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Matt Hogan homers in Anglers 4-3 loss to Yarmouth-Dennis

by Andrew Crane, 07-20-2021

Matt Hogan homers in Anglers 4-3 loss to Yarmouth-Dennis

With one swing on a 3-2 pitch, with two outs in the ninth inning and Zach Maxwell one strike away from ending Yarmouth-Dennis’ final set of at-bats, Crew Robinson turned on a swing, pulled it down the right-field line and watched as it landed on the hill behind the Veterans Field fence. A half-inning before, Robinson had bolted back from second base, his spot in the field after entering as a defensive substitution in the middle innings, and snagged a Jake DeLeo blooper that threatened to drop into shallow right field and give the Anglers the lead.

Instead, it was Robinson whose swing flipped the game, and this one in the Red Sox’s favor. His Y-D teammates flooded out of the dugout to greet him as he rounded the bases and tapped home plate, and their final hit of the game snapped a stretch of three strikeouts in four batters by Maxwell and snatched the lead back.

For the second consecutive game, Yarmouth-Dennis used a ninth-inning home run to influence its final result. The previous one took a potential loss against Harwich and turned it into a tie when Dominic Keegan homered for the second time that night. And the second one took a potential tie and turned it into Chatham’s third-straight loss, its second in a row with fewer than four hits and a 4-3 defeat on their pivotal homestand — blurring the path to a playoff spot in the East Division even more than the previous 13 losses already had.

“I don't think we really played like we wanted to offensively,” centerfielder Caeden Trenkle said. “But we kept ourselves in the game with how we played, our pitching and our defense.”

Two innings prior, for the first time since the second at-bat of the game, Chatham had a runner on base and a hit in the air. In between them was a walk and 13 consecutive retired Anglers, each out gradually extinguishing the spark that Matt Hogan’s early home run injected. But Garrett Martin led off the seventh inning with a hit-by-pitch, and Romero Jr. sent a line drive into right field.

Jake DeLeo, pinch-running for Martin, tore around second and raced toward third as the throw from Yarmouth-Dennis’ outfielder was cut off midway. After Lyle Miller-Green struck out on a pitch in the dirt, Kenny Levari — starting at third for regular Johnny Castagnozzi — bounced a ball toward Y-D’s second baseman but beat the throw to first and to break up the double play and allow DeLeo to score. Danny Serretti worked a five-pitch walk to give the Anglers another runner in scoring position, and extended their offensive threat until Dominic Tamez struck out, swinging and missing at three pitches, to end the threat.

Even as Chatham’s offense struggled to generate life, its efficiency, turning three hits into the runs, kept it in the game. In one blast in the first inning, Hogan’s swing to deep right field gave the Anglers more runs — and a third of the hits — they reached against Wareham on Monday. Matt Garcia had singled to lead off the inning, and Chatham had scored two runs with its first two batters while recording no outs.

“When I hit it, I knew I got it pretty good,” Hogan said. “So after I took about two steps, I'm like, 'Alright, I don't think I have to sprint anymore.'”

By the time the fourth inning ended, though, the Red Sox had erased that lead. Cy Nielson, who’d entered out of the bullpen three pitches earlier, stepped off the mound and removed the ball from his glove. There was a runner on third, Chase Luttrell, and then Zach Lew on first, and Lew broke for second base as soon as Cy Nielson glanced home. The double steal baited the Chatham defense enough that Nielson turned and threw to second.

That allowed Luttrell to break for the plate. Serretti, Chatham’s shortstop, caught the ball on second base and flung a bouncing throw to the plate that Tamez tried to corral and flip around a tag. After home plate umpire Mickey Garcia swept his arms apart — signaling safe — Tamez pleaded toward him, claiming that he’d completed the motion he intended to, but then turned and threw Lew out at third base when he tried to swipe the extra bag.

Chatham had no activity in its bullpen when the inning started. They had no reason to. Everything had gone right for Mederos, as he needed only 27 pitches to navigate the first three innings, operating through the Yarmouth-Dennis lineup with ease. He didn’t record any strikeouts, but for another game, Chatham’s pitching bought its offense extra time — as much time as it needed without running out of outs — because of Mederos and Nielson piecing together strong outings.

“They were just filling up the zone, throwing a lot of strikes,” Trenkle said. “It's easier to get outs whenever you throw strikes.”

A second ball off Matt Hogan’s bat, this one slicing over the head of Yarmouth-Dennis’ first baseman and significantly shorter than his first one, gave the Anglers’ offense life in the eighth inning after they’d tied the game. The ball tucked itself down the right-field line and Hogan immediately looked to stretch it into a double. Once he slid safely into second, Hogan advanced to third when Trenkle bounced a swinging bunt down the first-base line with DeLeo coming up to the plate for his first at-bat.

For the first 10 days of the season, DeLeo was the Anglers’ singles producer. He led them in hits at one point, created line-drive threats, became a constant on the basepath and recorded two three-hit games before the calendar flipped to July. But then the struggles, and the slump, kicked in, and it extended one at-bat further even with a blooped hit that nearly dropped if it wasn’t for Robinson’s glove. Then Robinson stepped to the plate the next inning, connected on a pitch into the Veterans Field night, and swung the game in Y-D’s favor one final time.