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Game 24 Preview: Harwich at Chatham

by Andrew Crane, 07-18-2021

Game 24 Preview: Harwich at Chatham

Chatham returns to Veterans Field for a four-game homestand following three-straight on the road, where the Anglers won two of three to climb out of last place in the East Division. They nearly won all three if not for a five-run inning by Cotuit, and now are tasked with facing Harwich, a team that’s defeated Chatham in all three meetings this season.

The Mariners won their most recent game, defeating Falmouth, 4-1 on Saturday night, and sit second in the East behind Brewster — the only other team in the division with double-digit wins. They nearly lost to two-win Hyannis the night before, but their offense exploded for 15 runs to match the Harbor Hawks and survive, 15-12.

Probable Pitchers

Tanner Witt will make his second start since joining the Anglers last week, with his first resulting in a loss despite allowing just two runs in four innings against Harwich. One of those was a controversial home run call in the first inning — when the ball appeared to slice foul but the home-plate umpire called it fair — but beyond that, the only other two hits he allowed were bloop singles. The Texas sophomore, who’s aiming to use his appearances with Chatham to leverage his potential as a starter for next season with the Longhorns, struck out four and walked three while allowing at least one baserunner in three of four innings.

Eric Reyzelman returns to the mound for the Mariners and logs his second start for them, attempting to follow up a performance against Brewster where he held the Whitecaps hitless for all five innings — striking out nine, more than half the batters he faced, and walking two. His previous appearance came out of the bullpen against Wareham on July 5, when he scattered two runs on two hits across 2.2 innings.

After spending his first two collegiate seasons at San Francisco, Reyzelman announced his transfer to LSU last week and will join the Tigers next season. He threw 35 innings for the Dons this past year, finishing with a 6.17 ERA, throwing more than four innings just twice and pairing 30 walks with 39 strikeouts. Reyzelman has trimmed that walk-to-strikeout ratio down since arriving on the Cape, though, issuing just three free passes to go along with 15 strikeouts. According to Perfect Game, his fastball sits low- to mid-90s, with his offspeed, a slider and changeup, dropping at least 10 miles per hour in velocity.

Chatham Players to Watch

Garrett Martin made a strong impression on the Cape League last night when he blasted a solo home run in the fifth inning — just his second at-bat with Chatham — and hit a deep fly ball near the fence before the Hyannis center fielder tracked it. He’ll join the Oklahoma State roster next season, and spent this past year with Angler catcher Dominic Tamez at McLennan Community College where he hit .355 with a .750 slugging percentage in 64 games. Martin also led the Highlanders in home runs (20) and RBI (69).

By reaching on an error in the first inning last night, Lyle Miller-Green has now reached base in 12 of his last 13 games, and drew two more walks in ensuing at-bats against Hyannis. He leads the Anglers in walks with 14 — no one else has more than 10 — while also serving as their primary source of offensive power with six home runs and 17 RBI. Miller-Green sits tied for the CCBL lead in home runs and walks drawn, while dropping into a tie for second in RBI after recording just one in his last four games.

Harwich Players to Watch

Josh Hood recorded hits in his first four Cape League games and, after a stretch of just two in five games, he’s notched four in his past three games. He only draws one walk for every 10 strikeouts, but his ability to string together hits — including an eighth-inning home run against Cotuit on July 13 — gives him a valuable spot in the middle of Harwich’s order.

Brock Wilken has succeeded against the Anglers in each of their three meetings, recording at least a hit and at least one RBI in each. Nearly half of his season total for RBI — nine of his 19, which leads the CCBL — have come in those games, and he hit the two-run homer off Witt in the first inning of Harwich’s last game against the Anglers that set the tone for the rest of the night. Wilken’s batting average ranks third in the league and his 26 hits sit first, both pacing the Harwich offense.

Stat to Know — .337

That’s Miller-Green’s on-base percentage, the highest held by an active Chatham player according to league stats because Matt Hogan (.359) and Danny Serretti (.355) haven’t recorded enough at-bats to qualify. All nine teams in the league have at least one player with an on-base percentage higher than that, and Harwich has three — including Harwich’s Wilken and Tatem Levins, who rank third and second in the league, respectively.

Last Time They Played

Sunday’s meeting is the third time in eight days that Chatham and Harwich will face another, and the most recent came on July 12 when the Mariners scored six runs in the sixth, seventh and ninth to turn a tight game into a blowout. They jumped out to an early 2-0 lead against Witt when Brock Wilken hit a home run that Chatham manager Tom Holliday and his players claimed landed, and crossed the foul pole, foul, but the home-plate umpire twirled his finger around. From there, the Anglers recorded just two hits against the Harwich pitching staff — one by Matt Hogan and one by Jake DeLeo — and struck out 13 times.