By Blake Benard
Entering the ninth inning, it appeared the Falmouth Commodores were ready to lock up their first win of the season. Minutes later, they walked off the field still winless, victims of a wild 4-3 Wareham Gatemen (2-1) walk-off victory.
Falmouth is now 0-3.
After the Commodores rallied to take the lead with a three-run eighth, the Gatemen used a slew of wacky plays, defensive miscues and little bit of luck to bounce ahead and come away with the victory in their home opener at Spillane Field.
Wareham led off the ninth with back-to-back singles off Scott Politz (Yale), who was making his first appearance of the summer. With runners on first and second, Garret Zech (USF) bunted down the third base line. On the ensuing bang-bang play at first, the throw got past the covering Clayton Daniel (Jacksonville State). John Toppa (UCONN) scored on the tough-luck error charged to Daniel and Ben Baird (Washington) advanced to third.
The next batter, Brandon Lockridge (Troy), chopped a grounder to short that took a nasty hop off the cut of the grass and struck Falmouth shortstop Logan Davidson (Clemson) in the head. Baird scored to tie the game with Zech hustling it to second safely. Davidson stayed in the game after a brief medical visit.
The Clemson product saw action on the next batter, turning a slick unassisted 6-3 double play to calm things down. Zech advanced to third on the play.
With the winning run 90 feet away, Willie MacIver dropped a swinging bunt that rolled between first and the pitchers mound. Politz pounced on the play but bobbled the ball and MacIver reached safely, bringing home Zech from third and ending the game.
“The biggest thing that stands out is that we need to find a way to get an out on the bunt play,” assistant coach Hunter Morris said of the tough finish. “That’s the difference in the ball game.”
Falmouth is still winless on the summer but an turnaround seems eminent.
The Dores saw an outstanding start from Dalton Feeny (NC State). Hurling four strikeouts, the righty worked five scoreless innings to give the Commodores their best start of the season. He left in a scoreless tie.
“Oh man that was huge,” assistant coach Hunter Morris said. “That really set the tone for the night…it gave our hitters to stay in the game, stay engaged.”
Wareham took the early lead off Falmouth’s Tyler Blohm (University of Maryland) in the sixth but the lefty settled down for three innings of one-run ball in his Commodores debut.
“It gave our offense an opportunity plenty of time to answer back,” Morris said of the relief efforts.
They did just that.
Josh Breaux (McLennon CC) led off the frame with his second hit of the night. An error on the shortstop and a hustle bunt single from Dale Wickham (Cornell) loaded the bases for newcomer Lee Solomon (Lipscomb). He took a fastball in the square of the back for a painful, game-tying, RBI.
Daniel followed that up with a sacrifice fly to center and Davidson pushed a single through the right side to give Falmouth a 3-1 lead. It was Davidson’s first RBI of the summer.
That big inning ended a scoreless offensive drought that lasted 18 innings.
Breaux finished the night 2-for-4 with a run scored in his Commodores debut and handled the pitching staff well.
“Aggressive swings at the plate,” Morris explained. “Behind the plate, I don’t think we had one wild pitch or pass ball….He mixed well. He and Feeny got comfortable early.”
Blohm did have one wild pitch.
Falmouth will have a couple chances on Sunday to earn their first W of the season, taking on the winless Orleans Firebirds (0-3) for the first of two season double-headers.
Game One at 3:00 PM and Game Two after a short break. There are no posted probable starters for the games.