July 29, 2023 11:40 pm | by Joanna Dwyer
Wareham was officially eliminated from playoff contention on Saturday night after an extra-innings loss to Falmouth. After leading by as many as three runs, the Gatemen fell to the Commodores 9-8.
The Gatemen bats were hot throughout the night despite the loss. Wareham recorded 15 hits over the ten innings of play, but it was not enough to overcome Falmouth. The game was tight, going back and forth for the lead. Wareham started off strong with a two-spot in the top of the first inning. JC Colon (Missouri) and Michael Brooks (Kansas) put two runners on with two outs and Grant Sherrod (USC Upstate) looked to do some damage before the third out and smacked a two-run single.
Falmouth would not fall behind so easily, however, as they put up two runs of their own on starter Riley Eikhoff (Coastal Carolina) in the next half inning. Back-to-back doubles in the bottom of the second gave Falmouth a 3-2 lead.
Three was the lucky number as Wareham tied things up 3-3 in the top of the third. Dorian Gonzalez (University of Miami) and Brooks both singled before Grant Hussey (West Virginia) hit a sacrifice RBI to send Gonzalez across the plate.
Packy Bradley-Cooney (Campbell) came in for relief of Eikhoff in the bottom of the third. He gave up two walks and an RBI single in the bottom of the third before settling it. The righty then got to work and pitched 4.1 innings and held the Commodores at bay, giving up just two runs and one hit while striking out five batters in his first outing with the Gatemen.
Wareham looked to pull away from the Commodores in the top of the fifth. Brooks had his second of three hits on the night with a two-out single to bring Hussey up to bat. After seeing the first pitch, Hussey smashed his second home run in as many days to bring in two runs and take back the lead 5-4.
A scoreless sixth inning by both teams would bring up an action-packed seventh. Colon singled to start off the inning and made his way to third on a couple of wild pitches. Brooks then lined an RBI double to bring Colon home. Hussey followed that up with a double of his own before Sherrod scored Brooks with an RBI single to increase Wareham’s lead 7-4.
Falmouth was ready to battle back in the bottom of the seventh. The bases were loaded with three walks before the Commodores fired off two singles to bring in three runs and tie the game up for the third time in the night.
Jackson Reid (Western Carolina transfer) came in for relief to try and close things out for Wareham. Reid continued his dominance on the mound and pitched 2.2 scoreless innings while allowing just one hit. He did his job on the bump and forced a tagout at home to save a run and struck out the Commodore batter for the third out to send the game into the extra tenth inning.
Hussey stood on second base as the ghost runner in the top of the tenth. Sherrod walked before they were both moved into scoring position by Bobby Boser’s (USF) sacrifice bunt. Josh Stevenson (Ohio State transfer) hit the ball sky high into centerfield to buy Hussey enough time to run home and tack on a point for the Gatemen, but Sherrod was left stranded as Jimmy Brennan (Post) struck out to end the offensive attack.
Joshua Lanham (Lenoir-Rhyne) climbed the mound as Wareham held a one-run lead over Falmouth. The Commodore ghost runner moved to third on a single to put the winning run on first. The Commodore on first then stole second to put them both in scoring position. Falmouth inserted a pinch hitter who lined a single under a diving Hussey at first base but it was too late; two runs came across the dish as the Commodore dugout flooded the field and the Gatemen were officially eliminated from playoff contention.
Although they will not be playing in the postseason, manager Ryan Smyth still expects 100% effort from his team in the final games.
“Keep playing baseball,” Smyth said. “Till the very last out of the season, till the very last out of the game, keep playing the game the right way and represent well.”
Wareham still has four more games to go before the conclusion of their 2023 season with the next being a home matchup against the Cotuit Kettleers on Sunday night.