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Gatemen Ride Three Solo Homers to Second Win

By Barrett Hodgson

The Orleans Firebirds visited Spillane Field to take on the Wareham Gatemen. Orleans entered the game 2-1 and left 2-2 as the Gatemen won their second straight behind stellar pitching.

After a clean top of the 1st, the Gatemen put up two runs in the bottom half of the inning. Cade Fergus (George Washinton) got the scoring started with a solo home run that just cleared the right-center wall. On the very next pitch Owen Diodati (Alabama) stepped up and crushed another homer over the right field wall giving the Gatemen a 2-0 lead. 

The Firebirds picked up a run in the 4th after quiet 2nd and 3rd innings from both squads. Jonathan Brand (Miami Ohio) was absolutely dealing for the Gatemen before giving up his first base runner in the 4th. Jordan Sprinkle (UCSB) drew a leadoff walk before stealing 2nd and 3rd base. Connor Kokx (Cal St Long Beach) drove Sprinkle in on a RBI groundout to shortstop, cutting the Gatemen lead to 2-1. Brand exited the game after four complete, allowing the one baserunner and striking out four guys. 

Wareham tacked on a run in 5th and 6th innings to extend their lead to 4-1. Kade Kern (Ohio State) started off the 5th inning with a single to right and then swiped second base to get into scoring position. Jim Jarvis (Alabama) stepped up and delivered a single that should have kept Kern at 3rd, but a throwing error by the centerfielder led to Kern crossing home. In the 6th, catcher Jimmy Crooks (Oklahoma) stepped up and blasted a line drive home run to right. 

Orleans offered a scare in the top of the 9th, scoring one before Devereaux Harrison (Cal St Long Beach) shut the door on them. Rhylan Thomas (USC) delivered a one out single before Kokx stepped up and ripped a double to center. This put runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out for the dangerous Jace Jung (Texas Tech). Jung, who was the Big 12 player of the year in 2021, hit a grounder to shortstop to score Thomas. Harrison got the last batter of the game to pick up the save and give Wareham the 4-2 victory. 

Pitching was the main story for the Gatemen tonight as they got four innings a piece from Brand and Matt Svanson (Lehigh). Brand started the game and only allowed a run without giving up a hit. Svanson came in the top of the 5th and gave up zero runs while striking out six to set up Harrison for the save opportunity.

As for the bats Fergus, Dioadti, and Crooks all hit solo shots for the Gatemen. Fergus continued to get on base throughout the game going 1-2 with a home run and two walks. 

The Gatemen improve to 2-2 on the season and look to win their 3rd straight on Saturday, June 26th at Doran Park against Bourne.