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Victor Mederos tosses 6 shutout innings as Anglers defeat Falmouth, 4-1

by Allie Kaylor, 07-26-2021

Victor Mederos tosses 6 shutout innings as Anglers defeat Falmouth, 4-1

Victor Mederos started his final batter, Casey Harford, by falling behind 2-0. But on that second pitch, Dominic Tamez threw to the left of Mederos on the mound, finding Danny Serretti’s glove at second base. Kodie Kolden, who reached after Mederos hit him, was late to steal second, and Tamez noticed. Serretti slipped as he received the throw, but got up just in time to tag Kolden, who stopped in his tracks between the two bases.

Mederos walked off the mound toward his gallon of water sitting in the dugout. He grabbed the jug and slowly walked toward the Anglers bullpen in left field. When he was a few feet away, the group of relievers started clapping, and high-fived him and slapped his back once he was close enough.

His final line, at first glance, doesn’t seem too unusual. Seven strikeouts, four hits and one walk is impressive, but he’s not the first Chatham pitcher to earn those numbers this year. He’s not the first Angler to have a scoreless performance, either. But the most important part of his line — six shutout innings, 62 pitches and 20 batters faced — set him apart for the best, and longest, outing from an Angler this season. The Chatham offense waned again, but a lights-out start by Mederos and three solid relief innings by Cy Nielson led the Anglers to a 3-1 lead over Falmouth.

“End of the fourth inning, (pitching coach Dennis Cook) came up to me and was like, ‘Do you want to do more?’” Mederos said. “And then I asked them for one more after that. My pitch count was low, it was only at 62 pitches through six.”

As he did all of Sunday against the Anglers, Kolden started the game with a single between Kenny Levari at third and Josh Rivera at shortstop, his fourth hit in 11 innings against Chatham. Jace Bohrofen followed with a single two batters later, putting Mederos in a jam with one out. Instead, a ground ball by Kristofer Armstrong right to Serretti let him turn the double play and get out of the jam.

When Mederos came in for the second, he already had a lead. Serretti led off the inning with a double, and a walk and single through the middle later, the Anglers were up 2-0. All season, left-handed pitchers have given the Anglers trouble, but they seemed to figure out how to put it all together, at least for one inning.

“Especially as a starting pitcher, you have to try to pitch good no matter what,” Mederos said. “You do your best, either if you’re winning or losing, but it does feel better when you’re out there and your team is out there and they’re fighting, they’re fighting with you.”

Mederos started the second inning by throwing a strike that Taylor Smith didn’t swing at. On the similarly placed next pitch, he had a massive cut and miss. And he checked his swing on the final pitch, but he already knew he went around. He visibly cringed as Tamez pointed to the umpire for an appeal, sending him back to the dugout empty-handed.

A first-pitch single on the following at bat once again put a runner on with one out for Mederos. Anthony Hall grounded out straight to Rivera at short, giving the Anglers another easy double play to eliminate the threat. It was the first time he’d faced the minimum in an inning, something he’d do three more times before the night was over.

Tom Holliday remarked earlier in the season that if the offense scores three runs, “we better pitch really good.” Nielson entered the game in the seventh for Mederos, trying to build on that “really good” outing and preserve a manageable yet fragile three-run lead. Nielsen has struggled this year, managing an 8.04 ERA and never having a scoreless outing this season.

After inducing a groundout by Bohrofen and striking out Armstrong, he issued a walk to Smith, his first base runner of the night. A following ground ball to third by Hall should’ve ended the inning. Instead, the throw by Levari went wide, missing Miller-Green’s glove, putting runners on second and third. A wild pitch to the next batter scored the run, but Nielson found a strikeout to end the inning.

“We’re lucky they only gave the runners one base,” Holliday said.

From that point on, Nielsen seemed like a different pitcher than he was his first six outings this season. The five runs against Harwich, the six hits against Wareham didn’t matter as Nielson continued to mow down batters. In the eighth, he hit the first batter he faced, then allowed a single — the only hit he allowed all night — then ended the inning with a strikeout.

It was a confidence booster for Nielson, Holliday said. He struck out seven batters, the same number as Mederos in half as many innings. Before Monday, his season high was four. His ERA dropped by over a run and his average against fell nearly 40 points. He was able to build off a one-run performance six days prior at Yarmouth-Dennis, but allowed three fewer hits and struck out six more than his last appearance.

T“I’ve been working on a changeup with (Cook),” Nielsen said. “That helped me in different counts when I couldn’t throw other pitches… I’ve been throwing it a little bit too hard, so I’ve been working on a few things to throw it softer to get a bigger difference between my fastball and changeup.”

To start the ninth, Armstrong, the hero of the previous night, stepped to the plate. He also led off the ninth inning at Guv Fuller field, sending a home run over the right field fence to win the game for the Commodores. Armstrong made contact, fouling off the first two pitches he saw, but Nielson struck him out. Falmouth’s OPS leader retreated to the dugout to end an 0-for-4 night with three strikeouts, two coming at the hands of Nielson.

Nielson struck out Smith, too, this time on three pitches and two swings and misses. When Falmouth was down to its final strike with Hall at the plate, the Chatham dugout sat at the edge of the bench waiting to come out. Hall walked, but a four pitch strikeout ended the game, giving Nielson his first save of the season.

“To escape with a two-run lead and let him go out for the ninth… made it a perfect pitching night for us,” Holliday said.