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Jimmy Brennan steps up in a big way in return to the Gatemen

Jimmy Brennan (Post) after hitting a game-tying single during Wareham’s 5-4 win over the Harwich Mariners, July 26, 2023 at Spillane Field in Wareham. Photo by Maddy Djuric.

As the sun set over Spillane Field Tuesday night, Wareham Gatemen manager Ryan Smyth stood by the third base line with a small group of players. The scoreboard read 3-3 in the seventh inning, and the Harwich Mariners were enacting a pitching change in an attempt to keep the Gatemen from gaining any more momentum — or the lead.

The man responsible for the tying run coming around to score jogged over to the line to join the group, earning a celebratory high-five from his skipper. That man? Jimmy Brennan.

If his name sounds familiar, it’s because it is. Brennan was a member of the Gatemen for the first four days of the season in the beginning of June before he was released. He had the opportunity of a lifetime to play for the Gatemen once again, and Brennan’s return was nothing less than triumphant as he helped lead the team to a 4-3 victory.

The catcher out of Post University came up to the plate with the chance to do some damage in the seventh inning, with two runners on base and only one out. The Gatemen trailed by one and were running out of time. Brennan, itching to record his first hit as a Gateman, took a called strike before roping a single to left field. Grant Sherrod (USC Upstate) came around to score and Brennan, who almost fell over himself in his haste to make it to first base, was able to prove why he deserved to come back to the Cape League.

“Finally,” Brennan said about getting his first hit of the season. “It was a good time for it to come.”

In the three games he played in the beginning of June, Brennan reached base via walks and a hit-by-pitch and made solid contact with the baseball, but was unable to reach base of his own accord. In his first two at-bats Tuesday night, Brennan was sat down on strikeouts as he readjusted to the high-level Cape league pitching he was facing. 

Jimmy Brennan (Post) bats during Wareham’s 5-4 win over the Harwich Mariners, July 26, 2023 at Spillane Field in Wareham. Photo by Maddy Djuric.

Brennan, who embodies a great deal of the grittiness and determination the Gatemen aim to play with, didn’t let that get to him.

“He’s not backing down from anything,” Smyth said. “Two punch-outs early in the game and comes back with probably one of if not the biggest hits in the game. So it just goes to show you where his mindset’s at and the type of kid that he is.”

As a Division II ballplayer, Brennan was somewhat overshadowed when he came to the Cape, but Smyth noticed his talent, personality and potential. So when the Gatemen needed another catcher for the final games of the season, Smyth jumped on the chance to bring Brennan back.

“There’s a lot of guys I think I’d love to have back that played the game the right way and played hard,” Smyth said. “You’re looking for guys that are eager to play baseball at this point and are going to play the game the way you ask them to.”

Brennan did indeed do what his coaches asked him to, as the catcher took up the role of right fielder Wednesday night. He made multiple key catches throughout the game, and that versatility was another bullet point on the long list of reasons to bring Brennan back.

“I was really hoping for an opportunity to come back,” Brennan said. “I’m glad it came along and I’m just trying to make the most of it.”

After his short stint in the beginning of the summer, Brennan now has the opportunity to show who he is as a baseball player and a person for the rest of Wareham’s season. He has all the drive and motivation a coach could ask for, and that attitude can easily spread throughout a clubhouse. It could be just what the Gatemen need to finish the season strong.

“Jimmy is an awesome kid,” Smyth said. “He’s an energetic kid that goes to a Division II school, and he’s probably overlooked a little bit just because of size, but his size doesn’t mean anything when you’ve got the mentality he has.”