From cover to cover, Colton Shaver has been the face for the Gatemen this season at Spillane Field.
Back on June 7, in Wareham’s lone preseason home game, Shaver belted a home run into the parking lot on the first pitch he saw. Nearly two months later, in the Gatemen’s final regular season home contest, Shaver left his mark once again, this time spraying a go-ahead two run single into right field to break a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Jake Matthys, meanwhile, converted his seventh save of the season, getting the final four outs of the ball game as Wareham defeat Bourne, 3-1, to notch their fifth win against the Braves this season.
Shaver said he was simply focusing on taking a two strike-breaking ball the other way.
“They were throwing me off-speed all night so I was sitting one there in that at-bat,” said Shaver. “So far up to that point in was not working for me in that one because they started me off with a couple of fastballs. But, I stuck with my approach waiting for that curveball and I finally got it and found a hole.”
The contest between the two teams was a preview of their upcoming matchup in the first round of the Cape Cod Baseball League playoffs.
Game one is scheduled to take place Friday at 630pm at Spillane Field and is a best two-out-of three series, with game two taking place at Bourne and a potential game 3 happening back at Spillane Field.
Shaver highlighted that while the Gatemen (24-15-4) have not been winning in the flashiest manner, they continuously find a way to get it done.
“Our team is just full of competitors that’s all it is,” said Shaver. “It’s not matter how you win it’s if you win and right now, we’re winning.”
Hogan Harris, who had not made an appearance since July 21, showed signs of rust in his first start back for the Gatemen.
The left-hander out of Louisiana Lafayette found himself behind 1-0 just three batters into the game.
Willy Yahn began the game with a single up the middle, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and came home on a Connor Wong double to give Bourne the early 1-0 lead.
Braves starter Doug Norman, meanwhile, was nothing short of dominant from the moment he stepped foot on the Spillane mound.
Norman, who did not allow a hit until the fifth inning, showcased a fastball that sat in the low 90s to go along with a devastating, disappearing slider.
His only blemish came in the bottom of the fifth when the Gatemen rallied for a lone run to tie the score at one.
Jonathan Pryor, known for his plate disciple, worked a one out walk. Two batters later, Ezequiel Sanchez delivered the Gatemen’s first hit of the day, scorching a double down the left field to put two runners in scoring position with two men down.
Norman, pitching out of the stretch for a lengthy period of time for the first time of the night appeared to be uncomfortable. On the 1-1 offering to Preston Grand Pre, Norman’s slider skid in the dirt and went to the backstop allowing Pryor to come home to score with the game tying run.
Wareham coach Jerry Weinstein said he was pleased to see Sanchez in the middle of things once again.
“Shaver with the world class two-at bat after the tough curveball that was huge but once again, Sanchez gets us going,” said Weinstein.
Noah Zavolas, making just his second relief appearance for Wareham this summer, seemed to make a lasting impression on Weinstein as he prepares his postseason pitching plan.
Zavolas, coming out of the bullpen in relief of Harris, pounded the zone for the entirety of his outing spanning the start of the fourth until there were two outs in the eighth.
In total, Zavolas went 4.2 shutout innings of work, scattered just three hits, walked no one, and struck out a batter. At one point, Zavolas retired thirteen straight hitters that he faced.
“He just pounded the strike zone, had a bit of a rough first inning, but other than that did his job,” said Weinstein.
Perhaps the biggest moment in the game, however, came in the top of the fourth inning when Bourne, already leading 1-0, loaded the bases with nobody out against Zavolas.
Braves’ three-hitter David MacKinnon lead off the inning with a single off the glove at Preston Grand Pre at third base. Kevin Mohollen followed up by being hit by a pitch, and Chase Demars reached on a bunt singled to fill up the bases.
After Zavolas got ahead of Brendan Breaux 0-1, Gatemen catcher Dominic Miroglio threw a delayed pickoff throw down to third base, in attempt to catch MacKinnon flat footed as he walked back to third base.
Miroglio succeeded, throwing a missile right to the third base bag, easily allowing Grand Pre to apply the tag to a diving MacKinnin for the first out of the inning.
“Tremendous delay pick at third base by Miroglio,” said Weinstein. “We have been working on that all year and we haven’t had a chance to use it but we used it in an opportune moment. That was the huge play.”
From that point on, Zavolas righted the ship, retiring Breaux and Willy Yahn on consecutive fly outs to retire the side.