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John Rave sparks Chatham's comeback in series-clinching win

by David Schneidman, 08-06-2018

John Rave sparks Chatham's comeback in series-clinching win

HARWICH — The Chatham Anglers were in unfamiliar territory against the Harwich Mariners.

Alek Manoah (West Virginia) uncharacteristically allowed five runs on five hits in the bottom of the second inning, surpassing his season-high of three hits allowed in a single outing. The Mariners possessed their largest lead over Chatham of the summer and looked to be on their way to evening the EDS.

Then, John Rave (Illinois State) sparked an immediate comeback.

Rave — batting in the nine-hole — laced a single on the second pitch of the third inning. That brought the top of the Anglers’ batting order to the plate, which did its job.

“I was just trying to get on base. Baserunners early in innings lead to runs, I was just looking for a good pitch,” Rave said. “The hit-and-run worked well, too. When you're on third base with no outs, you're usually going to score.”

Blake Sabol (Southern California) — Chatham’s leadoff hitter — whacked his second hit of the night, a seeing-eye single to right field that advanced Rave to third. On the next pitch, Spencer Torkelson (Arizona State) put the visitors on the board, ripping a single just out of the reach of Harwich shortstop Tanner Morris (Virginia) to score Rave.

Three batters later, Colin Simpson (Oklahoma State) cracked a two-RBI single with the bases loaded. After staring at a five-run deficit to start the frame, the A’s bats had flipped the script within a half-inning.

“You have to answer. You just have to a score run,” Anglers manager Tom Holliday said about Chatham’s response after allowing five runs. “You just have to let them know that we are not rolling over. [Rave] starts it, and then we look up and we got a three-spot.”

An inning later, Rave got on base to instigate another flurry of runs.

After Kyle McCann (Georgia Tech) led off the fourth frame with a strikeout, Rave stayed patient at the plate and worked a four-pitch walk. Again, Sabol singled in the next at-bat, putting Rave on third. Tristin English (Georgia Tech) then drove him in with a two-out, two-RBI single that knotted the score at five.

While Rave isn’t likely to replace Sabol as Chatham’s leadoff batter, he has impacted the game when leading off an inning more than any other Chatham player this season. During the regular season, Rave batted .400 when leading off an inning— the highest mark on the team — in 35 at-bats. In three such at-bats in the playoffs, Rave is 1-for-3.

“It's one of those things I guess,” Rave said about his effectiveness at the start of innings. “I like to be a spark plug.”

In a Game 1 of the series Saturday night, Rave’s contributions were overshadowed by Chatham’s three long balls from McCann, Sabol and Michael Busch (North Carolina). The right-handed hitter mashed two doubles and drove in two runs in an 8-3 win.

Rave batted leadoff or in the two-hole for the majority of the regular season but was recently shifted down in the order due to Sabol’s success as the leadoff hitter. The Illinois native hit sixth in the lineup in Game 1 of the EDS before seeing his name listed ninth for Game 2.

"It doesn't really affect me,” Rave said. “I don't care where I bat."

Click here for EDS Game 2 recap:  Chatham erases five-run deficit to beat Harwich, 8-6, advancing to the East Division Finals