WAREHAM, MA: In Game One of the Western Division Finals, it looked as if the Braves were about to snap the Gatemen’s six-game winning streak. Bourne held a 3-2 edge in the 8th inning, but Wareham scored three runs highlighted by a Tyler Horan (Virginia Tech) 2 RBI single and the Gatemen won their 7th straight and continue to roll in the 2012 Cape League Playoffs.
The Gatemen struck first in the bottom of the 4th inning with a leadoff double from Kyle Schwarber (Indiana). Horan was then hit by a pitch from Justin Jones (Cal-Berkley) and the very next batter Daniel Palka (Georgia Tech) hit Schwarber in with an RBI single. Mott Hyde (Georgia Tech) then pushed a grounder out towards 1st base, and what looked to be a sure out scored Horan because Bourne did not have a play nor anyone covering a bag.
After four, the Gatemen seemed to be cruising clinging to the 2-0 lead.
Wareham started Brad Kuntz (Baylor) looked solid through 5 innings, allowing just 4 hits in a scoreless ball game. However, the 6th inning was a different story for Kuntz. He allowed the first two runners to single, then struck out the next two. With two outs, Joe Jackson (The Citadel) hit a groundball to Mott Hyde up the middle which he errantly flipped to second base scoring the lead runner. Hyde was charged with the error and the Braves cut the Gatemen’s lead in half.
Connor David (UCONN) was the next batter, and he hit a deep fly ball to left field that was misplayed by Schwarber. An error was charged to him and two more runs came home to score giving the Braves a 3-2 advantage.
Kuntz struck out the next batter up and ended his night going six innings and striking out five.
After a scoreless 7th, Wareham stepped up in the bottom of the 8th against Bourne relief ace Timothy Giel (Columbia). Giel already sat down the Wareham batters in order in the 7th, and looked to be cruising. However, he allowed a leadoff single to Ethan Gross (Memphis), a falling pop-up bunt to Cole Sturgeon (Louisville), and then a beautiful push bunt by Ryan Sullivan (Seton Hall). That sequence of events loaded the bases for Schwarber who hit a sacrifice fly to tie up the ball game at three runs apiece.
With the runners advancing to second and third and the infield in, Gatemen slugger Tyler Horan stepped up and ripped a single into the hole on the right hand side to score the two runners. There, Wareham took a decisive 5-3 lead over Bourne.
Arkansas righty Colby Suggs then struck out the Braves 7-8-9 batters in order in the 9th to get the save and preserve the Gatemen’s 7th win in a row dating back to the regular season.
After sweeping Falmouth in the Western Division Semi-finals, Wareham has now won three straight playoff games and can move on to its first Cape Cod Baseball League Championship Series since 2006. That year, they lost to Yarmouth-Dennis 2-0.
First pitch tomorrow night in Bourne at Doran Park is at 8 PM. See the special post on our homepage for parking details. With a win the Gatemen will advance to the Championship. If they lose, a decisive Game Three will be on Wednesday at Spillane Field at 7 PM.