Nico Giarratano’s fist pump as he slid into home in the bottom of the eighth said it all – the Gatemen were back in the win column.
Behind Harrison Wenson’s game winning hit in the eighth that scored Giarratano, and seven combined innings of one run ball out of Ethan Small and Ryan Wilson, Wareham knocked off Hyannis 5-4 on Saturday night Spillane Field.
It’s the first win for Wareham (7-6-1) against the Harbor Hawks this season.
Gatemen coach Jerry Weinstein said that Small’s efforts out of the bullpen were the difference in the game.
“That is a good a pitching performance as we have had all summer,” said Weinstein. “(Small) was aggressive, he attacked the zone. Very impressive.”
With the game tied at four in the bottom of the eighth, Colton Shaver led off the inning with a base hit to right field. Nico Giarratano came on as a pinch runner, and with one out stole second base. Two batters later, Harrison Wenson came to the dish riding a 1-for-12 skid.
Wenson’s second hit became more than memorable.
On 1-1, Wenson sent an outside fastball up the middle and into center field. Giarratano came sprinting around from third, sliding into home just ahead of Chris Cullen’s throw to put Wareham on top 5-4
In the top of the ninth, Wilson worked around a two out a walk to pick up his second save of the year.
“That’s a huge base winning RBI from Harrison (Wenson),” said Weinstein. “His numbers are not great but he has not been hitting the ball well. He has been dealing with a sore thumb and then got hit there again tonight.”
Small came into the game in the top half of the third inning with the Gatemen tied 3-3, and proceeded to toss four innings of shutout baseball. Over those four innings, Small scattered just four hits, did not walk a batter and struck out four.
To put it lightly, Small’s command was terrific. In total he threw 46 pitches, 38 of which were strikes. Small fastball stood out, as 35 of the 40 he threw were in the zone.
His work on the mound allowed the Gatemen to remain in the game, and in the bottom of the fifth, the Gatemen offense picked up the reliever out of Mississippi State by taking a 4-3 lead.
Joey Bartosic and Cole Freeman began the inning with back-to-back singles. Hyannis pitcher Charles Barnes, however, induced a 4-6-3 double play off the bat of Alex Destino to put him on the verge of getting out of the inning without any damage.
Shaver made sure the golden opportunity did not go by the board. On 2-1, Shaver roped an RBI double down the right field, bringing in Bartosic and putting the Gatemen on top 4-3.
As the game turned to the final three innings, Small’s day on the mound was done, and in came Ryan Wilson out of Pepperdine to close it out.
Wilson tossed a 1-2-3 top of the seventh, and proceeded to retire the first two outs in the top of the eighth inning.
All of a sudden though, with two out and nobody on, trouble struck the Gatemen.
Hyannis’ Jordan Rodgers hit a high fly ball to right field. Immediately, Gatemen Jonathan Engelmann right fielder appeared to lose the ball in the lights. Second baseman Cole Freeman made a last minute attempt to try and camp underneath the fly ball, but it was to no avail. The ball dropped in between Freeman and Engelmann allowing Rodgers to get all the way to third with two men down.
Harbor Hawks cleanup five hitter Dave Busby made the Gatemen pay for the miscue just minutes later, as he laced a game tying double into the left-center gap tying the score at four.
A walk to Cody Henry put runners on first and second with two outs, giving Hyannis not only an opportunity to leave the half inning even, but put them in front.
Former Gatemen Brett Netzer came to the plate. Netzer fell behind in the count 1-2, but on the following offering he served a fastball down the left field line that seemed bound for extra bases.
Alex Destino had other ideas, as he laid out full extension, saving two runs and keeping the score knotted at four.