at first and second with one out. This time, Hyannis reliever Lance Thonvold (Minnesota) worked his magic to retire the side without any damage.
Wareham starting pitcher Nick Fuller (UMass-Dartmouth) struggled out of the gate, getting into some trouble early in the ballgame. The first three batters Fuller faced in the top half of the first all reached base, as Hyannis jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead. The Acushnet, MA native settled down for a couple innings, but gave up a home run to Hyannis left fielder Daniel Kihle (Wichita State) in the fourth inning that gave the Harbor Hawks a 3-2 lead.
With two outs in the fifth inning, things were looking good for Fuller. However, a single from first baseman Bobby Melley (UConn) and a walk to designated hitter Donnie Dewees Jr. (North Florida) ended Fuller’s night. Right-hander Liam O’Sullivan (Saint Leo) came on in relief of Fuller and allowed back-to-back hits, as the Harbor Hawks jumped out to a 6-2 lead. That proved to be all the offense Hyannis would need to close out the ballgame.
The Gatemen threatened reliever Thonvold over the final four innings, but never cut the deficit any closer than three runs. While an inability to score certainly hurt the Gatemen, Farris also acknowledged that the team’s pitching needs to improve.
“We just left too many balls over the middle of the plate,” Farris said. “We gave up two home runs tonight. We answer, we tie the score, and then we give it away. It’s just one of those things where we have to get better. At some point, someone needs to step up and say that’s enough. I can’t do it for them. We’ll see what happens as we go forward.”
The Gatemen will have an opportunity to end their four-game losing streak when the Falmouth Commodores come into Spillane Field for a 7 p.m. matchup Wednesday.
As always, you can watch the live stream of the game by accessing our “Gatemen Pressbox” page. The pre-game show begins around 6:40 p.m. Like the Wareham Gatemen Baseball Facebook page and follow @WarehamGatemen for all the latest news on the team.