WAREHAM, MA: For the second time in as many games between Wareham and Hyannis, the Gatemen overcame a late inning deficit to defeat the Harbor Hawks. On Friday, Wareham scored five runs over the final two innings to come back and beat Hyannis 7-6. Tonight, the Gatemen scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth to overcome a 3-2 Harbor Hawks lead and win 4-3.
In the first six innings, a goofy pitcher’s duel took shape between the Gatemen staff and Hyannis starter Jeff Hoffman (East Carolina). Wareham starter Fred Shepard (Amherst) was pulled after just 3.1 innings despite not allowing a hit. Shepard was wild for the second start in a row giving up four walks and hitting a batter. He walked Harbor Hawks third baseman Zach Alvord (Auburn) on his final hitter to force in a run and cut the Gatemen lead to 2-1. Shepard was relieved by LSU fireballer Nick Rumbelow, who allowed a sacrifice fly to Blake Shephard (Viterbo) that tied the score at two. In spite of the tie, Hyannis still hadn’t gotten a hit up to this point. As for Hoffman, he allowed just one hit over his final six innings after Wareham struck for two in the first inning on a Claude Johnson (Arkansas State) RBI single.
But when Hoffman exited after the seventh, it was the same old tired story for the Harbor Hawks bullpen. After Hyannis took a 3-2 lead on a Brandon Trinkwon (UC Santa Barbara) single in the top of the seventh, reliever Jimmy Hodgskin (Troy) gave the lead right back in the bottom of the eighth. Hodgskin blew away the first two Gatemen hitters Cole Sturgeon (Louisville) and Ty McFarland (James Madison). With a 1-2 count on Kyle Schwarber (Indiana), Hodgskin let the inning slip away by plunking Schwarber on the arm. One pitch later, Gatemen cleanup hitter Tyler Horan (Virginia Tech) crushed a two run go-ahead home run over the right field fence. With a 4-3 lead, manager Cooper Faris called on Sturgeon to slam the door in the ninth. Pitching for the first time in 11 games, Sturgeon retired three of the four hitters he faced to close out the 4-3 victory.
Wareham has now won four of its last five games to creep back over .500 at 8-7 for the first time since its record was 3-2. With another victory against the Harbor Hawks, the Gatemen are now 7-1 against Western Division opponents in 2012. They’re just 1-6 against the Eastern Division. Wareham returns to action Tuesday against Bourne at Spillane Field, the first of a home and home series between the Western Division rivals.