HYANNIS, MA: It was an uncharacteristic day game, and it was an equally uncharacteristic offensive explosion.
Wareham set season-highs in runs and hits with 12 and 18, respectively, and defeated Hyannis, 12-7, in a matinee make-up game at McKeon Park on Monday afternoon. Every Wareham hitter who came to the plate got a hit. Second baseman Brett Pirtle (Mississippi State), shortstop Ethan Gross (Memphis) and first baseman Danny Rosenbaum (Louisville) each had three base hits. Pirtle scored three times and drove in two more runs, while Rosenbaum and third baseman Willie Schwanke (Arkansas) each scored once and tallied three RBIs apiece.
Wareham came into the game last in the league in runs with 45 through the first 21 games. Hyannis, meanwhile, had the best record in the Western Division at 13-6. But the Gatemen jumped out early with three runs in the top of the first and two more in the second to claim an early five-run advantage. It was the first time all summer Wareham scored in each of the first two innings.
Center fielder Cole Sturgeon (Louisville) led off the game with a single. Pirtle followed with an infield single of his own. With one out in the opening frame, Schwanke smacked an RBI single to the opposite field to score Sturgeon. Two batters later Gross ripped another run-scoring single and Rosenbaum followed suit to put the Gatemen on top early.
The next inning, Pirtle singled up the middle and designated hitter Tino Lipson (UC-Davis) roped a double to the left-field corner. Schwanke, the cleanup hitter, then drove both of his teammates home with a two-run single.
Wareham needed all the runs it could get, however, as Hyannis tallied 15 hits of its own and put seven runs on the board. After Gatemen starting pitcher Kurt McCune (LSU) tossed a 1-2-3 first inning, the right-hander ran into some trouble in the second. Leadoff batter Austin Slater (Stanford) lined a two-strike single to left field. Two batters later, first baseman Jeff Schalk (UAB) launched a mammoth two-run home run to right-center field to cut the Wareham advantage to 5-2.
The very next pitch, second baseman Steve Wilkerson (Clemson) dragged a nifty bunt single to the right side of the infield. Designated hitter Ryan Padilla then matched Schalk with a two-run round tripper of his own to right-center to trim the margin to 5-4. McCune then got the next two outs to work out of the inning.
Wareham kept rolling offensively in the third and added another when Gross crossed the plate on an RBI groundout by left fielder Adam Toth (Baylor).
McCune found more trouble in the fourth inning and surrendered another run, but left-handed workhorse Ryan Riga (Ohio State) came on in relief and induced a 4-6-3 double play to mitigate the damage.
In the fifth inning with Wareham holding a slim 6-5 lead, the Gatemen bats exploded again. Wareham sent all nine men to the plate and posted six more runs. Coming into Monday, Wareham’s season-high in runs was six. Rosenbaum knocked in two with a single and came around to score on a flair single to shallow left-center by Toth. Sturgeon then doubled and Pirtle drove home two more with a single.
Hyannis threatened with a pair of scores in the bottom of the seventh to cut the lead to 12-7, and the Harbor Hawks loaded the bases in the ninth inning, but the relief work of Riga, Dillon Ortman (Auburn), Spencer Turnbull (Alabama) and Bradley Roney (Southern Mississippi) was strong enough for the Gatemen to prevail.
With the victory, Wareham improves to 5-17 and Hyannis falls to 13-7. The Gatemen will be back in action Tuesday night when they take on Cotuit at Lowell Park. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m.
As always, you can watch the live stream of the game by accessing our “Gatemen Pressbox” page. The pre-game show begins around 4:45 p.m.