Following Tuesday night’s 6-4 loss to Hyannis, Gatemen coach Jerry Weinstein was not in the mood to mince words.
“We gave up four runs without surrendering a hit,” said Weinstein. “It’s not fair to call out the whole team because most guys did their job, but this was the first time I thought it was clear that we had a few guys who were not mentally ready to play.”
All evening long Wareham (12-9-1) was plagued by unforced errors.
In the top half of the fifth, the Gatemen saw their 2-0 lead evaporate, as a hit by pitch followed by a walk put two men on to begin the inning.
Peter Zyla laid down a beautiful bunt for an infield single to load the bases, and moments later Brett Netzer scored on a four-pitch bases loaded walk to cut the Wareham lead to 2-1.
Gatemen reliever Nick Sprengel induced a line out to second base for the first out of the inning, but Zach Rutherford drilled a sacrifice fly to right center to tie things up at two.
Sprengel ran into more trouble in the top half of the sixth and again the Harbor Hawks (10-12) began their rally with a walk and hit by pitch.
Two batters later, a delayed steal moved the runners up to second and third.
With a chance to put his team on top, Cody Henry took full advantage, hitting a cue shot down the first base line just past the outstretched glove of Gavin Sheets to score Dan Busby and Trey Truitt.
Now trailing 4-2 as the game turned to the bottom half of the sixth, the Gatemen displayed some fight of their own. Wareham’s offense produced a run in both the bottom of the sixth and seventh to tie the score at four after seven innings of play.
Cole Freeman lead off the sixth with a base hit to left, stole second, moved over to third on a deep fly ball to center, and came on into score on a soft line drive to right off that bat of Colton Shaver to cut Hyannis’ advantage to 4-3.
Wareham appeared to be on their way to jumping in front in the bottom half of the seventh. Newly arrived Austen Wade began the frame with a double to left center field, and after Joey Bart was hit by a pitch, the two runners were moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Preston Grand Pre.
Just needing a ground ball to tie the score, Joey Bartosic was able to get the job done, hitting a chopper to second that brought in the pinch runner Jonathan Engelmann, evening the score at four.
Freeman stepped up to the plate for the second time in as many innings, looking to put Wareham back out in front.
On 1-2, Freeman laced a sinking line drive into the left centerfield gap that seemed bound for a base hit. Harbor Hawks center fielder Tre Truitt, however, came racing over and went into a slide to pick the ball off and keep the score tied at four.
Truitt handed the Harbor Hawks offense some momentum to work with, and immediately in the top half of the eighth they put the pressure back on the Gatemen.
Busby singled, moved over to second on a passed ball and two batters later, Chris Cullen put Hyannis back in front with a single to left centerfield.
Wareham’s third pitcher of the night – Jake Matthys – was on the verge of escaping the inning without any further damage when he struck out Henry. Zyla, however, hit a double just over the head of Bartosic, allowing Cullen to score and giving Hyannis a bit of insurance.
“We made a ton of unforced errors, we did not command the strike zone on the mound,” said Weinstein. “The focus was not good. We let the game speed up on us. When things started to go wrong, we were not in a position to play the game pitch-by-pitch.”
The Gatemen were able to string a rally together in the bottom of the ninth, and brought Freeman to the plate with the tying run on second base with two men down.
Hyannis closer Tyler Stevens induced a ground out to third off the bat of Freeman though to finish off a frustrating loss for Wareham.