June 25, 2023 8:15 am | by Amanda Foster
Two words to describe Landon Wallace’s time with the Wareham Gatemen so far?
And why wouldn’t it be? The West Virginia Mountaineer has been a Gateman for less than a week and has already made a name for himself within the team and around the league alike.
In Saturday night’s 7-2 victory over the Cotuit Kettleers, Wallace got the Gatemen scoring started with a home run that traveled a whopping 431 feet, according to TrackMan, marking the farthest hit home run in the Cape Cod Baseball League this season.
As he made his way around the bases, Wallace lifted one arm in celebration, and made the motion as if he was beating a drum before he crossed home plate. He stayed serious before he reached his teammates to celebrate, but then the smile broke through.
“I was just really happy,” Wallace said. “I put a good swing on the ball, it left, (that was) all I could do. Baseball really took over after that.”
Wallace’s home run was a host of firsts: his first home run of the season, the first home run of the night and the first run put up on the board for either team. The Gatemen and Kettleers alike went scoreless until the fourth inning, but after Wallace’s home run Wareham scored at least one run in three of the next four innings.
“That was a spark from Landon we needed,” manager Ryan Smyth said.
On and off the field, Wallace is one of the players on the team that can bring smiles as well as sparks. In batting practice prior to Saturday’s game, Wallace was walking around with a grin on his face, cracking jokes and staying relaxed.
“He’s always smiling, always talking,” Smyth said. “He’s a fun, energetic guy. He keeps our guys loose no matter if we’re up or down.”
While that’s his personality, it’s also part of what has made him so successful on the field.
“(I) give myself time to see the ball out of hand, relax,” Wallace said about his approach at the plate. “Just let the upper body relax so it’s easier to swing through.”
He said baseball is hard enough as it is, so he puts emphasis on not being too tense, especially in a league like the CCBL. Playing against some of the most talented baseball players in the country requires a certain mindset and level of motivation, one that Wallace clearly has.
“It’s honestly going to help you become better because everyone’s good,” he said. “The only way you can become good, and you can succeed, is just become better.”
Wallace’s positive attitude has already spread through the rest of the team, despite the fact that he has only played four games with the Gatemen so far. He’s not the only one on the team to play the role of the jokester, and that sort of fun, light-hearted mentality is what seems to be the driving force behind the Gatemen.
“There’s been a different vibe since he got here,” Smyth said. “He just keeps everyone loose. We got a bunch of guys that do it, so it’s been awesome having him here.”