SEAN TENAGLIA (Gatemen Beat Writer)
COTUIT, MA: For the first time since July 7, the Gatemen scored more than three runs in a ballgame. They did so Friday night in Cotuit while also tallying only two total hits.
On a wild night that saw the Gatemen (12-24-1) plate five runs in an inning without recording a single hit, Wareham picked up a desperately needed 6-2 win over the Kettleers at Lowell Park. The Gatemen offense continued to struggle Friday night, but it capitalized on six Cotuit errors to string together runs and pull away from the Kettleers.
After three Wareham errors allowed Cotuit to grab a 2-1 lead after three innings, the Kettleers gave the game right back to the Gatemen after a five-error, five-run top of the sixth. Designated hitter Chris Chinea (LSU) drew a ten-pitch walk from Cotuit reliever Luke Leftwich (Wofford) to lead off the frame, and centerfielder Corey Ray (Louisville) reached on a fielding error by shortstop Logan Taylor (Texas A&M). Left fielder Kyri Washington (Longwood) bunted back to the mound, but Leftwich’s throw to third was wide, and Chinea came around to tie the game at 2-2.
Things went from bad to worse for the Kettleers after the Gatemen loaded the bases with one out. Catcher John Bormann (UT-San Antonio) hit a routine grounder to first that Jameson Fisher (Southeastern Louisiana) misplayed, and the Gatemen grabbed a 3-2 lead. A throwing error from third baseman Brendan Hendriks (San Francisco) brought home another run, and a sacrifice fly from Willie Calhoun (Arizona) increased the Wareham lead to 5-2. The Gatemen plated their final run of the inning when catcher Ian Rice’s (Chipola) throw to second base sailed into the outfield, allowing Bormann to cross the plate.
By the time the damage was done, five errors, two walks, and a sacrifice fly had given the Gatemen five runs and a 6-2 lead. Wareham Head Coach Cooper Farris acknowledged that both sides played sloppy defensively, but was pleased to see his team take advantage of Cotuit’s mistakes.
“That was the ugliest baseball game I’ve ever seen up here,” Farris said. “They didn’t execute defensively, and we didn’t either, but I thought we settled down after the fourth.
“It was just a mess all day. We were late getting here and it just looked like a mess. I’m glad we pulled it together though to pick up the win.”
The four-run cushion would be more than enough for Wareham pitcher Anthony Kay (Connecticut) who was dominant in his longest outing of the summer. After taking over for starter Drew Harrington (Louisville) in the second inning, Kay tossed the final 8.0 innings of the game, allowing just two hits and two runs while picking up five strikeouts. Farris was emphatic in his praise of Kay’s performance following the win.
“Anthony Kay was the story of this ballgame,” Farris said. “He got ahead in the count and threw strikes with all his pitches. That’s the longest he’s gone all summer.”
The three Wareham errors early in the ballgame allowed the Kettleers to put a couple runs on the board against Kay, but after the third inning, the Connecticut southpaw was lights-out on the mound. He retired the final 19 batters he faced in the ballgame, as the Kettleers failed to put a single runner on base in the final six innings. Kay attributed his strong outing to his ability to locate all of his pitches in the strike zone.
“I was really locating my changeup today,” Kay said. “I struggled with my curveball against lefties in the first two innings, but once I got them over, I was locked in.”
Despite their continued offensive struggles, the combination of Kay’s dominance and the five-run sixth inning helped the Gatemen to cruise to a much-needed win at Lowell Park. With the mathematical scenarios becoming less likely by the day, Farris is confident that his team can still make a playoff run if they remain focused on the task ahead of them.
“We’re still grinding and trying to win every game,” Farris said. “I told them before that we have to show our best over the next week.”
The Gatemen will need to keep rolling Saturday night when they welcome the red-hot Falmouth Commodores to Spillane Field (7 p.m. ET). A win on Saturday is imperative if the team has any shot of keeping pace with Hyannis for the final playoff spot in the Western Division.
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.