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Chatham falls to Bourne, 2-1, for 2nd-straight loss as season enters final quarter

by Allie Kaylor, 07-24-2021

Chatham falls to Bourne, 2-1, for 2nd-straight loss as season enters final quarter

Kenny Levari started his second-inning at bat with a bunt attempt. Jake DeLeo and Maxwell Romero Jr. led off the inning with singles, DeLeo’s his first outfield hit since July 2. Putting runners on second and third with one out would mean the following batter would need to put just one ball — any ball — into the outfield to make up for a Bourne home run hit in the top of the inning.

The Chatham third baseman abandoned the bunt on the second pitch, swinging at it and sending it deep down the left field line, hard enough that it would score one, maybe two runs if it was fair. But where the ball would’ve landed didn’t matter. Bourne left fielder Nick Goodwin dove to catch it, ending Levari’s at-bat to record the first out of the inning.

The two runners advanced on a deep fly to center, but a fly out ended the inning, and the Anglers couldn’t capitalize on a two-on, no-outs situation. They reached base in four of the first six innings without scoring before finally crossing the plate in the seventh, but they still could only manage one run with runners on second and third with one out. It exemplified a trend that had continued all season for the Anglers as they fell 2-1 to Bourne to close the season series.

“We don’t have much time left to change what we’ve been into what we have to be,” Chatham manager Tom Holliday said after a 12-3 win over Cotuit. “We could run out of time if we don’t move runners and get them in.”

With 10 games left in the season, the Anglers are still looking for that change. Josh Rivera singled on a hard-hit high chopper after two-straight strikeouts to start the game, and Garrett Martin was hit by a pitch to start a two-out rally, giving the Anglers their first scoring opportunity early. But with two outs, a groundout to the second baseman ended the inning and stranded the runners.

After leaving four runners on base in the first two innings, the Anglers started a streak of four consecutive three-batter innings. All three batters struck out in the third, and all three were retired in the fourth. Levari was hit in the elbow to start the fifth, with a crack that could be heard throughout the ballpark. But a caught line drive and the ensuing tag kept the Anglers off the basepaths.

“I think we’re having better at bats,” Chatham second baseman Danny Serretti said. “From when I first got here in early July, we’ve been swinging it really good.”

In the sixth, the Anglers once again led off the inning with a baserunner, this time a walk by Matt Hogan. But the very next at bat, Rivera grounded a ball to the second baseman who was standing directly behind Hogan. He fielded the ball and tagged the Chatham lefty before throwing the ball to first for the double play. Hogan and Holliday tried to argue that he missed the tag, but the umpires shut them down, and a strikeout ended the inning.

Lyle Miller-Green started the seventh with a single, giving the Anglers their third straight inning with a leadoff base runner. Just like the first and second, Chatham put two runners on base, the second a one-out double by Romero. They couldn’t get another on base, but a sacrifice fly to deep center field scored Miller-Green, the second Chatham runner of the night to reach third base.

The Anglers stood within striking distance the entire game because of near-flawless pitching by Tanner Witt and Alex McFarlane. Witt started the game with two hits in the first inning, but struck out the side to exit the inning unscathed. A home run by Zachary Agnos in the second was Chatham’s only earned run of the night.

The other run scored on a throwing error by Rivera. He collected a ground ball deep in the hole, but was off balance when he made his throw to first. The throw hit the ground a couple feet in front of Miller-Green’s glove at first base and bounced away from him when he tried to swipe the bad throw. Max Anderson, who’d reached on a single earlier in the inning, scored from first as the ball rolled toward the opposing dugout.

“At that time, you don’t really say ‘Well that’s the determining factor,’” Holliday said. “But when you’re playing tight baseball games, little mistakes cost you games — we make a lot of little mistakes. It could be bobbling a base hit, it could be not taking a base on a passed ball. But we do something small all the time that beats us.”

Witt, McFarlane and Zachary Maxwell combined to hold the Braves scoreless for the final six innings while striking out 11 batters combined. McFarlane didn’t allow a hit but walked three over his four innings of work to send the Anglers to the bottom of the ninth needing just one run.

Martin laced a ball into right field to lead off the ninth, one that curved in the air away from right fielder Braylin Wimmer. Matt Garcia came in to pinch run, and Miller-Green stepped up to the plate. The right-handed slugger leads the Anglers in home runs, but he hadn’t hit one since July 11, also against Bourne.

Miller-Green jumped ahead to a 2-1 count after Holliday came to the plate to encourage his hitter. But two-straight swinging strikes held Garcia at first base. DeLeo came to the plate, trying to get another hit after breaking his hitless streak in the second inning. And for a second, it looked like he may have. The ball off his bat carried to opposite field, and kept carrying as Garcia took a larger stride toward second, until it was caught just in front of the warning track.

When Romero Jr., who’d tied a league-record with three home runs in the last game at Veterans Field, strolled to the plate and stood in the left batter’s box, Bourne made a mound visit and put in the left-handed Bryson Cafaro to get the final out. Two straight breaking balls broke outside the zone for balls, and then Cafaro threw the best pitch Romero Jr. was likely to see in that at bat. He fouled off that low-in-the-zone fastball high behind the press box, and he grounded out to third to end the game.

“We barrelled up a ton of balls tonight, just didn’t get super lucky there in the last inning and a few other times,” Serretti said.