Despite a late Gatemen rally, Cotuit snags its second win over Wareham, 7-6



That’s the name of the game when the Gatemen (14-6-1) lose and that was the common denominator on Wednesday night. Despite a Wareham rally in the ninth to put the tying run on third, the Cotuit Kettleers (13-8) closed it off to grab a 7-6 victory at Spillane Field.

“Yeah, it was a tough game, you know,” manager Ryan Smyth said. “But there's no quit in this team and that's always a good sign in the summer, seeing guys that want to win.”

First glance at the box score, you would insinuate the Gatemen dominated by outhitting and outpitching the Kettleers on paper with 15 hits at the plate and 13 combined strikeouts from the staff. However, the mental errors in the field and lack of plating runners in scoring position hurt the league’s best performing lineup in Wednesday’s matchup against a league rival.

At the plate, a trio of Gatemen held hot bats.

Bobby Boser (transfer portal) went 1-for-4 with a walk at the plate, now currently sitting 10 for his last 16 at-bats. Murf Gray (Fresno State) had himself another standout night, going 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles and an RBI. Antonio Jimenez (UCF), who continues to find his rhythm, slashed two loud hits including what would’ve been the go-ahead RBI in the sixth.

But a pair of errors late in the game and 12 Gatemen runners left on base is what it took to hand the Kettleers their second win over Wareham this season.

The Gatemen took advantage of a Cotuit miscue in the bottom of the first when both Boser and Reese Chapman (Tennessee) dashed home on a passed ball to give right-hander Tate McGuire (Arkansas) some breathing room in his fourth start of the season.

Working with a lead helped McGuire strike out five Kettleer hitters through two innings, but gave the momentum right back to Cotuit allowing a solo shot from Matt Klein (Louisville) and a two-out, two-strike double from Nolan Nawrocki (Clemson) to tie the game in the third.

Wareham and Cotuit traded blows for the next few innings until it was the Gatemen’s turn for mental miscues — first in the fifth and then in the top of the eighth.

Reliever Sam Mettert (St. John's) walked the first batter of the inning to start the fifth and later balked with runners on first and second to move them over, punished by an RBI single to left field scoring two runs the ensuing at-bat.

More self-inflicted wounds spoiled a 5-4 ballgame in the eighth when Anthony Susac (Arizona) and the defense gave up three runs. A pickoff with runners on the corners turned into a meltdown after first baseman Nate Earley (Louisville) sailed the ball to the backstop on a flat-footed throw home. The very next pitch, Susac airmailed a ball 10 feet over the catcher to put Cotuit up 7-5 heading into the last two innings of play.

In a game that started out well and turned stale very quick, Smyth knows what solution will solve the problem.

“We just got to slow the game down,” he said. “The good thing is it’s happening early in the season so we’re going to learn from it and be better next time.”

Sitting atop the West Division with a league-best .272 average and .809 OPS at the plate, complemented by 4.45 team ERA (fifth in the CCBL) and even better relief ERA of 4.14 (third), Smyth has long-term aspirations.

“Our goal isn't to win every single game,” he said. “It’s to play our best baseball into the playoffs and give ourselves the best shot at that point in the year.

“That's why these guys are out here to learn the game and be better baseball players when they go back to school.”

A kumbaya isn’t needed either for this squad, who turns around to face Falmouth on Thursday afternoon in the final home game of a three-game stretch at Spillane Field.

“They’re pissed off right now,” Smyth noted about his team who certainly hates to lose. “The good news is they’ll be ready to go tomorrow for sure.”

Top photo caption: Murf Gray peers into the field while sitting in the home dugout prior to his at-bat in Wareham's 7-6 loss to Cotuit at Spillane Field on July 10, 2024. Photo by Keegan Maloney.