WAREHAM, MA: Two games into the 2012 Cape Cod Baseball League season, the Wareham Gatemen are right back to where they started at .500. Manager Cooper Faris’ club evened its record at 1-1 on the season with a workmanlike 6-4 victory over the now 0-2 Brewster Whitecaps.
The contest drew multiple parallels with Wareham’s exhibition win over the Newport Gulls last Friday, the most obvious of which was the 6-4 final score. From a more substantive perspective, the games were similar because of Wareham’s workhorse starting pitcher Clay Chapman (Florida Southern). The rising junior from Florida Southern followed up his three scoreless innings against Newport with another solid effort against Brewster. Chapman threw five innings of two run ball giving up four hits and striking out one. On the negative side, he was a bit wild issuing four walks and hitting a batter.
Chapman left the game with a comfortable 5-2 lead after the Gatemen finally broke through with the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth. With the score deadlocked at two, Gatemen third baseman Dustin DeMuth (Indiana) legged out an infield single up the middle. Gatemen catcher Matt Walsh (Franklin Pierce) then reached on a weak throwing error by Whitecaps pitcher Sam Moll (Memphis). After a walk to shortstop Ethan Gross (Memphis) loaded the bases with nobody out, Cole Sturgeon (Louisville) laced an RBI single to center and Ty McFarland (James Madison) worked an eight pitch walk to open up a 4-2 Gatemen lead. Kyle Schwarber (Indiana) then grounded into a rally-killing double play that made it 5-2 when the dust settled after a fielder’s choice groundout by Gatemen cleanup hitter Tyler Horan (Virginia Tech). Brewster did cut the lead to 5-4 in the top of the sixth off new Gatemen pitcher Luke Farrell (Northwestern) after a fielder’s choice groundout with the bases loaded by shortstop Erik Forgione (Washington) and an RBI walk two batters later by catcher JT Files (Texas).
That, however, was as close as Brewster would get as a pair of Gatemen fireballers slammed the door in relief of Farrell. Try-out signee Vladimir Camacho (Franklin Pierce) pitched the entire seventh and recorded one out in the eighth before handing the baton to burly Louisville lefthander Joe Filomeno for the final five outs. DeMuth and Cole Sturgeon (Louisville) led the offensive charge for Wareham. DeMuth went 3-4 with a pair of doubles, an RBI, and a run scored. Sturgeon went 1-2 with an RBI and another run scored, his third already in just two 2012 Cape League games. On the Brewster side, Jake Kalish (George Mason) hit the only home run of the game and the season for either team so far, a solo shot in the top of the second. The Gatemen return to the bright Spillane Field lights Saturday evening at 7:00 against the division rival Falmouth Commodores. Coverage starts at 6:45 on the Cape Cod Baseball League Network.
Cole Sturgeon (Louisville) scored two runs andKyle Schwarber (Indiana) drove in two to open up the 2012 season for the Gatemen, but their effort was not enough as the Anglers won the first game of the 2012 season, 7-5.
In front of a large crowd at Spillane Field for the season opener, Sturgeon got the Gatemen off to a great start by hitting a single and scoring on an RBI double by Daniel Palka (Georgia Tech) to give Wareham the early 1-0 lead in the first inning.
After striking out two batters and not allowing a hit in the first inning, Gatemen starter Jared Ruxer (Louisville) struggled in the 2nd inning. The right-hander gave up a double to Anglers right fielder Aaron Brown (Pepperdine) and after a groundout to give Ruxer two outs, the Gatemen couldn’t hold off Chatham. Nick LaCroix (Franklin Pierce) singled home Brown to tie the game, and then Ruxer walked Mike Fransoso (Maine) to load the bases.
The Indianapolis, IN native then walked Anglers DH Adam Engel (Louisville) to give Chatham a 2-1 lead and not to be outdone was Anglers first basemen Andrew Knapp (California), who then hit a 2 RBI single in the very next at-bat, giving Chatham a 4-1 lead over Wareham after only an inning and a half of play.
Ruxer bounced back in the 3rd and 4th inning, not allowing a run.
Toeing the rubber on the other side for Chatham was 6’7” Scott Frazier (Pepperdine). After the Sturgeon scored in the first inning, Frazier pitched 4 scoreless innings. At the end of the night, the Upland, CA native earned the win over 5 innings allowing 4 hits with 5 strikeouts.
Chatham plated one in the 6th inning with Ryan Milewski (University of South Carolina-Aiken) pitching in relief for Wareham. Alex Calbick (Maine) hit a sacrifice fly, allowing Aaron Brown to score his second run of the game. Milewski allowed two more in the 7th after Anglers SS Alex Chittenden (Louisville) singled home Engel, and then Knapp scored on a passed ball by Gatemen C Matt Walsh (Franklin Pierce). Heading into the 7th inning stretch, the Gatemen trailed 7-1.
Wareham started to mount its comeback in the bottom of the 7th, scoring three runs. Ethan Gross (Memphis) started off the inning with a walk, and eventually scored on an RBI single by Schwarber. Sturgeon crossed the plate later in the inning on a Daniel Palka sacrifice fly, and then Schwarber came around to cut the Anglers lead to 7-4 after Dustin DeMuth (Indiana) walked home his college teammate.
Chatham went scoreless in the 8th and 9th inning, so Wareham still trailed by three going into the final frame. The Gatemen loaded the bases with no outs, but Anglers relief pitcher Jake Joyce (Virginia Tech) struck out DeMuth and Walsh in consecutive at bats to bring Chatham to within one out of a win.
In the final at-bat of the game, Ethan Gross reached on an infield single to plate Palka and make to 7-5, but Gatemen 3B Ty McFarland (James Madison) was thrown out trying to score at home, ending the game.
The Gatemen will be back in action tonight as the Brewster Whitecaps come to Spillane Field for a 7:00pm first pitch.