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Chatham's 10 hits aren't enough in 8-3 loss to Cotuit

by Andrew Crane, 07-07-2021

Chatham's 10 hits aren't enough in 8-3 loss to Cotuit

COTUIT — It started with a hit by pitch, a ball that sailed from Chase Hampton’s hand and into the body of Luke Gold. That opened the fifth inning, moments after Chatham had tied Cotuit with two runs of their own, and inched its way back into the game.

Two batters later, Nathan Martorella swung at an 0-1 pitch from Hampton and his bat flew out of his hands, over the backstop fence around the perimeter of Lowell Park and up into the few feet of netting weaved above it. He recovered his bat, dug back into the batter’s box and laced the next pitch into left-center field — a hit-and-run that gave Gold enough time to score from first, and enough time to give Cotuit the lead back.

The Kettleers added four more runs later in the fifth inning, which proved the difference when the sun dipped behind the trees and umpires called the game at 7:37 p.m. — just after Matt Hogan struck out swinging to end the top of the seventh. The Anglers fell to Cotuit, 8-3, for a second consecutive loss, despite a continued resurgence at the plate keyed by Lyle Miller-Green’s timely hitting and 10 combined hits from the offense.

“We didn’t pitch good,” Chatham manager Tom Holliday said postgame. “That was not a well-pitched game at all.”

The offensive resurgence was something Chatham hadn’t benefitted from since the season-opener against Falmouth, when they pounded out 13 hits and scored seven runs. That was the first introduction to the power, and potential, the Anglers had, but it evaporated in the games since. Then they lost Caden Grice and Kevin Parada to Team USA for a few weeks, and new arrivals coupled with lineup shuffles to find a combination that’d suffice.

After the first inning, when Shawn Rapp struck out the side and forced Chatham off-balance with his slider, the Anglers placed a runner on base in every inning until their final at-bat. They had runners on first and second in the second frame, after Josh Rivera extended his hitting streak to four games and advanced Andrew Benefield into scoring position, but Maxwell Romero Jr. grounded out to second to end the inning.

The Anglers already trailed at that point, though, and that was because Cotuit took an early lead on the fourth pitch of the game, when Cole Cummings took Bryce Osmond’s delivery and drilled it over the right-field fence. Logan Britt turned, gave chase, but eventually ran out of grass before the fence arrived. After that long hit, though, Osmond settled down and allowed only one run over the final two innings. He struck out three, walked none, and used a quick pivot and toss to Lyle Miller-Green to end the second inning and erase a runner that reached on a two-out infield single bobbled by Josh Rivera.

“Last outing, I wasn't very happy with the amount of walks that I had,” Osmond said, “so this outing I made a big emphasis on putting the ball over the plate, throwing the strikes, I wanted to get ahead so I was pretty happy with that.”

The Anglers nearly stole that run back in the third, when Miller-Green lined a single over the third baseman’s head. Jake DeLeo, who’d reached on a Cotuit error, chugged around third as assistant coach Randy Whisler waved his arm. Matt Donlan, the Kettleers’ catcher, stood by the plate, as if he wasn’t expecting a throw.

That’s why DeLeo didn’t slide, but then the ball whizzed in from the outfield, into Donlan’s glove and he applied the tag. DeLeo stared around on ground looking for an answer, glancing at the umpire, then Logan Britt, the on-deck hitter, then toward the Chatham dugout. Holliday said postgame that Donalan took home plate away, eliminating any avenue to slide, but the call stood.

The out made Andrew Benefield’s double in the fourth, which followed a Britt single to lead off the inning, matter even more. It took the first Cotuit run, and the two others they manufactured after it, and chipped it away partly. Brooks Baldwin ripped a double that split Chatham’s left and center fielders, then the Kettleers added an RBI single the next inning in the fourth, and the lead grew from one to three. Alaska Abney had entered to pitch, allowed the two hits but then back-picked Benefield to mitigate the damage.

But that one run built a foundation for the Anglers that extended into the next inning, when Matt Garcia drew a one-out walk and Caeden Trenkle blooped a single into center field that Cam Hill dove for but couldn’t make a catch on. It gave Chatham a first-and-third situation, which it cashed in on when Miller-Green bounced a broken-bat single into left field to score Garcia. Britt followed with another single, his second multi-hit game this season, to tie the game.

Then everything collapsed. There was the hit by pitch, the hits, the dropped pop fly from Rivera that would’ve given the Anglers their second out but instead loaded the bases for Cotuit, the missed opportunities that dragged the game deeper into the night and further out of reach for Chatham. Zach Maxwell had entered to pitch for that batter, relieving Hampton and inheriting the potential damage he left behind, and surrendered a bases-clearing double that broke the game open.

It came off the bat of Andy Garriola, and the final blow was a deep fly ball into left-center field — tracking toward the scoreboard and settling into the ground after Trenkle dove and missed. All three runners scored, the final one evading a Dominic Tamez tag at the plate, and extended the inning for Cotuit, biding time until the sun set, the field became darker and the game was called before either team hit in the last two innings.

“That was a pathetic game, period,” Holliday said.