Recap: Roberts' Sensational Start, Pompey's Late Magic Gives Gatemen Big Win

By Wareham Gatemen | Jul 15, 2017
Photo by: Claudia Chakamian

Griffin Roberts may have entered the summer as one of the top closers in the country, but he is quickly emerging as one of the best starters in the Cape League.

 

In what was the most prominent performance from a Gatemen starter to date, Roberts fired home six shutout innings on Saturday afternoon before Brett Conine came in and slammed the door as Wareham knocked off Cotuit, 1-0, at Lowell Park.

 

Roberts was selected to participate in the 2017 Cape Cod Baseball League All-Star Game earlier Saturday morning.

 

The Gatemen (12-15-1) staff, which included two scoreless innings from Fitz Stadler sandwiched between Roberts and Conine, surrendered just two meager base hits and faced two over the minimum.

 

Leading 1-0 entering the bottom of the ninth, the Gatemen immediately found themselves in trouble.

 

Stadler, who worked the seventh and the eighth, walked the leadoff man to bring the winning run to the plate.

 

Pitching coach Jim Lawler called on Conine to finish it off, and the Cal State Fullerton closer did just that. Conine struck out Griffin Conine, Michael Toglia, and Brett Kinneman all via his off-speed repertoire to finish off the one run win.

 

Gatemen coach Don Sneddon said the staff’s performance was as good as one will see.

 

“That was just a gutty performance all around,” said Sneddon. “We had to have that there in order to win. Conine there really fooled them with the off-speed facing all those lefties. No question that was the best performance we have had from a starter.”

 

Roberts, who saved eight games back at school for Wake Forest, showcased a Friday night starter’s potential on Saturday. The right-hander went six smooth innings, allowing just a lone infield single, walking no one, and striking out six.

 

While Roberts at times is known for his ability to be a power pitcher, he displayed a keen ability to pitch to contact. Cotuit managed to only hit one ball out of the infield off of Roberts – a fly out to centerfield to leadoff the bottom of the sixth.

 

Exceptionally efficient, Roberts fired home just 60 pitches over the six frames, 42 of which were strikes. When not getting opposing left-handed power threats like Conine and Jenista to wave aimlessly over his slider, he was able to get his two-seam fastball over for strikes.

 

Using the two-seamer, Roberts induced 11 groundball outs.

 

Pitching coach Jim Lawler noted Roberts’ improvement with the two-seamer.

 

“That was the big thing for him today with all those lefties,” said Lawler. “He really attacked with the two-seamer. He did an outstanding job. Sixty pitches in six innings, pretty hard to do.”

 

To compliment his two-seamer that hovered in the low-to-mid 80s, Roberts sat between 91 and 93 miles per hour with his four-seam fastball. He topped out at 95 miles per hour.

 

Roberts said Cotuit’s aggressiveness played to his advantage.

 

“They were swinging early trying to get balls in play early,” said Roberts. “I thought one of my best pitches today was definitely my two-seamer with the late life with it. It got me a lot of groundballs.”

 

Wareham broke the classic pitcher’s duel in the top of the eighth.

 

A pair of Gatemen All-Star selections began the rally as Kyle Kasser singled up the middle and Willie MacIver doubled down the left field to give the Gatemen two men in scoring position.

 

Two batters later, Tristan Pompey (Kentucky) broke the scoreless tie lining a broken bat single up the middle to score Kasser and put the Gatemen in front, 1-0.

 

“We left so many out there the odds were we had to get one,” said Sneddon. “We got the run in, (Pompey) got the job done, but we have to improve there if we want to make a run.”

 

That was all Wareham was able to muster offensively, as Kettleers’ Michael Byrne induced a pair of groundouts to limit the damage to just one.

 

 

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