The Wareham Gatemen lost in heartbreak fashion Monday night, yielding two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to fall to the Harwich Mariners, 3-2.
With a 2-1 lead going into the inning, Gatemen right-handed relief pitcher Zac Houston (Mississippi State) quickly allowed two singles to Harwich centerfielder Adam Pate and shortstop Johnny Adams.
Houston was pulled and Gatemen closer Shea Spitzbarth (Molloy College) was called upon to strand the two inherited runners and preserve the one-run lead.
Three straight curveballs down the heart of the plate proved costly, however, as Harwich third baseman Sheldon Neuse sat on the 0-2 offering and laced his second RBI single of the evening.
On the play, Gatemen centerfielder Andrew Calica’s noble attempt came up short, as he fumbled the ball off the heel of his glove while attempting to make a diving catch and rob Neuse of the hit. Wareham right fielder Connor Beck executed the throw into the infield, but a missed cutoff man allowed Adams to score from first.
In the span of one play and about 15 seconds, the Gatemen had gone from a one-run lead to a one-run deficit. The loss drops the Gatemen to 11-11-1 and propels the Mariners to 11-11-1 on the season.
Wareham right hander Ian Hamilton (a closer at Washington State) received the starting nod, and departed in line for the win after 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball.
In the fourth, the Gatemen struck for a run on a pair of hits, the dagger being an RBI double from shortstop Mark Karaviotis (Oregon) that snapped a 25-inning scoreless streak for the Wareham offense.
The Gatemen tacked on another run in the fifth to make the score 2-0 thanks to an RBI single from Calica.
The one Harwich run (before the two-run eighth) was charged to the line of Hamilton and came on Neuse’s first RBI single of the game.
Wareham continues its four-game road trip Tuesday when it travels to Cotuit to take on the Kettleers at 5 ET. The Gatemen probable is lefty Ben Parr, who will be making his first start of the season, while Cotuit trots out Jon Woodcock, a left-hander who went six innings of one-run and one-hit ball last time he faced the Gatemen.