Wareham Gatemen take the field with a veteran coach at the helm
For the second year in a row, the coach with the all-time winningest record in California community college history will lead the Wareham Gatemen. Don Sneddon, a California native, returns this year to the Gatemen and the Cape Cod League, considered by many as the premier amateur summer baseball league.
For more than 30 years, Sneddon coached at Santa Ana Community College in Southern California where he racked up a 1,072-383-3 record. Along the way, he earned three state championships and 16 conference championships.
Sneddon served as a Gatemen assistant coach three years ago. He said the head coach position is an opportunity to give talented college players, including several future major leaguers, a chance to hone their skills.
“The best way to describe it is, we’re loaning these players from their colleges,” said Sneddon. “We’re not going to make a pitcher throwing over the top into a submarine pitcher…Our job is to get them exposed to the highest level of baseball.”
Hopefully, the team will earn a few wins along the way.
The challenge of the Cape Cod League, Sneddon said, is coaching a team with a rotating roster. This year, seven Gatemen were selected for Team USA, the country’s national baseball team, which competes internationally.
“We did a great job of selecting players, that’s the bad news,” said Sneddon. “We did such a great job seven of our players won’t be with us all summer.”
A couple weeks before the Gatemen’s first game, Sneddon said the coaching staff went back to the drawing board and started a search for more recruits.
Sneddon hopes to find success with the team this year. Last year, the Gatemen got off to a slow start, but turned things around.
“We battled, then got hot at the right time,” he said, adding that the team made the playoffs.
“We upset Falmouth in two games, then lost some one-run ball games that would have gotten us to Bourne, then to the finals,” he said.
Catch the Gatemen at home on Spillane Field against Cotuit on Thursday, June 14 at 6:30 p.m.