WAREHAM, MA: Throughout the early portion of the 2012 Cape Cod Baseball League season, the Wareham Gatemen have been slowly building a reputation as an offense that stays after opponents. They cemented that reputation in exciting fashion in a 12-10 victory over the Falmouth Commodores tonight at Arnie Allen Diamond at Guv Fuller Field.
For the third straight game, the Gatemen fell into a big hole in the opening frame. Starter Clay Chapman (Florida Southern) gave up four earned runs on a three run blast from Commodores right fielder Michael O’Neill (Michigan) and a solo shot from third baseman and cleanup hitter Drew Dosch (Youngstown State). Over the next four innings, the Gatemen offense continued to struggle against Commodores starter Marco Gonzales (Gonzaga). Gonzalez struck out seven in five innings and left the game with an 8-2 lead.
In the top of the sixth, the Wareham bats finally awoke from their slumber against new Falmouth pitcher Sean Hagan (Saint John’s). Kyle Schwarber (Indiana) led off the inning with a one hop double off the right field fence, his fifth such hit of the season. Tyler Horan (Virginia Tech) and Ty Ross (LSU) then followed with singles that loaded the bases. The Georgia Tech tandem of Daniel Palka and Mott Hyde drove them all home with a single and a double. After a Matt Walsh (Franklin Pierce) walk forced in a run and reloaded the bases, Ethan Gross followed with a sacrifice fly that capped the five run rally.
Trailing 9-7 in the top of the ninth, the Gatemen were the beneficiaries of the Austin Anderson (Mississippi) defensive carousel. With two outs and nobody on base, Ty McFarland (James Madison) and Schwarber walked to put runners on first and second. The next three hitters all bounced choppers in Anderson’s region that were bobbled and booted by the Bad News Bear. Three runs scored on the errors and the Gatemen suddenly led for the first time all game at 10-9. But the drama wasn’t over.
In the bottom of the ninth, with the Gatemen feeling chesty as lights out closer Jonathan Holder (Mississippi State) entered the game, Michael O’Neill tied the game at 10 with a towering home run to left on the first pitch of the inning. After a scoreless 10th on both sides, the Wareham offense got back on its horse in the top of the 11th. Kyle Schwarber again led off with a walk and Tyler Horan got hit by a pitch from Rice right-hander John Simms. After a sacrifice bunt by Ty Ross and an intentional walk to Daniel Palka, Gatemen manager Cooper Farris surprised everybody by calling a suicide squeeze with Mott Hyde at the plate. The squeeze worked and Wareham regained the lead at 11-10, a lead that was pushed to 12-10 after a Matt Walsh RBI groundout one batter later. In the bottom of the inning, Holder sealed the victory by retiring the Commodores in order.
The exciting win ends Wareham’s three game losing streak and evens its record at 4-4 on the young season. The Gatemen return to action late Saturday afternoon at 5:00 versus the Y-D Red Sox. Coverage starts at 4:45 on the Cape Cod Baseball League Radio Network.