WAREHAM, MA: A rudderless offense and a pair of blowup innings were the all-too familiar themes in Wareham’s mundane 7-0 loss to East Division leader Orleans (9-1) on Sunday.
The Gatemen started off on a positive note when starter Fred Sheppard (Amherst) struck out the side in order in the top of the first inning. But in the second, Sheppard started to get wild and the Gatemen defense made two costly errors. After Shepard walked Firebirds cleanup hitter Michael Montville (Maryland) to start the frame, Orleans first baseman Conrad Gregor (Vanderbilt) ripped a line drive to right center field that Kyle Schwarber (Indiana) dropped. After a walk to Firebirds left fielder Cody Kulp (Shippensburg), Gatemen second baseman Andrew Bishop (Jacksonville State) sailed a throw over Daniel Palka’s (Georgia Tech) head at first trying to complete a double play. Two runs scored on the throwing errors and the Firebirds were off and running. One more run scored in the inning after an RBI single by leadoff hitter Jay Gonzalez (Auburn) pushed the margin to 3-0.
While Wareham’s offense continued to struggle, Orleans struck for four more runs in the fourth off Shepard. With runners on first and second with one out, PK Kitamura (Hawaii) and Montville roped RBI singles to left that made the score 5-0. Then Gregor delivered the dagger with a two RBI triple for a 7-0 Firebirds advantage.
Offensively, Wareham didn’t put together a legitimate threat until the fifth. But Tyler Horan (Virginia Tech) grounded into a rally-killing double play with men on first and second and one out. Wareham would start the seventh with two on and nobody out before going down quietly in order to end the threat. Besides those two opportunities, the Gatemen once again struggled to put runners on base at the start of innings. The Firebirds retired the first two Gatemen hitters in five of nine innings. Wareham hitters are now batting under .200 on the season when leading off innings.
If there was one positive for manager Cooper Fariss’ team, it was the bullpen. Nick Rumbelow (LSU), Vladimir Camacho (Franklin Pierce), and Joe Filomeno (Louisville) combined to pitch five scoreless frames while striking out eight.
Overall,Wareham’s fifth loss in six games drops its record to 4-6 on the season. After an off day tomorrow, the Gatemen return to Spillane Field Tuesday evening to battle division rival Falmouth, a team Wareham has already beaten twice in 2012. Coverage starts at 6:45 on the Cape Cod Baseball League Radio Network. First pitch is at 7:00.