HARWICH – Forget the fireworks. The real excitement was at Whitehouse Field on July 6 when the Harwich Mariners swept the Wareham Gatemen mightily in a doubleheader that didn't disappoint. Harwich won the first game 2-0 before turning up the heat for the second en route to a 13-4 victory.
Game 1 saw the Mariners plate the only two runs of the game in the second inning when catcher Patrick Winkel hit a single to left with two outs and one man on base. After hopping on first, an error by Wareham left fielder Mike Antico paved the way for Winkel to keep going, as teammate Niko Kavadas raced successfully for home.
Next up was Chris Lanzilli with another single to left that allowed a determined Winkel to make it home, putting the Mariners up 2-0 after two.
After that it was up to the pitchers, with Harwich hurler Jacob Palisch having a stellar outing with 10 strikeouts, six hits, no runs, no walks, and no errors in a complete game effort. Palisch even weathered a catching change after a minor injury sidelined Winkel, and when asked if he wanted to step out in the seventh, opted to finish the game, forcing a fly out and a strikeout, with the final out coming on a throw to first after a dropped third strike.
Then came the fireworks.
After starting—and winning—pitcher Joe Boyle quickly retired Wareham's first three batters in Game 2, the home team dove headlong into competition. After a fly out from leadoff batter Dylan Neuse, Joey Wiemer, Jr., reached on a single. Another single, this time from Daniel Cabrera, put Wiemer in scoring position on second.
With two men on and one out, Christian Fedko drew the second out on an easily caught fly ball, but Niko Kavadas gave fans reason to cheer when he swung into a home run on his third pitch, bringing home Wiemer and Cabrera to give Harwich a 3-0 edge after one.
At the top of the second, Boyle was back in action and again sent the Gatemen packing in rapid fashion, clearing the way for more Mariner scoring. Michael Rothenberg led off with a single, with Tyler Keenan following suit. A fly out from Hal Hughes only interrupted the flow for a brief moment as Neuse stepped up and hit his own single to left, with Rothenberg making it home for another Harwich run.
Keeping the momentum going was Wiemer whose double brought in Neuse and Keenan, giving the Mariners a comfortable margin of 6-0 after two.
After a scoreless third, the Gatemen jumped onto the scoreboard in the fourth courtesy of Matt McLain's three-run homer, cutting the Mariner's lead in half. But the home team responded in the bottom of the fourth when Cabrera swung into a triple to right that brought in Wiemer, Keenan, and Hughes, putting Harwich ahead 9-3, with Cabrera making it 10-3 when he raced home on a double from Kavadas.
An error by Harwich second baseman Fedko let in one more Wareham run at the top of the sixth, but that would be the last. Meanwhile, the Mariners pushed three more across in the bottom of the frame, the first on a triple from Kavadas that brought in Lanzilli, with Kavadas scoring on a Wareham error. Keenan then brought in the final run with a double that scored Michael Ludowig, capping the score at 13-4.
Boyle earned the win in three innings of work in which he had five strikeouts, three walks, one hit and one run before relief pitcher Blake Espinal stepped in for the next three, fanning three with one hit and three runs. Closer Caden O'Brien came in for the seventh, striking out one and allowing one hit and no runs.
The Mariners host Cotuit tonight (July 11) beginning at 6:30 p.m. and travel to Cotuit for a 5 p.m. game tomorrow afternoon. On July 13 they travel to Wareham for a doubleheader that starts at 3 p.m. before returning home July 14 to host the Bourne Braves with a 5:30 p.m. start. On Monday the Mariners will hop over to South Yarmouth to face the Y-D Red Sox beginning at 5 p.m., and return home on Tuesday (7/16) to host Hyannis with a 6:30 p.m. start.