By SEAN TENAGLIA (Gatemen Beat Writer)
WAREHAM, MA: That’s just baseball. Some days you put up nine runs in a game, and the next day you get shutout. It’s a funny game like that.”
Unfortunately for Drew Harrington and the Wareham Gatemen, Tuesday night’s ballgame was the latter. The Louisville southpaw was excellent on the mound in his third start for the Gatemen (7-17) this summer, but the offense was unable to muster any runs in a 2-0-shutout loss to the Brewster Whitecaps.
Harrington and Brewster starting pitcher Cody Ponce (Cal Poly Pomona) participated in a textbook pitchers’ duel at Spillane Field, trading quick and efficient innings throughout the ballgame. The game remained scoreless through the first four innings before the Whitecaps finally broke through in the top of the fifth. With two outs in the frame, left fielder Zach Gibbons (Arizona) reached base on a walk and promptly stole second base to put himself in scoring position. That steal proved costly for the Gatemen, as Gibbons would come around to score on an RBI single up the middle from centerfielder Bradon Bishop (Washington) to give Brewster a 1-0 lead.
In his final inning of work, Harrington set down the Whitecaps in order in the top of the sixth. The Louisville southpaw gave the Gatemen one of their strongest outings of the season, as he allowed only four hits and one run while striking out five batters in 6.0 innings.
“I was just trying to do what I could do and not try to overthrow the ball,” Harrington said. “I just tried to stay within myself and throw the ball over the plate. I’ve been working on different things and trying to get better every day.”
Wareham Head Coach Cooper Farris expressed his satisfaction with Harrington’s excellent start on Tuesday night.
“I was proud of Drew,” Farris said. “He pitched well and I just wish we could have helped him out.”
Unfortunately, Harrington’s fantastic outing was matched by an equally impressive start from Brewster’s Ponce. In 6.0 shutout innings of work, Ponce also only allowed four hits and struck out a pair of Gatemen batters.
Despite only combining for six total hits, the Gatemen did have multiple opportunities to cash in runs against the Whitecaps. They left runners in scoring position in seven out of nine innings and a total of 10 on base for the game. Trailing 1-0, the Gatemen left the tying run ninety feet away in both the fifth and sixth innings.
Reliever Scott Effross (Indiana) came on for Harrington in the top of the seventh and quickly retired the first two batters he faced. A two-out triple to the centerfield wall from second baseman John Sansone (Florida State) and an RBI single up the middle from catcher Luke Lowery (East Carolina) gave the Whitecaps a big insurance run to increase their lead to 2-0.
In the bottom of the seventh, Wareham centerfielder Charlie Warren (Rice) found himself at third base with one out after stealing second base and advancing on a throwing error by Lowery. Brewster reliever Joe McCarthy (Southern New Hampshire) got shortstop Errol Robinson (Mississippi) and designated hitter Willie Calhoun (Arizona) to strike out swinging to strand Warren at third.
The Gatemen had runners at first and second with two outs in the bottom of the eighth with right fielder Anderson Miller (Western Kentucky) representing the go-ahead run in the batter’s box. Brewster reliever Pat Ruotolo (Connecticut) caught Miller looking at strike three to end the inning, and would go on to pick up the save after shutting down the Gatemen in the ninth.
Both Warren and first baseman Nick Halamandaris (UC-Berkeley) were 2-4 at the plate, but the Gatemen were unable to capitalize throughout the night to convert their base runners into runs. Farris very succinctly summed up his team’s performance following the game.
“We only made two bad pitches the entire game and there it is,” Farris said. “The effort was there, we just didn’t get a clutch hit.”
The Gatemen have now lost three games in a row, and are in danger of falling out of playoff contention if they do not string together wins in the coming games. They will have an opportunity to get back on track Wednesday night when they travel to Chatham to take on the Anglers (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.