COTUIT, MA: Highlighted by a 2-run single by catcher Will Remillard (Coastal Carolina), the Cotuit Kettleers turned a 1-0 deficit into a 2-run lead in the 7th inning and went on to defeat the Gatemen 3-2 at Lowell Park on Saturday. The loss drops Wareham to 0-2 on the season heading into a Sunday evening game against Bourne.
Last season in the first game of the season series against Cotuit, Fred Shepard got the start and spun five solid innings. The Kettleers scored just three runs.
This season, on a beautiful Saturday night at Lowell Park in Cotuit, Fred Shepard (Amherst) got the start and tossed six masterful innings. The Kettleers scored just three runs.
But the Gatemen exploded for 12 runs in that 2012 game. This time, however, the Wareham offense only mustered two runs en route to the 3-2 loss to Cotuit.
For the second straight game, the Gatemen were cruising heading into the late stages of the game. Against Chatham on Wednesday in the season opener, the game was tied 0-0 until the Anglers exploded for four runs in the top of the eighth, eventually downing the Gatemen, who are now 0-2, by a score of 4-0. On Saturday, Wareham was leading 1-0 — thanks a third-inning solo home run from first baseman Trevor Podratz (Hawaii) — heading into the seventh.
But in the home half of the seventh, Cotuit center fielder Hunter Cole (Georgia) led off with a single. Shepard then plunked pinch hitter Rhett Wiseman (Vanderbilt) and walked catcher Aramis Garcia (Florida International) before giving way to Wareham relief pitcher Ryan Riga (Ohio State). Shepard left the game after 6.1 innings in which he gave up just threehits and a walk to go along with five strikeouts.
“Fred threw a great game,” Wareham manager Cooper Farris said afterward. “He made two bad pitches and that was it. He hit the guy that was trying to bunt and that was big but I thought he threw outstanding. He kept their running game out of play and did a great job.”
Riga struck out the first batter he faced, but then Kettleers catcher Will Remillard (Coastal Carolina) laced a two-out, 0-2 pitch to left field to score two and give Cotuit a 2-1 lead it would not relinquish.
To Farris, Remillard’s run-scoring single was all too similar to that of Chatham center fielder Sheehan Planas-Arteaga (Barry) on Wednesday night. Both batters drove in the runs with two outs and mired in an 0-2 count.
“If you look at these two ballgames that we’ve lost they’ve come down to really two pitches and both of them were with two strikes,” Farris said. “We’ve got to do a little better job 0-2. Chatham got the hit with two strikes 0-2 up the middle the other day that drove in two runs and today we gave up an 0-2 base hit that drove in two runs. We’ve got to do a little better job 0-2.”
Farris said he also wants to see continued improvement on the offensive side, where the Gatemen have struggled, scoring just two runs combined through the first two games of the 2013 campaign. Podratz’s solo long-ball in the third inning put the Gatemen out in front 1-0, but Wareham was held scoreless until center fielder Adam Toth (Baylor), who reached on an error, came around to score in the eighth on a sacrifice fly by third baseman Bradley Roney (Southern Mississippi).
Though the Gatemen were limited to just six hits and those two runs, Farris said he was pleased with the improvements compared to the Chatham loss, in which Wareham was shut out and recorded three hits.
“Well, that’s what I told them just a minute ago — we did a better job,” Farris said. “You know we struck out 11 times the first game, I think eight or nine today, I lost count. You’re giving teams four innings where they don’t have to play baseball. We’ve got to cut that out and start putting the ball in play a little bit more. And I thought our approaches were a little bit better.”
On Sunday, the Gatemen look to get on track and garner their first win of the season when they square off with Bourne. Wareham right-hander Kyle Cody (Kentucky) will toe the rubber against the Braves, who also lost their first two games of the season and were held scoreless in both contests.
“We’ve got to win. We can’t get down and bury ourselves,” Farris said. “Anytime in this league, the two-out hits are what’s going to win it. Who gets the most of them? Today [Cotuit] did so you’ll find out as you watch all these games, they’re going to be like this. You’re going to see the guys that win get those two-out hits and the guys that lose don’t.”
First pitch begin the Gatemen and the Braves is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Sunday at Spillane Field.
As always, you can watch the live stream of the game by accessing our “Gatemen Pressbox” page. The pre-game show begins around 5:45 p.m.