YARMOUTH, MA: Down 5-2 in the 9th inning, the Wareham Gatemen rallied with 2 homeruns in the 9th & 2 homeruns in the 10th; including Kyle Schwarber’s 2-run, dramatic, go-ahead blast to defeat the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox 8-6 in the deciding game of the 2012 Cape Cod League Championship.
YD’s Robert Pehl (Washington), who was the clear CCBL Playoff MVP before the Gatemen late inning heroics, hit his 2nd homer of the game in the bottom of the 8th inning & put the Red Sox up 5-2 – seemingly deflating the Wareham faithful who were part of the 4,250 on hand at Red Wilson Field to see the finale of this memorable and record breaking season in the prestigious Cape Code Baseball League Championship. However, as they had done in 6 of the previous 10 games, the Gatemen rallied yet again and did it with the signature power that got them this far in the first place.
All of the Gatemen runs were produced by homeruns and considering the team and individual records that were set during the regular season, it was a fitting representation of not only the 2012 Gatemen but the “year of the homerun” in the Cape Cod Baseball League.
Trailing 2-0 after Robert Pehl’s first homer of the game in the 4th, the Gatemen – as they have done time and time again all season, responded in a big way. Ty Ross (LSU), the hero in Game 1, followed a Mott Hyde (Georgia Tech) double with a game tying homer to tie the game 2-2. This was the only blemish for YD starting pitcher Alex Gonzalez (Oral Roberts) who was just as effective as game 2 starter Aaron Blair (Marshall). Gonzalez allowed only those two runs and struck out 11 Gatemen in his 6 innings of work.
Clay Chapman (Florida Southern) entered the game out of the Gatemen bullpen in 7th inning and after giving up a leadoff double, he worked the next two batters for outs before Wayne Talyor (Stanford) hit a bloop, rbi single to left that scored the go-ahead run for the Red Sox. A scoreless 8th for the Gatemen in this fast moving game placed all the momentum with Yarmouth-Dennis.
Colby Suggs (Arkansas), Wareham’s hard throwing All-Star reliever, came into the game in the 8th. Suggs, who was unhittable in game 1 at Red Wilson Field and who was honored with the Albert Bigelow Award by the Gatemen organization as the team’s top pitcher in 2012, allowed a single before Pehl hit what appeared to be the game clinching 2-run homer. Wareham came to bat in the 9th down to their last 3 outs of the season.
After holding down the best 3-4-5 hitters in the Cape League to no hits on the night, Kyle Schwarber (Indiana) hit a 3-2 pitch deep to right field for a homerun. Daniel Palka (Georgia Tech) followed 2 batters later with a single; setting the stage for his Yellow Jacket teammate, Mott Hott, who hit a 2 run homer to tie the deciding game of the CCBL Finals 5-5. As they did during game 1 after the big Ty Ross homer, the Gatemen dugout erupted & Wareham fans turned from being deflated to suddenly finding new life in trying to will this “never say die” team to the championship.
Heading into the bottom half of the inning, Suggs was sent back out to the mound & despite giving up a one out single, struck out two – keeping the game knotted at 5 and sending the deciding game of the CCBL Championship into extra innings.
After YD reliever Brian Verbistsky (Hofstra) stuck the top two hitters in the Gatemen lineup, he walked late season addition Ryan Sullivan (Seton Hall); which gave the Gatemen 3-4-5 hitters another chance. Already having cemented himself into the Gatemen record books by having one of the best overall offensive seasons in Wareham history, Kyle Schwarber (Indiana) stepped to the plate and hit one of the most memorable & exciting homeruns in franchise history as he drilled a 1-2 pitched deep over the right-field fence and put Wareham ahead 7-5.
As if that wasn’t enough, Tyler Horan (Virginia Tech), the Cape Cod League wood bat record holder for homeruns in a season, followed Schwarber with a solo shot to extend the Wareham lead to 8-5.
Suggs returned once again to the mound in the 10th and although there was an anxious moment when Carlos Asuaje hit a homerun to center; he induced a fly ball by Zak Blair (Mercyhurst) to Cole Sturgeon (Louisville) in centerfield who secured the fly ball and sparked the first celebration of a Wareham Gatemen CCBL Championship since back to back titles in 2001 & 2002.
Those back to back titles were the won by Manager Cooper Farris who has now won his 3rd championship as a manager in his 12 years at the helm in Wareham.
Colby Suggs (Arkansas) ended up as the winning pitcher. Fred Shepard (Amherst), the game 3 starter, pitched 5 solid inning and allowed only 2 runs. Combined, the pitching staffs of both teams struck out an incredible 28 batters.
The Gatemen end the season winning 10 out of their last 11 games. Seven of those wins were in comeback fashion & added excitement and drama to the end of one of the most memorable seasons in recent CCBL history. In the championship series, the Gatemen led the game in only 2 of the 28 total innings.
Kyle Schwarber was named the 2012 CCBL Playoff MVP. Team awards were handed out after the game and Colby Suggs was honored with the Albert Bigelow Award as the team’s top pitcher. Tyler Horan was give the Sylvia Bigelow Award as Wareham’s top positional player and Kendall Graveman (Mississippi State) was handed the Francis Tripp Award as the Gatemen player that had the biggest impact on the community both on and off the field.
Previously presented with the Commissoner’s Cup for the 4th time, the Wareham Gatemen have won their 7th Cape Cod Baeball League Championship; having won the title before in 1976, 1988, 1994, 1997, 2001 & 2002.
Check back to www.gatemen.org for plenty of post championship coverage.