WAREHAM, MA: Daniel Palka’s (Georgia Tech) 2 run double down the left field line in the 8th inning gave the Wareham Gatemen a 5-4 lead and they hung on for a 6-4 series opening win over the Bourne Braves.
The Bourne Braves got to Gatemen starting pitcher Josh Turley (Baylor) early scoring two runs in the first and two runs in the second to take a 4-0 lead. CCBL MVP candidate Travis Jankowski (Stony Brook) led of the game with a single and his Stony Brook teammate Patrick Cantwell doubled to give the Braves runners at first and third with no outs. That set up Tommy Coyle (North Carolina) who hit a shallow fly ball to center but it was enough to allow Jankowski to score the first run of the series. Blake Crohan (Tulane) singled later in the inning and Bourne had an early 2-0 lead.
Bourne doubled their lead in the 2nd; all with two outs. A Josh Turley balk allowed the 3rd Braves run to score and Tommy Coyle delivered his 2nd rbi in as many innings with a single to give the Braves a 4-0 lead.
The Gatemen answered in the bottom of the 2nd and began their comeback charge. With the baes loaded and only 1 out, CT Bradford (Mississippi State) grounded to 2nd base in what looked like an inning-ending double play by a bobbled ball by the Bourne second basemen allowed a run to score. LF Mazzilli (UCONN) followed with an opposite field double down the right field line; allowing two runs to score and the Gatemen made this a ballgame – trailing only 4-3 heading into the third.
Looking like an offensive showdown; both starting pitchers settled down and had a mid-game pitcher’s dual. Josh Turley retired the next 15 of 19 Bourne hitters and pitched a scoreless 5 innings; keeping Wareham within one run. Bourne starter Josh Conway (Coastal Carolina) also looked shaky early in the game but put forth a gutsy performance and preserved Bourne’s 4-3 lead before giving way to reliever Ryan Connolly (Coastal Carolina).
Wareham completed their comeback in the 8th inning. Bourne reliever RC Orlan (North Carolina) gave up a leadoff walk to Max Muncy (Baylor) and Johnny Field (Arizona) reached on a bunt single. Daniel Palka – Wareham’s most productive hitter late in the season – delivered a 2-run, opposite field double down the third base line and gave Wareham a 5-4 lead in front of a greatful 1,500 fans at Spillane Field.
Ty Ross (LSU) followed Palka’s go-ahead double with an rbi of his own and the Gatemen took a 6-4 lead into the 9th inning.
Gatemen closer Konner Wade (Arizona) relieved setup man Daniel Feehan (UCONN) in the 9th. A leadoff infield single by Jankowski was followed by a wild pitch and a subequent groundout that allowed him to score making the 9th inning a nail-biter. Wade, however, benefitted by terrific defensive plays by first basemen Max Muncy and a sliding, game ending catch by Robert Refsnyder (Arizona) to pick up the save and give the Gatemen a 1-0 series lead.
Daniel Feehan picked up the win and starting pitcher Josh Turley turned in an impressive outing; going 7 innings, allowing only 2 earned runs, striking out 6 and walking just 1 batter. Johnny Field and Daniel Palka had 2 hits apiece to lead the Gatemen.
Game 2 of this best-of-3 CCBL Western Division Semi-Finals series is tomorrow after at 4:00pm at Bourne’s Doran Park. Left-handed pitcher Brent Suter (Harvard) is expected to get the start. The Gatemen have now won a season high 6 consecutive games; including 3 straight over Bourne.
The winner of this series will face off against the winner of the Hyannis Harbor Hawks and Falmouth Commodores best-of-3 opening round series. Hyannis took game 1 tonight 6-4 in their own comeback victory after trailing 4-0 early in the game.