Colton Shaver has proven he can just about do it all.
Shaver, who has spent the majority of his time this summer playing catcher and being the Gatemen’s designated hitter, found himself as Saturday night’s third baseman.
The new position proved to be a challenge that Shaver was more than able to handle, as he fielded two bullets down the left field line including one that turned into a double play. At the plate, meanwhile, Shaver knocked in the tying run with a groundball to second base increasing his league-leading RBI total to 20 as Wareham knocked off Cotuit, 3-2, in front of a capacity crowd at Spillane Field.
It was the 11th one run game for the Gatemen (10-8-1) already this season (Wareham is 8-3 in those games).
Wareham coach Jerry Weinstein said the Gatemen did just enough well to win on Saturday night.
“Tonight we did just enough to win,” said Weinstein. “Shaver comes up big once again for us. He made two big plays for us at third base. Overall, pretty good performance tonight. Your pretty generic throw strikes, put the ball in play, play defense win tonight.”
The Kettleers – looking to make it two straight versus the Gatemen – jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the second as Jason Delay hit his second home run in as many days over the fence in left field.
Wareham had an opportunity to tie the score in the bottom of the second when they put two on, but Cotuit (4-15) starter Colton Hock induced a 4-6-3 double play off the bat of Nico Giarratano to escape trouble.
In the bottom of the third, Hock was not as lucky.
Joey Bartosic lead off the inning by drawing a walk and a bunt single off the bat of Cole Freeman put two on with nobody on. Alex Destino hit a slow tapper into the hole at short for an infield hit of his own loading up the bases.
Shaver came up to the plate, knowing that all he needed to do was to put the ball in play.
“I knew they were going to throw something off-speed,” said Shaver. “As a result I was trying to stay back on it and drive it to right center but I think I got a little over anxious and that’s why the contact was not so solid. Luckily I was able to put the ball in the play though.”
Shaver did indeed do just that, as he reached out and dribbled a slow grounder to Cotuit second baseman Alonzo Jones. Jones bobbled the ball on his initial attempted to field it, and after recovering, proceeded to throw the ball into left field allowing Bartosic and Freeman to score, giving Wareham a 2-1 lead.
Moments later, Gavin Sheets provided the Gatemen some breathing room as he dumped a base hit into left scoring Destino and putting Wareham on top 3-1.
Wareham reliever Ethan Small took control from there.
The left-hander out of Mississippi State tossed four innings of shutout ball to keep Wareham on top 3-1 through seven innings of play.
Small, for the second straight outing, displayed terrific fastball command as 26 of the 39 he threw made their way into the strike zone.
Cotuit threatened to tie the score off Gatemen closer Ryan Wilson in the top of the eighth.
Quinn Brodey and Greyson Jenista began the inning with back-to-back base hits to right field. Kettleer’s two-hitter Jackson Klein moved the two over via a sacrifice bunt, putting the tying run in scoring potion with just one man down.
Wilson, however, settled down and surrendered a lone sacrifice fly off the bat of Cal Stevenson to keep Wareham in front 3-2 heading into the ninth inning.