By SEAN TENAGLIA (Gatemen Beat Writer)
HARWICH, MA: The Wareham Gatemen had a man on base in seven out of nine innings Tuesday night at Whitehouse Field in Harwich. In what has become a recurring problem for Head Coach Cooper Farris and his team, the Gatemen (4-9) were unable to string together base hits and bring in runs as they fell 4-1 to the Eastern Division-leading Mariners.
“We just need to do a better job of competing in our at-bats,” Farris said. “We knew what was coming, and we still couldn’t do anything with it. We had a bunch of strikeouts with runners on base. Somebody has to step up and do something, and we just aren’t getting the big hit right now.”
In the top of the first inning, designated hitter Keaton Aldridge (Memphis) singled up the middle. Centerfielder Jake Little (Memphis) then walked to put two men on base with one out. Harwich starting pitcher Michael Boyle (Radford) buckled down and got third baseman Danny Rosenbaum (Louisville) to ground out to first and right fielder Corey Ray (Louisville) to strike out swinging to end the inning.
Boyle, who came into the game with a 0.00 ERA in 6.0 innings of the work for the Mariners, continued to dominate on the mound against the Gatemen. He faced 14 Wareham batters between the second and fifth innings, just two more than the minimum a pitcher must face in such a span.
Wareham’s best chance to put together an offensive surge occurred in the top of the sixth, after Little reached base on an error by shortstop Angelo Amendolare (Jacksonville) and promptly stole second base with one out. Newcomer Rosenbaum drilled a 1-2 pitch from Boyle to deep centerfield that hopped over the fence for a ground-rule double and gave the Gatemen their first run. Rosenbaum batted cleanup in his first game of the summer for the Gatemen and was glad to make an immediate impact in the lineup.
“I haven’t hit cleanup in a couple of years,” Rosenbaum said. “I was excited the coaches trusted me to put me in the middle of the lineup.
“I was just trying to stick to my approach and I knew that he was trying to throw me a lot of changeups. At that point, I was just trying to sit on an off-speed pitch and I got one and put the barrel to the ball.”
The one run was all the Gatemen would get, however, after Harwich reliever Jacob Evans (Oklahoma) got Ray and catcher Chris Chinea (LSU) to ground out to escape further damage.
The Harwich lineup converted run-scoring opportunities in key spots to give Boyle and Evans all the support they would need to hold off the Gatemen. In the top of the first, the Mariners had runners at second and third with two outs. Wareham starter Ryan Olson (San Diego) fell behind 2-0 in the count to catcher Matt Winn (VMI), who then delivered with a two-out, two-run single up the middle to give Harwich a 2-0 lead.
Olson worked around a couple jams early in the game, but was unable to provide the Gatemen with the long outing they have desperately been searching for from their starting rotation. In 3.2 innings, he allowed six hits and two runs, while striking out six batters, but a pitch count of 68 chased him early from the game.
The Wareham bullpen performed admirably to keep the Gatemen in the game, but with the offense struggling to bring across runs, it simply would not be enough to earn a win. The Mariners added a run in the sixth to increase their lead to 3-1 after third baseman Matt Gonzalez (Georgia Tech) drove in Amendolare with a two-out RBI double. A solo home run from designated hitter Sal Annunziata (Seton Hall) off reliever Andrew Zapata (Connecticut) put the score at 4-1 in the bottom of the seventh.
Kyri Washington (Longwood) continued his hitting streak with a pinch-hit double down the left field line in the top of the eighth. Washington is now 3-3 in his last three pinch-hit at-bats. The Longwood outfielder was left at second base as Evans struck out Little and Rosenbaum to end the inning.
Now 13 games into the summer season, the Gatemen have only had a handful of “big” offensive innings, most of them occurring in their four victories. While one inning certainly does not win a ballgame, it can go a long way toward turning around a struggling offense. The Gatemen will have a chance to turn things around and string together some “big” innings Wednesday at Spillane Field when they welcome the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox (7 p.m. ET).
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.
“Coop’s Scoop” Post Game Interview with Coach Farris
Gatemen Player of the Game Danny Rosenbaum
Gatemen Broadcast Team Game Highlights