Gunner Leger is making the most of his time with the Gatemen.
For his second straight outing on Wednesday night, Leger – out of Louisiana Lafayette – impressed tossing three innings of shutout baseball while striking out six in that span and not allowing a hit. His efforts, however, were all for not as Hyannis (4-7) scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth and the Harbor Hawks staff made it hold up en route to a 3-1 win over Wareham (6-5) at McKeon Field in Hyannis.
The most eye-popping part of Leger’s performance was the command he displayed of his off-speed pitches. In all, 14 of the 41 pitches Leger threw were off-speed, and of those 14, 11 were strikes.
Leger showcased four different pitches on Wednesday night – a fastball, curveball, changeup, and slider – and of them all there is no question his changeup stood out amongst the rest. Leger attained four of his six strikeouts via his changeup, as well as a couple weak groundball outs.
Even when the Harbor Hawks were able to get a base runner off of Leger via a sun-aided error by Trevor Ezell, he was immediately picked off by the Ragin’ Cajuns left-hander.
Gatemen Coach Jerry Weinstein said he was pretty impressed with his staff tonight overall.
“(Leger’s) off-speed stuff was sensational,” said Weinstein. “He is a special talent. All three of our guys (Leger, Zachary Pop, and Casey Mize) were pretty good tonight.”
Wareham grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth. Trevor Ezell worked a walk, Gavin Sheets singled to center, and Alex Destino drove home Ezell with a single of his own back through the box to put the Gatemen on top 1-0.
The Harbor Hawks quickly seized the momentum back on their side.
Zachary Pop (Kentucky) came on in relief of Leger in the bottom half of the fourth and the Harbor Hawks pounced. Trey Truitt led off the inning with a single to left, and Ford Proctor followed that up with a single of his own, putting two men on with nobody out. After a fly ball moved Truitt over to third base, Jordan Rodgers tied the score at one with an infield hit to shortstop.
Hyannis was far from done. Moments later, Carl Stajdhuar gave the Harbor Hawks the lead with a single to left field. Wareham left fielder Alex Destino made a strong throw home that appeared to be in time to get the runner – Proctor – but catcher K.J. Harrison’s tag was just late, allowing Proctor to score and put Hyannis on top 2-1.
Finally, Cody Henry capped off the three run bottom of the fourth knocking in Rodgers with an RBI groundout to shortstop.
That was more than enough for the Hyannis staff who gave up just two hits over the final five innings of play, both courtesy of Destino, to preserve the 3-1 win.
Weinstein said the Gatemen hitters are not being aggressive enough on some of the more hittable pitchers they are seeing.
“We are not hitting the fastball as well as we need to,” said Weinstein. “As a result we are going to take some extra (batting practice) tomorrow, work on hitting the fastball, and work on a few other things as well.”