June 23, 2023 9:59 pm | by Amanda Foster
Before he even arrived in Wareham, Grant Hussey (West Virginia) was a highly anticipated member of the Gatemen roster. The first baseman earned an All-Big 12 Honorable Mention in the 2023 season with the Mountaineers, hitting .264 with 14 home runs and 46 RBI.
Hussey arrived ready to fulfill his dream of playing in the Cape League, excited to just play baseball. He hit a little bit of a bump in the road, with a costly error in Wareham’s loss to Yarmouth-Dennis Thursday, and only one hit and six strikeouts to his name in the first two games he played.
Friday night when the Gatemen faced the Chatham Anglers, in Hussey’s first game at Spillane Field, that quickly changed.
Batting in the seventh spot in the lineup, Hussey had enough power in his bat to have a fighting chance of scoring any runners that were able to reach base ahead of him. He reached the plate with a chance to do just that earlier than many expected, as the Gatemen jumped on Chatham pitcher Tanner Witt (Texas) immediately.
With two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the first inning, Hussey settled into the left-handed batter’s box. He watched two strikes sail past him before sending the next pitch sailing over the right field wall, prompting cheers from the Gatemen faithful and dugout alike.
As he rounded the bases and crossed the plate, he didn’t have too much on his mind or too much to say, but he didn’t need to. His bat spoke for him.
“It was pretty awesome,” Hussey said. “Finally getting that first barrel will just help me going forward.”
Hussey’s slam, traveling 366 feet at 101 miles per hour off the bat according to TrackMan, put Wareham up 5-1 after the first inning and created a cushion and sense of comfort for his teammates.
“We knew it was just a matter of time,” manager Ryan Smyth said. “It was the perfect timing for it, it was fantastic.”
Despite the perfect timing, Hussey behaved like it was any other hit. But it wasn’t all too surprising for him to be slightly more reserved afterward; that kind of performance is something that, rather than being out of the ordinary, is expected from a player like Hussey.
“The potential for that is there all the time,” Smyth said. “I see it in BP, and he was just waiting for it to translate into a game. It’s hard for these guys to maybe take a little bit of a breather after the season and then come out here and expect them to do what they did all year long when they’re not really in a groove yet.”
That potential Smyth saw, that prompted him to keep Hussey in the lineup for Friday night’s game, yielded a total of six RBI on three hits. The Gatemen beat the Anglers 8-4, so without Hussey, the game could have been incredibly different.
“He’s gonna be a force in the middle of our lineup,” Smyth said.
That force of Hussey’s bat doesn’t necessarily translate into his personality, though. The 6’3 rising junior makes himself known simply by his presence, and doesn’t always have a whole lot to say.
“He’s a gentle giant,” Smyth said. “He’s a little quiet right now, we’re going to get him out of his shell pretty soon here. He’s been an awesome kid.”