Unfortunately, there are no penalty kicks in baseball.
On Saturday night, the Gatemen found themselves tied with their opponent at the end of the contest for the second straight evening, as Wareham and Harwich finished their game knotted 3-3 through 12 innings of play at Whitehouse Field.
According to Cape Cod Baseball League rules, all games are required to stop after 12 innings of play regardless of the score.
All in all, however, one may consider Saturday night’s tie a win for Wareham (12-10-3) as with two outs and nobody on in the top of the 8th the Gatemen were trailing 3-0.
“We were getting killed 3-0, and that’s no exaggeration,” said Wareham head coach Jerry Weinstein.
To lead off the top of the 8th, Robbie Metz (George Washington) drilled a double off the fence in right field. Metz proceeded to move over to third on a passed ball, and on a second consecutive ball in the dirt, elected to try and break for the plate. The decision, however, proved to be ill advised, as Harwich catcher Nicholas Feight scooped up the ball which had only trickled a handful of feet away, and fired to pitcher Andrew Bain covering the plate for the first out of the inning.
The Gatemen refused to get down on themselves.
Nico Giarratano lined a two out single to right field, and after moving over to second on a wild pitch, came around to score on an RBI single by Austen Wade to bring the Gatemen back within 3-1.
Reliever Jake Matthys shut down the Mariners 1-2-3 in the bottom half of the eighth, keeping the score right where it stood and giving the Wareham offense a shot to get back in the game.
Colton Shaver reached on an error with one out, bringing the tying run to the plate. Two batters later, after Gavin Sheets grounded out, Joey Bart brought Wareham back within a run, roping a triple into centerfield.
Metz came up to the plate with the tying run on third and two men out, and immediately thought bunt.
“I saw the third baseman standing back, and I knew the pitcher (Zach Schellenger) may be a little un-athletic,” said Metz on his approach coming up to the plate in the top of the 9th.
Sure enough, on the first offering he saw from Schellenger, Metz laid down a bunt right to the right of the mound. Schellenger attempted to bare hand the bunt, but came up empty, allowing Bart to score and the Gatemen to tie the score at three.
“We compete, these guys don’t give up,” said Weinstein. “Metz had the option to bunt in that situation if the guy was back. He bunted, tied the ball game and it worked out pretty good.”
Wareham had an opportunity to take the lead moments later, as Metz stole second base. Schellenger, however, was able to strike out Jonathan Engelmann to end the threat.
In both inning number 10 and inning number 11 the Gatemen were able to put runners in scoring position but both times came up empty.
Brett Conine got the start for the Gatemen and overall proved to be more than adequate. The right-hander went five innings and surrendered just three earned runs on nine hits while displaying a solid overall off-speed repertoire highlighted by his change-up.
“Conine was exceptional,” praised Weinstein. “I thought he showed off a terrific changeup. For the second straight night I don’t think we pitched inside enough so that is something that we will need to work on.”
Wareham got behind 1-0 in the bottom of the first. Ernie Clement laced a one out single, advanced to second on a balk, and came home to score on a single by Joseph Dunand to put Harwich on top 1-0.
The Mariners upped their lead to 2-0 just two innings later, once again behind the hitting of Clement and Dunand. With two outs and nobody on, Clement hit a shallow fly ball to center. Gatemen centerfielder Joey Bartosic got a late read on the ball, taking two steps back before finally breaking in. By that point, however, it was too late. Bartosic dove hopelessly, as the ball bounced well in front of him and trickled by him, allowing Clement to slide in safely with a double.
On the next pitch, Dunand roped a double of his own into left centerfield, scoring Dunand and giving Harwich a 2-0 lead.
Harwich starter Patrick Naughton, meanwhile, kept the Gatemen bats quiet through seven innings. Over those seven innings Naughton did not allow a run, scattered just two hits, walked one, and struck out four. In total, Naughton threw 80 pitches, 54 of which were strikes
For their part, the Gatemen bullpen did its job to keep Wareham in the game. Robert Garcia and Matthys combined to throw seven innings of shutout baseball letting up just three hits in the process.