There is no easy road to a league championship. On July 9th, Wareham’s record stood at 10-9. Over the Gatemen’s next five games, Wareham faced Cotuit ace Kevin Ziomek (Vanderbilt) twice as well as the Cape’s top pitcher, Hyannis’s Sean Manaea (Indiana State). In between battling some of the Cape’s top arms, the Gatemen blew a six-run lead to Harwich, allowing five runs in the top of the ninth and falling to the Mariners. Wareham dropped all five contests and never reached .500 again during the regular season. For some teams, that might have been the beginning of the end to a disappointing season; for Wareham, overcoming that adversity was a step in this season’s league championship run.
Much like those five games in July, Kyle Schwarber (Indiana) had a forgettable first eight innings of Friday afternoon’s Cape League championship finale. The Wareham left fielder struck out in all three of his at bats and dropped a pop fly in the fourth inning that allowed a runner to reach, then watched as Yarmouth-Dennis designated hitter Robert Pehl (Washington) drove the very next pitch over the center field wall to give the Red Sox a 2-0 lead. Down 5-2 in the top of the 9th inning, the Gatemen turned to the Schwarber, one of their least likely heroes that Friday afternoon. Just as the Gatemen had fought back, so did their left fielder. Schwarber’s 9th inning home run began a Wareham rally culminating in Mott Hyde’s (Georgia Tech) two-run shot that tied the game and sent the Gatemen and Red Sox to extra frames. In the top of the 10th, Schwarber struck again, hitting his second home run of the game and propelling Wareham to an 8-6 victory and their first championship in ten seasons.
In looking back at both the championship series and the Wareham season, many Cape League fans will be drawn to the ninth-inning comeback. The Gatemen’s dramatic ninth inning rally and eventual victory in a deciding game three will long stand as one of the more memorable moments in Cape League history. Still, this is only one part of the championship story. Another part of the championship run is how the Gatemen kept fighting. A team that clawed its way back from a losing streak in middle part of July, fought to win the second playoff seed on the league’s final day, and then came back on a Friday afternoon in South Yarmouth to give Wareham a championship.
The story is also the ability of a players to continue battling through the struggles of a long Cape League summer. Players that might have had a couple of bad at bats, innings, or games came through when their team needed them. Schwarber homered twice after striking out three times in the championship game. Closer Colby Suggs (Arkansas) came back after yielding two runs in the eighth inning to throw two more innings, giving the Gatemen his longest performance of the season and helping close out Yarmouth-Dennis. Tyler Ross (Louisiana State) played his best baseball of the season during the playoffs, homering twice against the Red Sox, double the number he hit in 36 regular-season games. Pitcher Fred Shepard (Amherst) struggled for a good part of the regular season but pitched well in the end and gave Wareham five strong innings against the league’s best hitting club on Friday. Certainly these are just a few stories of triumph from the 2012 Wareham season, but these likely played a major role in the Arnold Mycock Trophy ending the season in Wareham.
Congratulations to the 2012 Wareham Gatemen, 2012 Cape League Champions.Tweet