Battle of the Bridge continues as Wareham travels to Bourne

7.3.24 Bourne @ Wareham-2

When the Wareham Gatemen win, they make sure they have fun doing it. They cheer in the dugout, they high-five as they run on and off the field and they stack hats and helmets on their star player’s head.

Needless to say, with a record of 11-4, the Gatemen are having a good time. In their most recent 8-6 win over the Bourne Braves, they proved they could set the tone early and stay focused in all areas throughout all nine innings. It took a combination of shutdown pitching and late-inning insurance runs to secure the win, as the Braves came close to tying the game multiple times in the final three innings.

“We haven’t played a whole lot of close games like that, so to go through some of those games right now and come out on the topside is a really good experience for our guys,” manager Ryan Smyth said.

The Gatemen are now 2-0 against the Braves, with a 7-3 comeback victory on June 22 at Doran Park and Wednesday night’s win at Spillane Field. The Gatemen have a chance to make it 3-0 against their division foe as they travel back to Doran Park for their Fourth of July matchup.

Wareham currently holds a dominant first-place position in the Cape League West Division, as the only team with double-digit wins in the division. Bourne, at 5-9 on the season, sit in fourth place. The Braves are 2-3 at home, while the Gatemen are 5-2 in away games.

Starting pitchers

Yoel Tejeda Jr. (transfer portal) will man the bump for the Gatemen in his second start of the season. In the right-hander’s first appearance in the 2024 summer season, against the Chatham Anglers, Tejeda recorded five strikeouts and allowed five hits and one unearned run in four innings of work, for an ERA of 0.00.

Bourne’s Joe Ariola (Wake Forest) will toe the rubber in his first start of the summer; Ariola has pitched 6 2/3 innings for the Braves across four games, but all have been in relief. The left-hander currently holds a 4.05 ERA with eight strikeouts to his name, but he has also allowed five walks and eight hits. In his sophomore season at Wake Forest, Ariola posted 4.85 ERA across 13 innings of work — all in relief — recording 18 strikeouts to just six walks. Opponents hit an average of .174 against the Demon Deacon.

Players to watch

Nate Earley (Louisville) set the tone in Wareham’s win over Bourne on Wednesday night, sending a home run sailing 412 feet to right field in his first at-bat of the night. It was the first long ball of the summer for Earley, who is now batting .250 with seven hits across 28 at-bats. The former JUCO prospect, who will transfer to Louisville for the 2025 season, struggled in his first few games in the CCBL but has since started to settle in at the plate and is beginning to make a difference for the Gatemen.

“He’s showing that he does belong,” Smyth said. “His confidence is building and I can’t wait to see where he’s going to be at the end.”

Ethan Conrad (Marist) continued his dominance at the plate Wednesday night despite Bourne’s loss, going 4-for-5 with three RBI. He is now batting .571 for the best batting average across the league and is on a seven-game hitting streak.

Thursday night’s game is scheduled for 6 p.m. first pitch at Doran Park. The game will be broadcast via Cape League TV.

Top photo credit: Bobby Boser celebrates after a grand slam in Wareham's 8-6 win over Bourne, July 3, 2024, at Spillane Field. Photo by Andrew Duffy.