By SEAN TENAGLIA (Gatemen Beat Writer)
WAREHAM, MA: First, there was an hour and a half rain delay. Then, a rare fog delay in the top of the second inning stopped play for ten minutes. Sure, the rain threw off what fans hoped would be an exciting home opener at Spillane Field for their Wareham Gatemen (1-2), but I’m not sure the weather would have changed the team’s fortune against the Harwich Mariners.
After a Thursday night victory in Chatham that saw the Gatemen plate 13 runs on 17 hits, the bats went silent Saturday night, as Harwich cruised to a 7-0 victory. The Wareham lineup tallied only three hits, and six total base runners, in the home opener loss to the Mariners.
Harwich starter Zach Erwin (Clemson) was dominant over 5.0 innings of work, striking out five while only allowing three hits. The Gatemen had their best shot against Erwin in the first inning after second baseman Willie Calhoun (Arizona) singled up the middle and third baseman Andrew Knizner (NC State) walked on four pitches. However, Erwin was able to escape the jam, getting first baseman Nick Halamandaris (UC-Berkeley) to strike out swinging and designated hitter Kyri Washington (Longwood) to ground out to the pitcher.
Jacob Evans (Oklahoma) and Robby Kalaf (Florida International) combined to throw 4.0 innings of no-hit ball in relief for the Mariners. Wareham Head Coach Cooper Farris was frustrated with his team’s inability to string together hits in the ballgame.
“I think their pitchers overmatched us a little bit and our approaches weren’t really good,” Farris said. “Our approaches were really good in Chatham- we were getting the barrel over the middle of the plate- but we couldn’t catch up to these guys.
“I don’t know if the rain and fog got in our heads, but it didn’t get in theirs. We just have to make sure we do a better job with our approaches.”
Starting pitcher Brock Hartson (UT-San Antonio) showed no jitters in his first appearance for the Gatemen this summer, setting down the Mariners in order in the top of the first inning.
Hartson ran into trouble in the top of the second when Harwich catcher Anthony Hermelyn (Oklahoma) led off with a walk and third baseman Danny Zardon (LSU) doubled to the left-centerfield gap. A fielder’s choice from first baseman Sal Annunziata (Seton Hall) brought home Hermelyn and Zardon scored on an RBI infield single from centerfielder Kyle Barrett (Kentucky), giving the Mariners an early 2-0 lead.
The top of the fifth was starting to look like déjà vu for Hartson when Annunziata led off with a four-pitch walk and Barrett doubled down the left field line. However, the UT-San Antonio starter got second baseman Cavan Biggio (Notre Dame) to strike out swinging, left fielder Craig Aikin (Oklahoma) to fly out to left, and shortstop Matt Gonzalez (Georgia Tech) to ground out to third and escaped the inning unscathed.
Hartson finished the night with a respectable 5.0 innings pitched, allowing four hits and two runs, while striking out six Harwich batters. Catcher John Bormann, Hartson’s battery mate at UT-San Antonio, was impressed with his teammate’s outing.
“It was a piece of cake for me,” Bormann said. “He’s my roommate and my best friend, so we gel together really well. He shook me off a couple times, but he made really good pitches and did a great job.”
Bormann gave Gatemen fans something to cheer for in the sixth inning when he showcased his cannon of an arm- twice. First, he caught designated hitter Ian Happ (Cincinnati) stealing second with a laser of a throw. He then gunned down Zardon trying to take third on a pitch in the dirt to end the inning.
Right-hander Jason Harper (Franklin Pierce) came on in relief of Jesse Adams (Boston College) with two outs in the top of the seventh and caught a couple bad breaks. Aikin blooped an RBI single to left-centerfield that barely got under the glove of Jake Little (Memphis). Biggio then came around to score on a pass ball that got by Bormann (UT-San Antonio) behind the plate, giving Harwich a 4-0 lead.
The Mariners plated a few more insurance runs in the eighth off relief pitcher Willie Kuhl (Cal State Fullerton), who just joined the Gatemen a few days ago. Hermelyn scored on a sacrifice fly from right fielder Skye Bolt (North Carolina) and Aikin brought home two more runs on a single that bounced off the glove of a diving Willie Calhoun into centerfield, giving the Mariners a 7-0 lead that would hold to the end.
Farris said he did not think the weather affected the team’s performance and expected the Gatemen to be ready to go for their doubleheader Sunday at Yarmouth-Dennis.
“My philosophy is if you’re a baseball player, you’re a baseball player,” Farris said. “It doesn’t matter what the weather is, you just have to get out there and get after it. I don’t think we competed really well tonight.
“The big thing is they’re baseball players, and if they love to play the game, this type of thing doesn’t bother them. Nobody is going to feel sorry for us. We just have to do a better job of getting ready for the game.”
The doubleheader begins at 2 p.m. ET. Wareham’s performance in those two games may reveal a lot about the team’s resolve in the face of adversity.
As always, you can watch the live stream of the game by accessing our “Gatemen Pressbox” page. The pre-game show begins around 1:40 p.m. Like the Wareham Gatemen Baseball Facebook page and follow @WarehamGatemen for all the latest news on the team.
“Coop’s Scoop” Post Game Interview with Coach Farris
Gatemen Player of the Game John Bormann
Gatemen Broadcast Team Game Highlights