Gatemen's First Pitch Dinner introduces players to public

By Matthew Bernat | Jun 13, 2017
Photo by: Matthew Bernat Catcher Blake Sabol, left, joins his teammates and members of the public during the Gatemen's First Pitch Dinner on Tuesday.

Gatemen, meet Wareham. Wareham, meet the Gatemen.

On Tuesday, the night before the amateur summer baseball league celebrated Opening Day, players, host families, ball club officials and the public mingled in the Rosebrook Event Center during the 2nd annual First Pitch Dinner.

Gatemen President Tom Gay said the team has always had a preseason dinner just for players, officials and host families. Gay said the team decided to open it up for the public at large last year and introduce people to the players.

“Hopefully, this is the beginning of a good season,” said Gay. “We want the community to connect with the players and feel like they’re a part of the team.”

Last year, the team entered the Cape Cod Baseball League’s playoffs with high hopes. A string of close losses knocked them out of contention in the first round, but with several hot prospects, team officials said they hope the Gatemen will make a deep run this year.

One of those players, Blake Sabol, a catcher from the University of Southern California, was rated the No. 64 best player in the nation in his class and seventh-best catcher by Perfect Game USA.

Sabol said he’s looking forward to his first season with the Gatemen, adding he sees it as an opportunity to hone his skills.

“I want to improve for next season,” said Sabol. “And I’m definitely looking forward to playing against some of the top guys in the country.”

In high school, Sabol turned down a draft offer to play minor league ball, choosing instead to earn his degree and develop as a player.

Make no mistake, he hopes to reach the majors and sees the Gatemen and Cape Cod Baseball League as a stepping stone. Sabol said he has plenty of role models, including his older brother who played for the Mets’ double A franchise and friends that came up in other leagues alongside future Major League Baseball players.

“I’ve seen them watch their dreams come true,” said Sabol. “I’d like to be able to do that, too.”

The Gatemen’s first game of the season is June 14 against the Hyannis Harbor Hawks. First pitch is at 6 p.m. at McKeon Park, 120 High School Road, Hyannis.

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