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Chatham scores season-high 8 runs, wins back-to-back games for 1st time this year

by Allie Kaylor, 07-15-2021

Chatham scores season-high 8 runs, wins back-to-back games for 1st time this year

YARMOUTH — Johnny Castagnozzi’s first strikeout consisted of three swings and misses scattered with two pitches several feet outside the zone. His second was a rally-ending looking strikeout on a call he disagreed with. His third was the final out of a three-up, three-down inning. Stepping to the plate in the seventh inning, he was determined to not let it be his fourth.

He took three straight pitches and got ahead 3-0. From the on-deck circle, Matt Hogan shouted words of encouragement — “You know what he’s giving you.” And on the next pitch, Castagnozzi swung. He’d swung and missed eight times in the game, but he wasn’t going to miss the ninth, a fastball down the middle and low in the zone. The ball propelled off his bat, perfectly barrelled and targeting the grass on the other side of the centerfield fence.

“I was really hoping he’d give me the swing there,” Castagnozzi said. “I was looking for something over the plate I could hit hard. He gave me one, and I put a good swing on it.”

Yarmouth-Dennis made a pitching change, but Eric Yost gave Hogan the same pitch that Zach Franklin gave Castagnozzi. A fastball down the middle ended in deep right field, just a few feet further than in Orleans when he nearly launched a broken-bat home run in his first Anglers at bat. It was the first time the Anglers had hit back-to-back home runs this season, and the three-run inning put the Anglers up 8-4 in the seventh, all but sealing their first back-to-back wins of the season.

“(Chatham manager Tom Holliday) was talking the other day about how we were five points (out of first) two games ago, and now we won two, got four points, and we’re one away,” Castagnozzi said. “If we play like that every game, we’re gonna win.”

The Anglers have struggled to hit left handed pitching all season. Holliday has remarked before that their average against lefties is around .100. They had seven hits off righty Teddy McGraw on Wednesday before lefty Hunter Owen struck out three of the four batters he faced.

And when the bases were loaded with no outs in the third against the left-handed Ross Dunn, none of the runners had reached on a hit. Dunn walked three straight batters before hitting the fourth to give the Anglers a 2-1 lead over Yarmouth-Dennis. Zach Franklin came in and retired the next three batters, but not before the runners advanced on a wild pitch and another run scored.

When Chatham chased Dunn out of the game, they chased out the only left-handed arm on the Y-D roster, making way for the six hits and five runs that followed against right-handed pitching. The lefty hit still eluded the Anglers — just one of the 13 batters Dunn faced managed to put a ball in play — but Thursday, it didn’t matter. They capitalized on a lack of command, the walks, the hit-by-pitches, the passed balls and wild pitches. It wasn’t important how they got on, but they were able to string plate appearances together in a way they hadn’t all season, much less against a left-handed pitcher.

“We felt better about the night because he gave us a chance to hit all night,” Holliday said.

Prior to the game, Holliday had prepared his lineup to face a right-handed pitcher, since Dunn was listed in the system and on scouting reports as right-handed. But 20 minutes before first pitch, he scrambled to make a lineup that had even a chance to get a hit off the Red Sox starter. With switch-hitter Danny Serretti leading off in the original lineup, Holliday only made two switches — Dominic Tamez would DH instead of David Mendham, and Jake DeLeo would start in right field instead of Hogan.

That switch nearly paid off for Chatham, as Tamez strolled to the plate in the second still looking for his first Cape Cod Baseball League hit. With Jake DeLeo on base, Tamez roped a ball down the right field line and into the corner. The home plate umpire didn’t move as Tamez rounded first, but the umpire on first base called it foul, sending Tamez back home to foul off another pitch before striking out.

DeLeo left the inning on third base, but it wasn’t the first time Chatham had threatened that night. For the second game in a row, Serretti led off the game with an extended at bat, this time a seven-pitch walk from the right side of the plate. Up came the left-handed Caeden Trenkle, the first remnant of Holliday’s first lineup. Trenkle would usually bat lower in the lineup against a lefty, but a line-drive single to center advanced Serretti to third. He scored on a double play, and Dunn escaped a two-on, no-out threat with just one run crossing.

After a two-run third inning, the Anglers did the same in the fourth. For the second-straight inning, they loaded the bases with no outs to bring up Trenkle for the third time. A dribbler off his bat resulted in the catcher fielding the ball, stepping on home to get the force out and turning toward first for the double play. But his throw went high — Trenkle was safe, Serretti was safe at third, and Logan Britt jogged to home plate to make up for the fielder’s choice. When Trenkle was caught stealing in the next at bat, Serretti made it home after the throw to second.

The 5-1 lead after the fourth inning was never at risk of falling until the sixth inning. A strikeout led off the inning, and Pascanel Ferreras pinch hit to face Cy Nielson. The pitch slipped out of Nielson’s hand and set on a path directly to the batter’s knee. Ferreras rolled over his shoulder and landed on his back, clutching his knee, as trainers came out to check on him. He lay motionless on the ground for several minutes before standing up and limping toward first. Y-D manager Scott Pickler met him halfway down the line to confirm he was OK, but he insisted on staying in.

Briley Knight then lined the first pitch he saw to the right-center gap, advancing Ferreras to third and sitting himself at second. The Red Sox had scored once in the fifth with a solo home run, and Wyatt Hoffman singled to score Ferreras and bring the go-ahead run to the plate. A line drive up the middle would’ve been a hit, but Josh Rivera raced behind the bag and made the catch, keeping runners on the corners with two outs as Trevor Martin entered the game for Nielson.

A single by Kody Huff brought the game within one as the sun set behind the treeline at light-less Red Wilson Field. But when the two home runs added insurance — that proved unnecessary with short seventh and eighth innings by the Red Sox — Holliday felt comfortable, and the sun dipped below the horizon, signalling the end of the game, and the Anglers win.

“I’ve been in this ballpark and get beat late because of the darkness,” Holliday said. “I’m playing for one, and when a guy hits a two-run dinger after that, it makes everybody feel good.”