Game 28 Recap: Gatemen blow lead in ninth, settle for 2-2 tie
COTUIT –The Gatemen and Kettleers ended yesterday’s game in a 2-2 deadlock after playing 10 innings. This marked the first time that Wareham has tied a game this season.
The Gatemen took the lead in the top of the first and held it all the way until the Kettleers tied the game in the bottom of the ninth.
Ryan Garcia (1-1, 2.25 ERA) and Easton Lucas (1-1, 0.91 ERA) kept the Gatemen in the game they combined to pitch the first 8.1 innings of the game allowing two runs. The pair allowed just seven base runners (five hits and two walks) while striking out six Kettleers.
“They did a great job, they kept us in. Ryan Garcia battled. He did not have his best stuff, but he battled. That’s who he is,” Don Sneddon said.
“Lucas was exceptional. He just did not unfortunately stop him on that one hit. Give them credit, but that’s why you have to score some runs,” Sneddon said. “It’s tough to keep teams to one run in this league.”
For most of the game, it looked like Wareham would walk away with a win, but Lucas ran into trouble to start the ninth.
Lucas trotted back out for the ninth inning with his pitch count rising and already at 64 pitches. On a 2-2 count, Ryan Reynolds worked a single to begin the inning. The next batter, Duke Ellis, dropped down a perfect sacrifice bunt to advance Reynolds to scoring pitching.
With one out recorded, the Gatemen made the call to the bullpen as Lucas’ day was done as Zach Hart was summoned to get the final two outs of the game.
“He [Lucas] was right at the limit of his pitch count. He wanted to go back out, but the summer is much bigger than this particular game,” Sneddon said.
The first batter Hart faced was Brady Smith from Florida. Smith was already 1-3 on the day and in the midst of a five-game hitting streak entering the at bat. Hart’s first pitch to Smith an off-speed pitch in at the belt for strike one. His next pitch was a fastball that missed up at 92 mph.
Smith took Hart’s next pitched and shot it right back up the middle. Reynolds came around to score easily on the Smith RBI single. Just like that, a lead Wareham had since the top of the first inning with one out, was erased.
“We have all the confidence in Hart. We had all right handers coming up, so it was a good matchup,” Sneddon said.
Without further damage, Hart closed out the bottom of the ninth and the game went into extras.
In the extra frame, both offenses were nonexistent as only one batter reached base before the game ended in the 2-2 tie due to darkness at Lowell Park, where no field lights are present.
On the whole, the Gatemen offense did not get much going all evening. Gian Martellini had two hits and recorded his second multi-hit game of the season, both of which have come at Lowell Park.
The only other hitter in the Wareham lineup to produce offensively was none other than Isaac Collins. Collins was back in the leadoff spot for the second game in a row and he went 3-5 with a stolen base and a run. The past two games, Collins is batting .600.
“Collins has been the key for this team. Here’s a guy who came in as a temporary player and we did not know if he’d be able to stick with us or not and he’s a second baseman/shortstop by trade and we’ve asked him to play the outfield and he’s done it exceptionally,” Sneddon said.
“He’s done a great job. What a great kid, great player. He’s gaining confidence every day, getting good hacks. Even the outs he made were hard.”
Another Gatemen who left his mark on this game was Skyler Hunter. Despite going 0-4 at the plate, Hunter displayed his range in the outfield with two outstanding running catches.
Zach Biermann led off the game for Cotuit by smashing a ball into the right center field gap. Hunter was immediately on the run and caught as the ball as he went into a slide, robbing Biermann of extra bases.
In the bottom of the eight, the Kettleers had runners on the corners and two down. Once again, a ball was crushed towards right center field. This time Hunter made the catch standing up, but he covered a lot of ground to keep the Gatemen ahead 2-1 at that point.
“I try and see where the catcher is set up, so I can get a good read on the bat and get a good jump on the ball,” Hunter said. “On those two, I got really good jumps and used the speed to track it down. I don’t plan on any balls to fall, it’s my job to catch them all.”
Final: Gatemen 2, Kettleers 2
Next up: The Gatemen (16-10-1) take on the Cotuit Kettleers (12-12-2) again today, this time in Wareham. First pitch at 6:30 p.m. from Spillane Field.