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Game 5 Preview: Chatham at Brewster

by Andrew Crane, 06-25-2021

Game 5 Preview: Chatham at Brewster

Chatham and Brewster meet for the second time this season — their second game against once another in three days — when the Anglers travel to Stony Brook Field at 5 p.m. After three games, Chatham sits second in the East Division standings behind Yarmouth-Dennis, holding the same amount of points (5) but losing the tiebreaker because of the Red Sox’s 3-2 win over the Anglers on Tuesday.

The Whitecaps are still in search of their first win, and their team batting average and slugging percentage still rank last in the CCBL at .170 and .213, respectively. They haven’t totaled more than six hits in a single game this year and have struck out 35 times across their two losses and one tie, though that number is five fewer than Chatham and its Cape Cod Baseball League-high 40 strikeouts.

Once the Anglers complete their home-and-home against Brewster, they’ll return to Veterans Field on Saturday and face Hyannis, the third-place team in the West Division, for the first time this season.

Probable Pitchers

Brandon Sproat just finished his second season at Florida and will make his CCBL debut against the Whitecaps, and he’ll be followed by Chase Hampton (Texas Tech) out of the bullpen. With the Gators, Sproat logged 21.2 innings across 16 appearances — including two starts — and finished 2-1 with a 6.65 ERA, picking up his first collegiate win on Feb. 28 against Samford.

Hampton threw more than two innings just twice and walked 15 batters while striking out 18. At Texas Tech, he appeared in 18 games during his first year with the Red Raiders and ended with a 4-1 record. His ERA sat at 3.86 — the seventh-best on the team among pitchers with more than 10 innings thrown — and he only issued one walk every 2.59 innings.

Brian Fitzpatrick, a left-hander from Rutgers, will start on the mound for Brewster, a role he’s held just once with the Scarlet Knights and zero times since his freshman year in 2019. This season, Fitzpatrick made 14 relief appearances and limited opponents to a .242 batting average across those 17.2 innings. He mainly operated as a late-inning option out of the bullpen, recording two saves, but still ended with a 3-2 record and a 6.11 ERA. Fitzpatrick was granted a medical redshirt his first year in 2019 after leaving his first start early with an injury, and then added another year of eligibility when the NCAA granted relief to all spring athletes once COVID-19 canceled last year's collegiate baseball season.

Chatham players to watch

Crosby Jones/Johnny Castagnozzi, Chatham’s third-base competition, took an interesting twist when Castagnozzi left Wednesday’s game after a Brewster pitch clipped his hand in the fourth inning, and Jones subbed in two innings later. If Castagnozzi, who hit a pinch-hit home run on Monday and is tied with Jake DeLeo for the Anglers’ second-highest batting average at .375, needs to miss additional time, the window for Jones to impress Chatham manager Tom Holliday widens.

Cam Chick hit a line-drive home run over the right-field fence on Wednesday, and has maintained his spot in the lineup even after Caeden Trenkle (Oklahoma State) arrived. The homer served as just his second hit of the 2021 Cape League season through 11 at-bats, but he’s found other ways to reach base for the Anglers — drawing two walks and getting hit by a pitch twice. His on-base percentage and on-base percentage plus slugging both rank fourth on Chatham.

Brewster players to watch

Even as the Whitecaps have struggled offensively so far through three games, Will Simpson has emerged as a bright spot for their offense with his .500 average and five hits. He went 2-for-3 with a walk against the Anglers on Wednesday, and closed their early lead with an RBI single off Logan Chapman. A teammate of Chatham first baseman Michael Brown at Washington, Simpson appeared in 45 games for the Huskies in 2021 and hit .310 with 52 hits and 51 strikeouts.

Jake Thompson, despite how unsuccessful Brewster’s offense has been, injected a glimmer of optimism into their lineup with a double and a .633 on-base plus slugging percentage. The infielder from Oklahoma State, where Holliday’s son Josh Holliday coaches, has played for four different schools across his career — Kentucky, Palomar Community College, and then South Dakota State before ending up with the Cowboys. Thompson started 44 games for them this year, hitting .342, second-highest on the team.

Stat to know — 2

Brewster’s number of extra-base hits through its first three games ranks last in the CCBL, as does its number of total bases (20). Cooper Weiss from Coastal Carolina hit its lone home run, while Thompson added the double in the seventh inning on Wednesday. The lack of hits, especially ones accumulating more than one base, have limited the Whitecaps and their offense — putting more pressure on hitters to string singles together for manufacturing runs.

Last time they played

Home runs from Caden Grice and Cam Chick lifted the Anglers over Brewster on Wednesday, 4-2, and paired with another double-digit strikeout performance from their pitching staff. After hitting carried Chatham through its first two games — a 7-7 tie against Falmouth and a 7-6 win over Orleans — the Whitecaps allowed just four hits and struck out 11 batters, but six walks still allowed the Anglers to threaten Brewster with scoring opportunities.