As Ezequiel Sanchez stepped off third, Dominic Miroglio off first, it looked as though the Gatemen were going to grab victory from the jaws defeat once again.
Alas, Friday’s contest against Falmouth was not meant to play out in the Gatemen’s favor.
Commodores closer Corbin Martin, nursing a one run, 4-3 lead, quickly got ahead of Robbie Metz via a fastball on the outside corner. Two pitches later, he put Metz away, using a curveball in the dirt to get Metz swinging for the second out. Preston Grand Pre came to the plate with a base hit already in his back pocket, but on 1-1 hit a soft line drive to Falmouth shortstop Cadyn Grenier for the final out of the ball game as the Commodores snapped Wareham’s eight game winning streak, 4-3, at Arnie Allen Diamond at Guv Fuller Field.
Wareham (21-15-3) coach Jerry Weinstein said he would have liked to see his team play a little smarter.
“I wish we had played a little bit harder,” said Weinstein. “A few times we should have been on second base on some pop ups, our guys know that. That’s the only thing that I think we could have done better.”
The Gatemen trailed by as much as 4-0 heading into the top of the eighth inning before a two out rally brought them back within a run.
Joey Bart stepped up to the dish with Metz and Grad Pre leading off second and third, in search of Wareham’s first run scoring hit of the day.
Bart proceeded to hit a slow roller to Commodores third baseman Willie Burger. Burger, despite having ample time, rushed his throw, causing it to go down the first base line. The errant throw allowed Metz and Grand Pre to score and moved Bart all the way to third base.
Moments later, Gavin Sheets served a 1-2 fastball from Commodores reliever Stephen Vilines into left field for an RBI single to cut Falmouth’s advantage to just one, 4-3.
Wareham was unable to get any closer, as even though Falmouth’s Corbin Martin permitted the tying and go-ahead runs to reach base, the Gatemen could not push the equalizer across.
“We had some better approaches against some of their relievers,” said Weinstein. “We hung in there and we battled and that’s all that you can ask guys to do.”
Clayton Gelfand got the start for Wareham – his first of the season – and overall kept Wareham within striking distance.
Through his first four innings of work, Gelfand surrendered just two runs (both on bases loaded walks in the second inning) on three hits.
His outing took a bit of a sour turn in the bottom half of the fifth inning with Falmouth on top 2-0 due to an untimely defensive miscue.
After recording the first two outs of the frame, Gelfand induced a shallow fly ball to center field off the bat of Deacan Liput.
Wareham center fielder Joey Bartosic was able to use his speed to charge in and camp underneath the baseball, but Bartosic elected to play it off to the side causing it to tip off the end of his glove and roll away.
Liput cruised into scoring position on the misplayed fly ball, and next batter J.J. Matijevic drove him home with a double into the right center field gap.
The Commodores lineup was not finished capitalizing, as an RBI double off the bat of Joshua Watson made it 4-0 Falmouth.
“(Gelfand) competed his butt off and for all intents and purposes should have only given up two runs,” summarized Weinstein on Gelfand’s outing. “If we have a bit better pitch selection in that second inning we probably would have had a bit better luck when we walked those guys.”
Jeffrey Passantino, who started the All-Star Game for the Western Division, was as dominant as his stats coming into the day portrayed.
The right-hander out of Lipscomb had pinpoint command of his fastball, locating it on the outside corner on a regular occurrence.
Passantino threw 54 of his 70 pitches for strikes, including 31 of his 38 fastballs. In total, he went six shutout innings, scattering four hits, walking no one, and striking out six before ultimately turning it over to his bullpen in the top of the seventh.