With just one day to go before the Cape Cod Baseball League All-Star game, Gatemen second baseman Robbie Metz made sure to prove his worth.
Behind four hits from Metz – including a two-run home run – and 14 hits in total from their offense, the Gatemen (18-14-3) jumped out to a 3-1 lead and never looked back, going on to defeat the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox, 13-9, in eight innings on a humid Friday night at Spillane Field.
The game was called in the bottom of the eighth inning due to lightening, and was additionally delayed over an hour in the middle of the seventh due to threatening weather conditions.
Wareham coach Jerry Weinstein said the Gatemen executed offensively as well as they have all season.
“We were really good in all phases of the game offensively,” said Weinstein. “We swung the bat well, we laid down a couple bunts when we had to, and we ran the bases well. We executed, and that above all is what was most important.”
For the first time since 2012, the Gatemen are currently on a five game winning streak, solidifying their second place standing in the Western Division.
“We have good players that continue to play well and that’s the bottom line,” said Weinstein. “We compete, they play right, do the job. We have a great group of competitors and it’s showing.”
The Gatemen offense exploded for the second straight night, getting on top of the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox early and often.
After the Red Sox took a 1-0 advantage in the top of the first on a solo home run courtesy of Will Toffey, the Gatemen responded with three of their own just one half inning later.
Joey Bartosic and Metz each reached on singles to begin the inning, and an error by Red Sox shortstop Korby Batesole loaded the bases with nobody out.
Gatemen cleanup Gavin Sheets came to the plate, and capitalized on a first pitch meatball slider, lining it off the wall in right field, scoring Bartosic and Metz to give Wareham a 2-1 lead.
Heading into the bottom half of the second, the Gatemen carried a 3-1 lead, when for the first time this year, Metz showcased some of that power he possessed back at George Washington.
In his first at-bat as a member of the Gatemen, Ezequiel Sanchez grounded a single through the shortstop hole.
Two batters later, Metz stepped up to the plate and got ahead in the count, 2-0. On 2-0, Metz got a slider right over the heart of the plate and drilled it, into the visitor’s bullpen in left field for a two run home run – his first of the year – to give Wareham a 5-1 lead.
Metz said he noticed Red Sox starter Eric Uelmen’s tendency to throw a breaking ball when down in the count.
“When (Uelmen) was behind in counts he would turn to his off-speed pitches and I got ahead there,” recalled Metz. “He threw up a slider and I put a good swing on it. I did not think it was out, more of a line drive, but I’ll take it.”
As the game turned to the top half of the fifth, Wareham starter Brett Conine was cruising, having surrendered just two runs on three hits through four innings work.
Staked out to a 6-2 lead, Conine seemed like he was well on his way to an easy victory, but within the blink of an eye he saw the Yarmouth-Dennis crawl back to within just one run.
The Red Sox put together a two out rally, as J.J. Muno singled to left, Toffey worked a walk, and Deon Stafford Jr doubled off the right field wall to cut the Gatemem lead to 6-4.
Conine proceeded to get ahead of next hitter Dillon Persinger, 1-2, but Persinger was able to smack a slider over the head of Wareham center fielder Joey Bartosic for an RBI double to bring the Red Sox to within one, 6-5, after four and a half innings.
On the mound, however, the Red Sox pitching staff proved incapable of stopping the bleeding,
Gavin Sheets knocked a leadoff double the other way off of Red Sox reliever Pat Vanderslice to begin the bottom of the fifth.
Two batters later, with runners on the corners and nobody out, Dominic Miroglio picked up his first hit as a member of the Gatemen blooping a single into centerfield that scored Sheets and gave the Gatemen back their two run lead.
Wareham’s offense was far from finished.
Nico Giarratano laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move Shaver and Mirolgio into scoring position. After Preston Grand Pre knocked in Shaver via an infield single, Sanchez picked up his first RBI as a member of the Gatemen, launching a sacrifice fly to centerfield to put Wareham on top, 9-5.
Weinstein said Sanchez was nothing short of spark plug for Wareham’s offense on Friday.
“We did not know what to expect from Sanchez,” said Weinstein. “He was a catalyst for us tonight and he is going to be big for us in our plans going forwad.”
Finally, Joey Bartosic capped off the four run outburst, lofting a single into shallow center, bringing home Grand Pre and giving the Gatemen a comfortable 10-5 advantage after five innings of work.