July 20, 2023 10:11 pm | by Amanda Foster
As the sky turned purple and blue over the beach and Commodore Hendy Field at Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Garen Caulfield stood in the right-handed batter’s box with his bat raised above his head, ready for the first pitch of the at-bat. It was his fifth plate appearance of the night, and the Arizona Wildcat was ready to do some damage.
The bases were loaded and, thanks to a walk drawn by JC Colon (Missouri) two batters prior, the Wareham Gatemen held a slight 3-2 lead over the Falmouth Commodores. They knew the game wasn’t over yet, however, and with two outs on the board sat in the best possible position to extend their lead and seize all momentum.
Caulfield jumped on the opportunity to help his team, swinging and the first pitch he saw and sending it out to center field. As it bounced to the center fielder, Michael Brooks (Kansas) and Rene Lastres (Charlotte) transfer came around to score, and even though Caulfield was tagged out trying to turn his hit into a double, it didn’t matter. The Gatemen had the 5-3 lead.
“I just tried to get back to seeing pitches really well,” Caulfield said. “I feel like I got away from that the past couple of games. I just tried to refocus in with that, and it paid off a little bit.”
Thursday night marked one of Caulfield’s most successful games of the season, as he went 3-for-4 with one walk. He drove in two runs — the second game of his Cape League career in which he has recorded two RBI — so while the second baseman didn’t see a lot of action in the field, his bat more than made up for it.
Caulfield’s final hit of the night rounded out the full team effort that made up Thursday night’s 5-3 win over the Commodores, Wareham’s first since July 15. It was the first win Caulfield played in since July 7. However, recent Gatemen losses haven’t stopped Caulfield from playing some of his most high-quality baseball. His .323 batting average and 21 hits are both good for second-best on the active roster, and the combination of his performances at the plate and at second base were good enough for the Wildcat to be named a starter in the 2023 Cape Cod Baseball League All-Star Game.
“I try to take summer ball pretty serious, and it’s a good accomplishment,” Caulfield said after he was given the honor. “It was something I was kind of hoping to do when I came out here, and I’m pretty thankful for the opportunity.”
Caulfield has good reason to take his summer seriously; he’s worked hard to get where he is. After spending two seasons at San Joaquin Delta College, a junior college in California, the Sacramento native transferred to Arizona. He didn’t play during either of his junior college seasons because they were either partially or completely canceled due to COVID-19.
In his two seasons as a Wildcat, Caulfield holds a career .264 batting average and .957 fielding percentage. In 2022, he hit for the third-highest batting average on the team at .292 and was selected to the Pac-12 All-Tournament Team. Throughout his time with Arizona, Caulfield has been a reliable bat, and it’s carried over to the Gatemen this summer.;
“That was a huge hit,” manager Ryan Smyth said about Caulfield’s eighth-inning hit. “Right man, right spot…it put us in a position where there was a little cushion and a little breathing room. You didn’t have to be perfect in the last inning and that helped us out a lot, and that’s exactly why he’s an All-Star.”