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Anglers offense silenced by Wareham pitchers, manage 3 hits in 8-1 loss

by Allie Kaylor, 07-19-2021

Anglers offense silenced by Wareham pitchers, manage 3 hits in 8-1 loss

For five pitches, Sean McLain and Bryce Osmond traded balls and strikes to work a full count. It was an at-bat Osmond hadn’t dominated, but one where he was still a well-placed pitch away from retiring his second-straight batter to start the first inning. But the pitch was a bit too high, a bit too inside, and McLain wasn’t going to miss it.

Logan Britt tracked the ball in left field but stopped just before the warning track, turning and watching it land in the trees. Osmond retired the side, allowing just a single, but the Gatemen had already accomplished the one run, and two of the three hits, the Anglers would all game. After a one-run, one-hit third inning, Chatham stayed off the basepaths in all but three trips to the plate, lost 5-1 while being outhit 13-3 and didn’t hit a ball into the outfield until the eighth inning.

“We got behind. We had no energy,” Chatham manager Tom Holliday said. “We just had guys give up tonight. That was our worst effort of the season.”

The Anglers started that third inning without swinging at the first nine pitches. David Mendham started with a four-pitch walk, then Johnny Castagnozzi a three-pitch strikeout. Mack Anglin built up a full count on Britt before walking him on the eighth pitch. When a batted ball by Danny Serretti bounced through Anglin’s legs, the Anglers went from a perfect game to a bases loaded situation with one out. A pitch that hit the glove of catcher Jimmy Crooks before trailing to the backstop advanced all three runners. Then Caeden Trenkle popped out to the catcher just behind the plate.

Lyle Miller-Green stepped up to the plate with a chance to tie the game, a similar situation he’d found himself in against Wareham 10 days prior. Miller-Green represented the one hit Chatham had that day — a grand slam to left center that scored all four Chatham runs in A 4-4 tie. Instead, he followed Trenkle’s example, popping a ball down the first base side that Yohandy Morales easily collected just before the netting. Britt and Serretti had no choice but to trudge back to the dugout, the offense unable to come up in a moment that could’ve changed the course of the game.

Miller-Green represented the tying run, the Anglers entering the bottom of the third already down 4-0. Following a two-error inning by the Chatham defense that scored a run for Wareham, McLain delivered again with a single to left field that flew over the head of Chatham shortstop Josh Rivera.

Up came Owen Diodati, strolling to the plate and looking to find a hole he missed in the first inning when he sent a line drive directly into the glove of Rivera. He took the first pitch, then nailed the second one opposite field, far above Rivera’s glove and over the fence, extending the Gatemen’s lead to 4-0.

Osmond collected himself, entering a new, bases-empty situation. He walked the next batter, but two shallow outfield flyouts kept Tommy Troy at first. When Troy tried to steal second with two outs, Romero wasted no time throwing to Danny Serretti at second, beating out the runner by several feet for the first runner he’d caught stealing all season.

The pressure of playing behind weighed on the Anglers offense just as it had all season, Holliday said. Coming from behind before your first trip to the plate is hard, and trailing 4-0 before getting a runner on base is even worse. Add the fact that it was sixth fifth of eight days without a break, and a depleted and unenergized offense couldn’t find it in themselves to get on base.

“I hate making excuses, for one, I think we should be able to play 15 in a row,” Matt Hogan said. “But obviously, guys aren’t used to it. I’m not used to it.”

Hogan had two of Chatham’s three hits, including a ninth-inning double that he called lucky. Following five games where the Anglers combined for at least seven hits, getting double digits twice, Hogan said that everyone’s timing seemed off at the plate. “That’s just baseball,” he said It’s why they combined for 13 strikeouts, their most since July 12. It’s why they hit a ball to the outfield just twice all game. And it’s why Chatham’s season-long vice — a left-handed reliever — plagued them once again.

But by the time Hogan hit that double with one out in the ninth inning, when Wareham reliever Cole Kirshieper was pulled for a right-handed closer, the Anglers had dug themselves into a deeper hole that seemed impossible to get out of. Diodati had led off the ninth with a deep fly ball, but that was just the beginning for the Gatemen. A single followed, and Crooks grounded into what could’ve — or should’ve — been an inning-ending double play. But a bad throw landed in the outfield grass, putting runners at second and third with one out.

A strikeout by Morales held the runners at second and third, with Chatham pitcher Sebastian Keane looking for any way to get the final batter out. A strikeout, a flyout or a groundout would’ve worked. Instead, three straight batters singled to score three runs before the eighth batter of the inning flew out to Trenkle in center field. All three runs that scored were unearned.

“Some days you just need a spark in the dugout,” Hogan said. “We need to just continue to rally on each other and pick each other up after each at bat. If someone goes down, pick them up and move on forward to the next one.”