WAREHAM, MA: The Wareham Gatemen ended up on the winning end of a 2-1 pitching gem in the final regular season meeting of the season between the Gatemen and Falmouth Commodores. The win guarantees that Wareham will finish no lower than 3rd in the Western Division and face the Bourne Braves in a best of 3 first round playoff matchup.
With the Gatemen pitching staff facing some late season adjustments due to the professional contract signing by All-Star Justin Amlung (Louisville) and the concussion to Bobby Brosnahan (Michigan), the entire staff has responded; showing their versatility and resiliance. Last week, Steve Perakslis (Maine), normally a reliver, made his first and perhaps only start of the season. Barrett Astin (Arkansas) and Brent Suter (Harvard) have both been relievers and starters while outfielder CT Bradford (Mississippi State) has chipped in and given his team some innings on the mound. Daniel Feehan (UCONN) even stepped in tonight and sang the national anthem – supported by the entire Gatemen bullpen standing behind him at home plate prior to tonight’s game.
Tonight was Brent Suter’s turn and he delivered. Perhaps a little more fresh since his Harvard Crimson team played 20 less games than most of his teammate’s schools, Suter got the start tonight vs. Falmouth. He gave the Gatemen 5 shutout innings; allowed just 5 hits and struck out 5. Suter was replaced to start the 6th by Dillon Newman (Baylor).
Newman got into a little trouble with 2 runners on base and 2 outs in the 6th and was the victim of an infield error that would have been the final out of the inning. The very next batter, Spencer Kieboom (Clemson) delivered an rbi single and gave the Commodores a 1-0 lead.
The Gatemen responded right away in the bottom half of the inning. Jeff Reynolds (Harvard) rbi ground out with two runners on base tied the game and a Ty Ross (LSU) sacrafice fly scored what turned out to be the winning run of the game.
Newman pitched a clean 7th and Daniel Feehan (UCONN) made his league leading 21st apperance and gave his team a scoreless inning of relief in the 8th. Konner Wade (Arizona), coming off of his West Division All-Star MVP apperance at Fenway Park, closed out the game for Wareham and picked up his 10th save.
For Falmouth, starting pitcher Joe Bircher (Bradley), who could have been and perhaps should have been a CCBL All-Star, also pitched 5 scoreless innings and struck out 7 Gatemen. Three of the strikeouts were to consecutive batters in the 4th inning with the bases loaded. Bircher now leads the CCBL with 48 strikeouts and is 2nd in ERA at 1.44.
Brandon Thomas (Georgia Tech) had 2 hits for Wareham, stole a base and scored a run. He is 5 for 10 in his last 4 games.
Wareham will send recently signed Jake Boyd (Stetson) to the hill tomorrow night vs. the Bourne Braves in the first of two consecutive, season finale showdowns between the two clubs. It will be the first of at least 4 and possibly 5 consecutive games vs. the Braves as the two teams will face off for the 2nd straight season in the first round of the CCBL Playoffs.
The Gatemen trail Bourne by 4 points heading into the final two regular season games. If the Braves win or tie just one of those games, they will win home field advantage against Wareham in the first round of the playoffs. If Wareham were to win both games, they will tie Bourne for 2nd place in the West and as a result of a better head to head season record, would win home field and host game 1 Friday night at Spillane Field.
Tomorrow nights’ game at Doran Park is at 4:30 and not 6:00 as printed on the schedule. Lightning has caused damage to the lights in Bourne and all games played in Bourne for the balance of the 2011 season will be played in the afternoon.