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Maxwell Romero Jr.’s 3 homers spark Chatham’s season-best output in 12-3 win over Cotuit

by Allie Kaylor, 07-21-2021

Maxwell Romero Jr.’s 3 homers spark Chatham’s season-best output in 12-3 win over Cotuit

Maxwell Romero Jr. stepped up to the plate with two runners on, the empty base thanks to a diving stop by Cotuit first baseman Luke Gold that robbed a hit. He looked down at his bat, adjusted his grip and stepped into the left batter’s box to face Will Jacobsen. Three pitches later, the ball trailed off his bat into right-center field and bounced onto Depot St, giving the Anglers a three-run lead before the conclusion of the first inning.

The Anglers led 9-0 by the end of the second inning after five-straight hits and another blast by Romero Jr. Fifteen outs later, the Anglers had scored 12 total runs on 13 hits, both season-highs to conclude the season series with the Kettleers. Five of those runs came off the bat of Romero Jr. as Chatham defeated Cotuit, 12-3. His three home runs tied a Cape Cod Baseball League record, something that'd only been done 10 times before, and he’s the first Angler to reach the mark since Bob Larimer in 1983.

“It was just so much fun,” Matt Hogan said. “Romero had one of the best performances I’ve ever seen in a baseball game.”

The 13-hit night came on the eighth-straight day with a game, one day after the Anglers had two total hits against Wareham. Hogan and Holliday said Monday that the schedule was weighing down on the team, that they started struggling to find energy near the end of the stretch due to exhaustion.

But the pent up frustration from a three-game losing streak was enough to overcome that exhaustion. Garrett Martin led off the second inning with a single through the gap between first and second, and Danny Serretti tried to bunt him over to second. The Cotuit second baseman bobbled the ball, and Serretti was safe at first with a single. Josh Rivera started showing bunt to advance two runners, but he swung on a two-strike count. That ball carried through the same gap Martin’s did to score Martin and advance Serretti to third.

Two straight doubles followed, giving the Anglers four runs on five straight hits without recording an out. Caeden Trenkle advanced to third on a groundout, then strolled home on a balk to clear the bases for Romero Jr.’s second at bat of the night. He watched a strike fly by, then sent the next one to deep right-center, landing a couple of feet away from his first.

One pitching change and three-batter inning later, Romero Jr. once again found himself at the plate with two outs and Hogan on third. He once again watched a strike fly by before launching another ball to right-center, giving the Anglers an 11-3 lead, their largest lead at any point this season, and all but secured a win.

“I was like, ‘There’s absolutely no chance that he does this again,’” Hogan said. “And then all of a sudden he does it, and I’m like ‘Let’s go’... That’s one of those lifetime performances. You’ll never forget a night like that.”

Even after scoring nine runs in the first two innings, Chatham’s offense continued to have life, something it has struggled with this season, Holliday said. Except for the sixth inning, at least one Angler reached base in the other seven. After Martin led off the fifth inning with a hit by pitch, Hogan hit a ball deep that fell out of the left fielder’s mitt and rolled away from him, scoring Martin and putting Hogan on second with a two-out, two-base error.

And when the runs stopped, several players that “needed” to get hits reached base, Holliday said. Kenny Levari was the only Angler without a hit through two innings, and he recorded the final out of three of the first four innings. He led off the seventh with a ground-rule double, and Jake DeLeo, who had one hit in his last seven games, pinch hit for Trenkle in the eighth and walked, the only batter to reach against Cotuit submariner and bullpen catcher Ryan Deo.

“It’s a group of guys you keep pulling for something good to happen for each hitter,” Holliday said.

For pitchers too, Trevor Martin had one of those nights with a much-needed stellar performance, he said. Adam Tulloch started the game with two perfect innings before walking two and giving up a home run to Jace Grady in the third — what Holliday called a “wakeup call” that made the game “interesting the rest of the way.” When he loaded the bases with one out in the third, Martin entered the game to get out of the jam. A strikeout and groundout to short ended the threat.

Martin stayed in for three more innings, his longest outing of the season. In his 3.2 innings, he allowed two hits and faced one more batter than the minimum while striking out six. Martin had appeared in his fair share of close games and save opportunities, and he said the nine-run lead helped him, Tulloch and Garrett Crowley, who closed out the game, calm down and relax on the mound.

“(Grady’s home run) kinda made it interesting the rest of the way,” Holliday said.

When Romero Jr. planted in the batter’s box with two outs in the eighth, the Veterans Field crowd cheered, giving the catcher a round of applause at the chance to make history. With a nine-run lead, he was swinging for home runs, but Deo struck him out on a 63 mile-per-hour curveball to end the inning.

“It’s definitely a blessing to be able to do something like that, something crazy,” Romero Jr. said.