08/15/2012 10:28 PM
Article By: John Garner Jr.
SOUTH YARMOUTH, Mass. – Late-game heroics by catcher Tyler Ross and flame-throwing Colby Suggs enabled Wareham to take first blood in the Cape League's Championship Series Wednesday.
After lining an RBI single in the seventh inning, Ross towered a 1-1 pitch over the center field wall in the top of the ninth to lift the visiting Gatemen to an exciting 5-4 win over Yarmouth-Dennis in Game 1 of the best-of-three finals before 2,323 fans at Red Wilson Field.
The 6-0, 225-pound Suggs earned the save with a three-strikeout ninth inning, throwing several blazing fastballs in the 94-97 MPH range.
The loss spoiled a brilliant 12-strikeout pitching performance over seven innings by Red Sox right-handed starter Andrew Thurman (Cal-Irvine), who allowed three runs on five hits and one walk.
Kendall Graveman (Mississippi St.) started for the Gatemen, allowing four runs on seven hits and two walks in seven innings, with four strikeouts.
Y-D took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the second on an RBI double by Alex Blandino (Stanford), a squeeze bunt and a bases-loaded walk.
Wareham got a run back in the top of the third on an RBI single by Cole Sturgeon (Louisville), but the Red Sox regained their three-run cushion in the bottom of the third on a solo blast by Robert Pehl (Washington).
The Gatemen cut it to 4-2 in the top of the fourth on a homer by Daniel Palka (Georgia Tech), then made it a one-run game in the seventh on a run-scoring single by Ross.
With runners on second and third in the top of the eighth, Palka drove in the tying run on a grounder to first base against reliever Jonathan Holder (Mississippi St.), setting the stage for the heroics by Ross and Suggs.
Zak Blair (Mercyhurst) made the defensive play of the game for Y-D in the eighth inning when he fielded a drive off the top of the right-field fence by Ethan Gross (Memphis) and threw out the Wareham shortstop with a perfect throw to second base.
Ross and Dustin DeMuth (Indiana) each had two hits for the Gatemen while Palka and Ross drove in two runs apiece. Pehl and Blair led the Y-D attack with two hits apiece.
Wareham can close out the series with a home win tonight at Clem Spillane Field, starting at 7 p.m. If Y-D wins, the decisive contest will be back in South Yarmouth Friday at 4 p.m.