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Gatemen keep playoff hopes alive as they sink Mariners 5-4

Grant Sherrod (USC Upstate) hits a home run during Wareham’s 5-4 win over the Harwich Mariners, July 26, 2023 at Spillane Field in Wareham. Photo by Maddy Djuric.

The Gatemen stole a must-needed Wednesday night, taking down the Harwich Mariners 5-4 to keep their playoff hopes alive. Wareham fell behind 3-2 but stayed determined and took back the lead in the final innings. 

“When you get effort like this this late in the season, no matter where you are in the standings, it just goes to show you these guys are still invested in this,” manager Ryan Smyth said. “They’re playing the game the right way which is what we’ve asked them to do from day one, no matter what and to show up and play hard. And they’re doing exactly what we want them to do.” 

Grant Hussey (West Virginia) started the seventh inning on first after reaching on a walk before Grant Sherrod (USC Upstate) replaced him via a fielder’s choice. Bayram Hot (Marist) lined a single to put runners on first and second for Jimmy Brennan (Post). Brennan, who returned to the Gatemen after being on the roster for just the first three games of the season, slapped an RBI single to score Sherrod and tie things up at three apiece. Hot, who had advanced to third on a stolen base and was able to take advantage of a wild pitch to snatch the lead right out from under the Mariners.

Chase Chatman (St. Thomas) started on the mound for the Gatemen, giving up two runs in the top of the first inning and forcing Wareham into an uphill battle. The southpaw threw for 4.1 innings of work and allowed just three runs on five hits before he was replaced by James Hepp (UCLA). 

The bottom of the second inning began with a Hussey single to give Wareham a baserunner. All Grant Sherrod needed was one swing of the bat at the first pitch and the ball sailed over the Harwich outfielders and fell just over the right field wall to tie things up at 2-2. Wareham hitting coach Mike Mobbs had all the faith in the world in Sherrod, and even predicted the excellent at-bat for his hitter. 

“Mobbs called a home run on that pitch,” Sherrod said. “He called the spot too and it’s kind of crazy.” 

Sherrod said he appreciates the support he has from a coach like Mobbs. 

“It’s great,” Sherrod said. “He’s working with me in the cage and he said that he felt like I was gonna get one today and he was right.”

Hepp (UCLA) came in for relief in the top of the fifth and pitched two scoreless innings and collected two Ks to keep the Gatemen in the game.

Wareham aimed to increase their lead in the bottom of the eighth with the bases loaded and just one out. Sherrod stepped into the box once again and faced the Harwich pitcher, who had elected to intentionally walk Hussey, the previous batter, to load the bases. Again on the first pitch, Sherrod grabbed another RBI with a single to bring JC Colon (Missouri) dashing across the plate.

Jackson Reid (Western Carolina transfer) looked to close things out when he came in in the top of the seventh inning with the Gatemen sitting just two runs ahead of the Mariners.

“I love those moments,” Reid said. “I live to come in close games and I knew when the ball got handed to me that it was mine to finish.”  

He threw the final 2.2 innings for the Gatemen and the defense came up big. The Mariners put a runner on first when Reid hit him with the pitch. The game tying run was then added via a walk and Wareham still had to record two more outs 

The Mariners slapped a single to bring in a run and cut the lead to one as the second runner turned the corner past third. Korey Morton (UConn), who came into right field as a defensive replacement, gunned down the runner and gave catcher Rene Lastres (UNC Charlotte) an easy tagout at home for the final out of the game and kept Wareham out of playoff elimination. 

“As soon as he hit it, I saw the guy slowed around third and I knew he had no chance,” Reid said. “Absolute hose from right field got him out at the plate. Rene made a great tag so it was a good way to end it.”

Sherrod had his fingers all over the scorebook tonight with three RBI on two hits. He emphasized the significance of the win for the Gatemen before going into the off day on Thursday.

“We were throwing strikes, hitting pitches we needed to hit but most important staying in it,” Sherrod said. “We’ve had a rough stretch of games but we’re talented enough to hang with anyone.”