WAREHAM, MA: Historically, the Cape Cod Baseball League is dominated by some of the best collegiate pitching in the nation. Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox starting pitcher Clatyon Smith (St. Louis) and Wareham Gatemen starting pitcher Tucker Simpson upheld that tradition last night in a tightly played, extra innings affair at Spillane Field. Unfortunately, as has been the case so many times this season, the Gatemen fell just short – losing to the Red Sox 2-1 in 10 innings.
In this rematch of the 2012 CCBL Championship, the Gatemen jump out to an early lead in the first inning. After a Cole Sturgeon (Louisville) lead-off single and 1-out single by Tino Lipson (UC-Davis) gave the home team runners on the corners, a Trevor Podratz (Hawaii) fielder’s choice ground out plated Sturgeon and staked Wareham to a 1-0 advantage after one inning.
Yarmouth-Dennis wasted little time getting even with Wareham. Consecutive one-out singles by Auston Bousfield (Ole Miss) and Cole Peragine (Stony Brook) combined with an errant pick off attempt put runners on the corners for the Red Sox. Like Wareham in the first inning, a fielder’s choice groundout allowed Bousfield to score, tying the game 1-1.
Both starting pitchers settled in after the first inning and a half; each managing themselves out of jams and at times dominating the opposing offense. Aided by a double play in the second inning, Clayton Smith faced the minimum 12 batters over the next 4 innings and did not allow a base runner until a lead off walk to Cole Sturgeon in the 6th inning. A nicely placed bunt by Brett Pirtle (Mississippi State) advanced Sturgeon to second base and he would reach third on a throwing error/pick-off attempt. Trevor Podratz walked but a ground out to second base by Sean McMullen (LSU) ended the threat and preserved the 1-1 game for Smith.
Tucker Simpson was equally impressive on the mound for the Gatemen. His infield turned in a nice double play in the third inning before Simpson sat down the Red Sox in order in a very quickly played fourth inning. However, Simpson found himself in a jam in the fifth inning after the lead off hitter reached on an infield error and advance to third base on a double by shortstop Taylor Smart (Tennessee). Thanks to a tremendous throw to home plate by Cole Sturgeon after a fly out to center field, the YD base runners held their positions. A 6-2 putout at homeplate staved off another attempt by YD to take the lead before Coach Farris decided to intentially walk the dangerous Demetrius Stewart (Florida State).
That strategy worked out as Tucker Simpson struck out Kyle Wood (Purdue) with the based loaded in a dramatic end to the fifth inning.
Chris Chinea (LSU) threw out Taylor Gushue (Florida) as he attempted to steal second in the sixth inning and that keyed a dominating sixth and seventh inning for the big right hander Simpson as he would face just 6 total batters over those two innings. Simpson finished the night by throwing 113 pitches, pitching 7 complete innings, striking out 5, scattering 6 hits, walking just 1 and allowing only that first inning run.
Meanwhile, Clayton Smith cruised through the 7th and 8th innings to close out his own dominating starting pitching performance. Smith pitched 8 innings, struck out 1, allowed just 6 hits, walked 3 and surrended just a single run on a fielder’s choice in the opening inning.
Dillon Ortman (Auburn) relieved Simpson out of the Gatemen bullpen and pitched a perfect 8th inning. Bradley Roney (Southern Miss) got the call in the 9th inning and despite giving up a lead off single, closed out the top half of the inning. Sean McMullen would single in the bottom half of the inning off of reliever Kody Kerski (Sacred Heart) but the Gatemen would not score; sending the game into Wareham’s first extra inning contest on the season.
Roney walked leadoff hitting Taylor Smart and he would then advance to second on a wild pitch. After a 2-0 count to YD leadoff hitter Alex Blandino (Stanford), Wareham made another call to the bullpen – this time to Jonathan Holder (Mississippi State). Blandino would reach first on an infield single setting the stage for a Taylor White (UNLV) single to left that would drive home Smart; giving YD a 2-1 lead with no outs in the top half of the 10th inning. A double play and a groundout limited any further runs but the damage was done.
Adam Toth (Baylor) walked with two outs in the 10th inning but Kerski would strike out Cole Sturgeon to end the game; handing Wareham their 20th loss on the season. (5-20) YD improved to 12-12-1 on the season and moved to within a point of second place Harwich in the Eastern Division thanks to a Bourne 3-2 win over the Mariners. The Gatemen remain in last place in the Western Division.
Trey Killian (Arkansas) will oppose Kris Gardner (Wichita State) today at Doran Park in Bourne at 6:00pm. The Gatemen broadcast team will be on the air at 5:45pm with the Gatemen Pregame Show that you can listen to right here at www.gatemen.org.