FALMOUTH — After back-to-back two-run innings and the tying run at the plate in the seventh frame, Falmouth Commodores pitcher Tyler Dyson turned his back to the field face the home bleachers at Guv Fuller Field “Come on,” he bellowed. “Let’s go.”
Screams, claps and the echoing of feet pounding on the metal bleachers soon filled the previously silent airwaves. But Wareham Gatemen left fielder Jeremy Ydens snagged a deep shot from Matt Wallner that fell short of the wall and Falmouth never again came close to evening the score.
After taking the lead in the first inning and extending the advantage with a five-run fifth inning, the Gatemen clinched a 7-4 win against Falmouth on Thursday to send them to the Cape League championship for the first time since they won the title in 2012.
Wareham, the regular season and playoff champions in the West Division, will take on either the Chatham Anglers or the Brewster Whitecaps. Chatham leads the series, 1-0, and the second game will be played on Friday. The Commodores’ loss dashed their hopes of ending a championship drought that predates manager Jeff Trundy and spans back to 1980.
One day after Wareham manager Don Sneddon referred to Austin Shenton (Florida International) and Isaac Collins (Creighton) as his team’s MVPs of the season, they sparked an offensive outburst.
Not many pitchers could stop Shenton during the regular season and his success has continued into the playoffs. Wareham’s leader in batting average went 7-for-11 in his team’s first three playoff games and didn’t waste any time picking up his eighth hit.
In the third at-bat of the game, Shenton took Falmouth starting pitcher Scott Politz (Yale) deep over the right-field fence for his third home run of the playoffs.
The score remained 1-0 until Collins hit his second RBI triple in two days, knocking in two runs to begin a five-run fifth inning.
The Gatemen, who scored the most runs of any team in the regular season, managed just four runs in their one-run win against Falmouth on Wednesday. But in the series clincher, they scored four before even recording a single out in the fifth inning.
Jakob Goldfarb (Oregon) followed Collins’ two-run triple with a line-drive single to right field that scored Collins. With the bases loaded, Drew Millas (Missouri State) hit an RBI single. Then, Shenton raced home for the fifth run of the inning after reliever Mitchell Miller (Clemson) threw a pitch behind Lael Lockhart Jr. that hit the backstop.
Shenton, Collins and Millas each had two hits. Eight of Wareham’s nine starters had hits, and they combined for 11 base-knocks.
Falmouth responded to Wareham’s five-run frame with back-to-back two-run innings.
In the bottom of the fifth, Falmouth’s Logan Davidson scored his team’s first run on a groundout and Herbert Iser crossed home plate due to an error by the second baseman. The following inning, Cameron Cannon scored on a dropped third strike and Iser knocked in the Commodores’ fourth run on a sacrifice fly.
The Commodores, however, could not string together enough hits to close the three-run deficit.