Within the blink of an eye, Ryan Selmer has turned into one of the Gatemen’s top bullpen arms.
In the top half of the sixth inning, with the Gatemen trailing 5-4, Chatham loaded the bases with one out. Out of the dugout came Wareham coach Jerry Weinstein, summoning to the bullpen and calling on Selmer. Selmer, a right-hander out of Maryland, came on and immediately induced a 6-6-3 double play to escape trouble before ultimately going on to toss 3.2 innings of shutout baseball.
At the plate, meanwhile, Wareham rallied to combine for four runs in the bottom of the sixth and eighth innings as the Gatemen defeated Chatham, 8-5, on Thursday night at Spillane Field.
The win is Wareham’s fourth in a row, fifth in six games, and shrinks their magic number to clinch a playoff spot to just four.
Gatemen coach Jerry Weinstein said he thought Selmer’s performance changed the complexion of the game.
“He was outstanding,” praised Weinstein. “Not only did he stop the bleeding, but there was never a threat against him for there to be any bleeding. He was big.”
The Gatemen (17-14-3) trailed by 5-0 at one point, before beginning the long climb back in the bottom of the fourth.
Joey Bart started what ended up being a four run rally for Wareham with a single to right field. Gavin Sheets followed up with a single of his own, and Colton Shaver reached on a hit by pitch to load the bases.
Down 1-2 in the count, Adrian Tovalin got the Gatemen on the board, going the other way with a breaking pitch over the head of Anglers’ right fielder Donovan Casey for a two run double.
Wareham added two more runs in the frame, as Shaver and Tovalin both came home to score on wild pitches to bring the Gatemen within 5-4 after four innings of play.
Behind the efforts of Selmer, the Gatemen continued to trail by the lone run until the bottom of the sixth when they finally took the lead for good.
Harrison Wenson was hit-by-a-pitch to begin the inning, Preston Grand Pre doubled, and Robbie Metz brought them both home via a single to center field to put Wareham on top, 6-5.
Cole Freeman proceeded to provide Wareham with a key insurance run moments later, when he dropped a base hit into centerfield that scored Metz to give the Gatemen their seventh run of the ball game.
“We swung the bat extremely well,” said Weinstein. “We laid out some good swings and even though we faced some so-so pitching compared to what we have seen we had one of our best offensive nights in quite some time.”
Hogan Harris started his third game of the season for the Gatemen, and from the start of his outing the Chatham Anglers’ lineup was all over him.
The Anglers put together a three run top of the first, highlighted by a two run double to center-field off the bat of Sean Bouchard, to take a 3-0 lead after a half inning of play.
Just one inning later, the Anglers continued their offensive onslaught against Harris.
Orlando Garcia walked, and John Aiello singled to left to begin the inning and end Harris’ outing. On in out of the bullpen for the Gatemen came Christian Taugner, and immediately D.J. Artis greeted Taugner with a two run double to give Chatham a 5-0 advantage.
“(Harris) was not in control of the situation,” summarized Weinstein. “He did not compete as well as he has in the past, and when he was in trouble he seemed to get down on himself. That was the story of his performance tonight.”
Taugner and Ethan Small were able to stop the bleeding, combining for 4.1 innings of shutout baseball before Selmer’s heroics sealed the Gatemen victory.