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‘Somer Lovin’: Patriots Series Recap

Game 1 – Grant Gambrell (0-0 1.69 ERA) vs Richard Fitts (2-3 5.26 ERA)

The Somerset Patriots returned home for a 6-game set with the first place Portland Sea Dogs. The stars were out on Tuesday as Yankees OF/DH Giancarlo Stanton, 3B Josh Donaldson and RP Tommy Kahnle all rehabbed in Bridgewater. 

All 3 looked to still be shaking the cobwebs but are trending in the right direction. 

As for the game as a whole, Richard Fitts took the mound and continued to finish off his strong month of May going 6 IP, 2 R, 8 H, 8 K, 1 BB and struck out 8+ for the third time this season, throwing a career high 100 pitches in the ballgame. While the Pats lineup was loaded, starter Grant Gambrell of Portland brought his A game,  allowing only one run on 3 hits in 7 innings. The lone run came on a solo shot by Trey Sweeney, who seemed to be the only Patriot seeing the ball well. Sweeney was 1-for-3 with a HR, and accounted for the lone run in a 3-1 loss. Caleb Durbin made a SportsCenter top play as well in this one, but the series got off to a shaky start for the Pats.


Game 2 – Clayton Beeter (2-2, 3.03 ERA) vs. Brian Van Belle (2-2, 2.80 ERA)

Game 2 saw Clayton Beeter take the mound, and he just continues to shine here in 2023. Beeter (5.1 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 3 K) logged his second straight shutout and fourth of the season. The Yankees No. 13 prospect lowered his season ERA to 2.66, good for fourth in the Eastern League among qualified pitchers. His three strikeouts brought his season total to 52, ranking third in the Eastern League. 

The offense was powered by both Jeisson Rosario and Mickey Gasper, who provided all the offense Beeter and the Pats needed in this one. Rosario (1-for-3, HR, 2 RBI) put Somerset on the board with a two-run blast in the second inning, scoring Caleb Durbin. The homer was good for Rosario’s sixth of the season, the second of which came against the Sea Dogs. Gasper (1-for-2, HR, 2 R) extended the Patriots lead to 4-0 with a solo shot in the 5th inning, marking his first home run with Somerset this season and second overall. Gasper accounted for two of Somerset’s four runs, scoring on a TJ Rumfield sacrifice fly in the 3rd inning after reaching on a hit-by-pitch.

Somerset tied the series up at 1 heading into Thursday’s matchup.


Game 3 – Gray Fenter (2-2, 3.64 ERA) vs. Sterling Sharp (1-0, 5.40 ERA)

You like drama?! Thursday night’s game was full of it! Gray Fenter manned the hill for the Patriots and, unfortunately, did not have his best stuff. Fenter went 3.2 IP, 7 R, 8 H, 5 K and Somerset was down big through 5 innings with the night looking like a blowout for the Sea Dogs. What’s that old saying? “Patience is a virtue?” Well, the Pats certainly showed it by having the bases loaded in the bottom of the 6th.

Both Austin Wells and Tyler Hardman drew key walks to get the Patriots on the board. Anthony Seigler drove in Trey Sweeney on a sac fly to get the Patriots within 4, trailing Portland 7-3 going into the 7th. 

The Patriots once again loaded the bases and, this time, they really made the Sea Dogs pay. Austin Wells once again walked, forcing in another run, now cutting the deficit to 7-4. Up stepped Tyler Hardman, and the Somerset third baseman launched an electric go-ahead grand slam over the wall in center field, sending the crowd (and myself, while watching at home with my 9-month pregnant wife) into a frenzy!

The Bridgewater Bombers weren’t done. Jasson Dominguez hit an opposite field 3-run shot over the right field wall to extend the lead to 11-7, and the game of the year ended with a HUGE win. 

Hardman ended the game 1-for-3, with a HR and 5 RBI, and Jasson Dominguez went 1-for-4 with a HR, 3 RBI and scored 2 R. The Patriots worked 10 walks in the ballgame, their most since May 12 (which was also against Portland). Somerset’s late-inning offensive explosion was backed by 5.1 combined scoreless innings of relief from Steven Jennings, Justin Wilson, and Tanner Myatt.

Game 4 – Blane Abeyta (2-3, 6.75 ERA) vs. Wyatt Olds (0-1, 6.33 ERA)

Friday night saw Caleb Durbin return to the Somerset lineup. Coming off what was easily their best win of the year, the Patriots kept their foot on the gas pedal. Blane Abeyta got the start and was strong through 6 innings of work, finishing the day going 6 IP, 3 R, 5 H, 7 K. Over two starts vs. Portland this season, Abeyta has struck out 17 in 12 IP, allowing only two walks.

As for the offense, Tyler Hardman launched yet another long ball! Hardman (2-for-5, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R) has homered in back-to-back games for the second time this season and fifth time in his career. Hardman’s 10 HR on the season lead the Patriots and tied for the fourth-most in the Eastern League. The 2 RBI performance marked Hardman’s 8th multi-RBI game of the season, tied for the most of any Patriot. Caleb Durbin didn’t miss a beat as he went 2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R and hit his first homer of the season as part of a multi-hit night.

Durbin extended his on-base streak to 12 games, over which he’s hitting .319/.396/.468 with 11 R. Durbin has scored at least 1 R in five of Somerset’s last six games. Durbin’s steal of third base in the 1st inning was his organization-leading 26th of the season and 11th in 18 G since his promotion to Somerset. The Patriots capped off another high scoring win defeating the Sea Dogs 9-7, with Abeyta earning his third win of the year.


Game 5 – Yoendrys Gomez (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Chih-Jung Liu (4-3, 3.92 ERA)

Saturday’s game started out with a bang for the Patriots, as they looked to clinch a series win against Portland.

Austin Wells (2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R) immediately got the scoring started with a solo blast in the 1st inning, his eighth homer of the season and ninth overall.

Wells has 5 RBI over his last three games and 25 in 43 games for Somerset this season. Tyler Hardman (1-for-4, HR) went back-to-back with Wells, adding a solo blast of his own the following at-bat. Hardman has homered in three straight games for the first time in his career. Hardman’s 11 HR on the season lead the Patriots and tied for the third-most in the Eastern League. The opposite field homer left Hardman’s bat at 111.5 MPH.

Jasson Dominguez (2-for-3, RBI, BB) put the Patriots within one run with his RBI single in the 7th inning.  The Yankees’ top prospect reached base three times, putting together his eighth multi-hit performance of the season.  Dominguez extended his on-base streak to ten games, matching his longest of the season. His first inning walk marked his 41st of the season, tops in the Eastern League.

Yoendrys Gomez got the start for the Pats and threw, well going 2.2 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 2 K. The good performance was not good enough for a win, however, as the bullpen gave up 4 runs and the Sea Dogs took Game 5 4-3 in a close one going into the series finale. 


Game 6 – Richard Fitts (2-4, 4.96 ERA) vs. Grant Gambrell (1-0, 1.62 ERA)

Some Sunday matinee baseball saw a rematch of Game 1, as Richard Fitts and Grant Gambrell took the ball for the second time this series. As we remember, Gambrell held that star-studded Patriots lineup with both Josh Donaldson and Giancarlo Stanton in it to just 3 hits. This time around Gambrel looked sharp again with his only mistake being a solo shot given up to Trey Sweeney, who also homered off him earlier in the series.

The long ball was Sweeney’s (1-for-5, HR) 4th of the year and tied the game at 2 apiece in the 5th. The Sea Dogs jumped on Justin Wilson for 2 runs in the top of the 7th, but Somerset quickly tied the game up in the bottom of the inning on back to back singles from Jasson Dominguez and Austin Wells. Zac Houston and Tanner Myatt both tossed scoreless innings in the 8th and 9th, holding the score knotted at 4. Tyler Hardman flew out to center field to end the bottom of the 9th, and we had free baseball in Bridgewater.

Myatt came back out and, with the ghost runner starting on second, was able to get out of the inning not allowing a run heading to the bottom of the 10th with a chance for the Patriots to walk off the game and the series. Max Burt pinch ran for Tyler Hardman as the ghost runner and TJ Rumfield (2-for-4, RBI, BB) lined a walk off single into right. Burt hustled home and scored on a play at the plate and Somerset took game 6 winning 5-4 in dramatic style. The win improved the Pats record to 28-21 on the year and gained them a game on the first place Sea Dogs.

The series did not disappoint, and this Patriots team continues to grow before our very eyes! Next up for our Boys of Summer is a road trip to Hartford as they square up against the 23-27 Yard Goats. 

Written By

Father, Husband, Baseball Writer

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