July 25, 2023 12:15 am | by Joanna Dwyer
The Gatemen climbed back on the bus for a double header against their division rival Bourne Braves. Game one showed a similar pattern to the majority of the road games Wareham has played this season, as Bourne claimed a dominant 7-1 victory.
Wareham struggled on both sides of the ball, as they were no-hit through five of the seven innings. The Gatemen were able to get a few base runners on throughout the night, but left them stranded. Grant Hussey (West Virginia) was able to break the drought with a single right up the middle in the top of the sixth.
Aidan Major (West Virginia) started on the mound for the Gatemen, but struggled finding the zone. The righty walked a season-high four batters in an uncharacteristically short 2.1 innings of work and allowed three earned runs.
Bryson Shaffer (Coastal Carolina) came in for relief and worked 2.2 innings while giving up three runs during his time on the mound before Jimmy Chatfield (Yale) closed out the final inning.
Luckily, the Gatemen were able to get one run on the board to avoid the shutout. Wareham had the bases juiced in the top of the seventh as Michael Brooks (Kansas) stepped into the box. On the first pitch of the at-bat, Brooks was hit by the pitch and Josh Stevenson advanced from third to home for a run.
After the conclusion of game one, the Gatemen took the break to reevaluate their strategy moving into game two.
Game two was exactly the game the Gatemen needed. Everything was working together on both sides of the ball. In a beatdown of the Braves, Wareham took a 7-0 win to claim their second road win of the season.
Yoel Tejeda (Florida State transfer) made his final start on the mound for the Gatemen this season. After a successful outing against the Chatham Anglers, Tejeda shifted his positive momentum from that game into the second game of the double header.
“I was just trying to finish strong,” Tejeda said. “I had a great week last week and I tried to replicate that and it worked out and I’m very happy about it.”
Tejeda was sending batter after batter back to the dugout with five Ks and just one walk. He allowed just three hits through five innings as he ended his 2023 Cape League season with a win.
“It feels good because even when I used to play on the field, I knew that once you had a good pitcher on the mound that was getting you outs and was doing what he was supposed to do, it was a lot easier to play through that,” Tejeda said. “That’s just my goal. I always try to make the defense comfortable and let the hitters go out there and compete.”
The Gatemen bats sparked in the top of the second. Hussey grabbed the first Wareham hit of the game with a long double. Brooks then smacked an RBI single to give the Gatemen their first lead of the day, one they would never relinquish. Grant Sherrod (USC Upstate) hustled to first and extended the inning when he reached on an error. Korey Morton (UConn) approached the batter’s box as the runners led off second and third with two outs. After seeing one strike, Morton launched a three-run bomb over the left field wall for his first Wareham hit and gave the Gatemen a 4-0 lead going into the bottom of the second.
The Wareham bats were held at bay for a bit before they went off for another hot streak in the top of the fifth. Morton started off the inning with a walk before he dashed to second for a stolen base. The Gatemen were in another two-out situation and looked to do damage before the inning was over. Garen Caulfield (Arizona) hit an RBI single to bring Morton home and increase the lead to 5-0. Caulfield said the strong defensive outing helps impact the team on offense.
“It keeps a good tempo out there and keeps us on our toes and ready for every pitch,” Caulfield said. “It also helps out the offense so we can spend more time hitting than we do on defense.”
Hussey followed up Caulfield’s single with one of his own to right field to put two runners on. Hussey ended game two going 3-4 at the plate with two runs, after coming off a strong performance at the All-Star game this past weekend.
“I actually got a couple of hits in the All-Star game and I had been slumping here lately,” Hussey said. “I think that helped me and I brought it into today.”
James Hepp (UCLA) entered the game in the top of the sixth and was able to help close out the game for Wareham’s first shutout of the season. The Bruin pitcher tossed the final two innings and forced a double play in the sixth and closed the book on Bourne in the seventh with a strikeout for the final out of the game and the first Wareham road win since Opening Day.
“It feels good,” Caulfield said. “Hopefully we can stop talking about it now and then hopefully that starts a little win streak for us.”
For manager Ryan Smyth, it was important for his team to prove that they could in fact, get key wins away from Spillane Field.
“It feels fantastic,” Smyth said. “ It’s good to know that we can do this. First road win and shutout of the year I believe so to do both of them on the same day, that’s very fitting for us.”
The Gatemen will travel to Eldredge Park to face the Orleans Firebirds for the final time in the regular season.
“It’s just another road game,” Caulfield said. “We’re not going to treat it as anything special, just another game and try to play our best. It’s a long drive and hopefully we can get off the bus ready to go tomorrow.”