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5-run 5th inning propels Chatham past Yarmouth-Dennis

by Anthony Dabbundo, 06-15-2019

5-run 5th inning propels Chatham past Yarmouth-Dennis

Vinny Bologna (San Joaquin Delta) hit what appeared to be a routine fly ball to left field on the second pitch of the fifth inning. The left fielder misread the ball, didn’t react quickly enough and the ball dropped in front of him for a single.

Seven batters later, Chatham had broken the game open. The fifth inning for the A’s featured nine batters who saw 48 total pitches. Three hits, two walks and a convenient error propelled the Anglers (4-1) to a 6-1 lead that they never relinquished in a 7-3 win over Yarmouth-Dennis (2-2) on Saturday night at Veterans Field. The A’s won their fourth game from their highest-scoring frame of 2019.

To supplement the five-run outburst, Chatham’s dominant pitching continued, allowing just two earned runs. Kolby Kubichek (Texas) became the first Anglers pitcher to extend beyond three innings, throwing four hitless innings in just 42 pitches. Mason Hazelwood (Kentucky) followed him with three more innings, including an immaculate seventh inning where he struck out the side on nine pitches. The pitching stifled a Y-D offense that had scored 21 runs in their first three games entering Saturday.

“We made them pay pretty good for all the mistakes,” Bologna said. “It takes pressure off the team, you want to keep it going to make it easier for the pitchers to throw some strikes.”

Bologna’s single, the first in his Cape League career, triggered the avalanche. It’s a result of manager Tom Holliday and hitting coach Mickey Tettleton ongoing attempts to shorten their hitters’ swings.

Holliday said he wants his team to stop trying to hit home runs and cut down on strikeouts. In the fifth, the Anglers hit the ball hard while showing plate discipline. In Bologna's at-bat, he shortened his backswing, and he got on base.

“I thought it was gonna get caught, I didn’t go to second because the ball was right in front of him,” Bologna said. “Right when I got that hit I knew, usually leadoff runners, when they get on, they score.”

He wasn’t wrong. The next batter, Tyler Doanes (West Virginia), worked a full count and hit a fastball for a bloop single over the second baseman’s head.

Kaden Polcovich (Northwest Florida State) also ran deep into the count, watching a ball four that was well outside the strike zone to load the bases. Jamal O’Guinn (USC) stepped into the batter’s box with a chance to rip the game open.

Like the batters previously, O’Guinn saw more than five pitches, the fifth one grounded into the hole between short and third base. Y-D shortstop Drew Swift only had one play — to throw Doanes out at third base and concede the go-ahead run to Bologna. After a Ben Ramirez (USC) strikeout, it looked as though Red Sox pitcher Trevor Kniskern would escape the fifth inning with just one run allowed.

“But they made a lot of mistakes,” Holliday said. “Their pitching was not real good. They gave us a lot of opportunities by throwing balls. But you have to stay patient. Their pitchers didn’t make their pitches.”

Then came the fortuitous error. Paxton Wallace (Wichita State) hit a routine ground ball toward third baseman R.J. Yeager. Ranging to his left, Yeager fielded the ball cleanly and rotated his hips to throw to second. The throw bounced, squirted past second baseman Wyatt Young and into shallow right field. Polcovich came racing around third to score, and O’Guinn scooted to third.

If the error gave the Chatham half of the fifth inning second life, Drenis Ozuna’s (Oklahoma Wesleyan) at-bat gave it a third. Ozuna fouled off three pitches with two strikes and laid off a fourth ball to load the bases for the second time in the frame.

“I think about passing it along, staying short, expanding the inning,” Ozuna said of his walk. “We’re a late inning ball club. I know sometime within the game, we’re going to get ours.”

Keaton Rice’s (Bradley) one swing made the Red Sox pay for extending the inning with the walks and the error. Rice also ran the count full, and roped a ball into right field. The right fielder, Daylan Nanny, charged in off the crack of the bat to make the play, but as he extended his glove and laid out, the ball bounced under his glove and by him. The home Chatham crowd delayed its cheers until it saw the ball bounce multiple times past Nanny.

O’Guinn, Wallace and Ozuna all raced in to score without contest, and Rice slid into third with his second hit of the night and three RBIs.

“I really had nothing to lose,” Rice said. “I just took a fastball on the inner half and let it rip. I’m thinking hopefully it drops, I saw that it got down and I knew I could get to third.”

Even after Jorge Arenas (Stetson) struck out to end the inning, the Anglers had opened up the game. With their dominant pitching, the lead was more than enough.