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Game 1 Preview: Chatham at Falmouth

by Andrew Crane, 06-20-2021

Game 1 Preview: Chatham at Falmouth

After losing the 2020 season due to COVID-19, which halted the Cape Cod Baseball League and sports across the country, the Anglers play their first game since Aug. 3, 2019 when they travel to Falmouth and face the Commodores at 6 p.m. It’s a matchup of the top two seeds from the last CCBL season, as Falmouth won the West Division with a 27-15-2 record and Chatham won the East after finishing 24-18-2.

Manager Tom Holliday returns for his third season, and the Anglers are 1-1 in season-openers under the former Oklahoma State head coach and collegiate pitching coach — defeating Hyannis last year and losing the previous year to Wareham.

Probable Pitchers

Victor Mederos will open the season for Chatham on the mound, Holliday said Saturday. He’ll throw three innings before two other pitchers throw the final six. If either of the three run into trouble, Chatham has a four- or five-man bullpen group ready if needed, Holliday added.

During his first year at Miami, Mederos, who Holliday said has a powerful arm, appeared in 12 games — starting the first eight — and finished 2-3 with a 5.11 ERA across 44 innings pitched. He won his first collegiate game against Duke on April 2, scattering four runs and four hits across five innings in an 11-5 victory for the Hurricanes.

“He's the kinda kid that when they come to the Cape, it's, ‘Let's see what you learned, where you're at, where you came from,’” Holliday said. “And then let's see if we can't fix what you don't do well. He's got a big arm and he's rested and ready to go.”

Adam Stone takes the mound as Falmouth’s Opening Night started, but hasn’t appeared in a collegiate game the last two seasons while at Harvard. He didn’t play in any games his freshman year before the 2020 season was shut down, and the Ivy League canceled its spring season this year.

Between April 2019 and July 2020, he reportedly increased his velocity from 93 to 97 miles per hour — beginning with the final stretch of his senior season at Fairfield College Prep, where he went 25-2 that year. Perfect Game ranked Stone as Connecticut’s No. 14 pitcher in the Class of 2019.

Chatham Players to Watch

Lyle Miller-Green impressed throughout the week of practice, as well as the three scrimmages, using his 6-foot-5 frame to lift pitches between the gaps while consistently connecting on defensive throws from the outfielder. He transferred to Chipola College in Florida after spending his freshman year at George Mason, and Miller-Green finished second on Chipola with a .326 average to pair with 30 hits and 17 RBI.

Caden Grice’s introduction to Chatham practices came through batting practice rounds consisting of balls that cleared the right field fence at Veterans Field, and then kept traveling — bouncing onto the hill and, on one swing, rolling onto the street. It’d been more than two weeks since Grice’s freshman season at Clemson ended against Georgia Tech in the ACC tournament, and after multiple home runs in Tuesday’s batting practice, he joked heading back into the dugout that the rest had started to wear off.

“He doesn't swing and hope that he makes contact,” Holliday said. “He believes that he's gonna make contact, and when he does, he hurts the ball.”

Grice’s first year with the Tigers included a .317 average, 59 hits and 53 RBI. He also threw in five games for Clemson, logging 10 innings and a 7.20 ERA. Holliday said earlier in the week that he planned to use Grice on the mound this week, a spot where he can reach 94 miles per hour and resemble a “major-leaguer” with his power arm.

Falmouth Players to Watch

Kyle Manzardo started 46 games for Washington State in his junior season, after doing the same for all 16 in the shortened 2020 season and 45 out of 52 the year before. He alternated between first base and designated hitter, and finished this season with a .365 batting average — among the top 100 in the country — while pacing the Cougars with 11 home runs, 60 RBI and a .640 slugging percentage.

Brayden Taylor, figured to slot into another infield role for the Commodores, jumped into the starting lineup from the beginning of his first year at TCU. He accumulated 58 games as the Horned Frogs’ third baseman and hit .324, striking out 46 times in 222 at-bats and gathering hits in 73 of the others.

Stat to Know — 20

Chatham catcher Kevin Parada tied for first in the ACC with 20 doubles this season, and he paired that statistic with a .318 batting average — the highest on the Yellow Jackets — and a .550 slugging percentage. Parada arrived from California and attended his first Chatham practice on June 17, and Holliday said that he plans to flip Parada and North Greenville’s John Michael Faile every other game behind the plate, while potentially using the other as his designated hitter.

Last Time They Played

Falmouth scored 11 runs in the first four innings, and cruised past the Anglers, 15-6, on July 11, 2019. Cade Cabbiness and Brady Smith homered for Chatham, but it couldn’t erase the commanding deficit and used two position players on the mound to finish the game once it got out of hand.