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Chatham capitalizes on 4 Orleans errors, wins 5-3 for 4th victory in 5 games

by Allie Kaylor, 07-31-2021

Chatham capitalizes on 4 Orleans errors, wins 5-3 for 4th victory in 5 games

Throughout previous games this season, Chatham had been the team used to making errors, the small mistakes that start a rally for the opponent and spiral into more. But this time, it was the Anglers taking advantage of those errors, scoring a run in the third inning where they didn’t get a hit but sent four batters to the plate on two Firebird errors. Jake DeLeo reached on an error to start the inning. He was out on a fielder’s choice by Danny Serretti, but Serretti later stole third and advanced home on a throwing error by the catcher.

After a 8-4 loss at Harwich on Friday, the Anglers continued their hot streak Saturday against Orleans, winning 5-3 in a game that they led for the final six innings. They took advantage of four errors and several other defensive miscues by the Firebirds, but also rallied and generated offense, something they’d struggled with most of the season but started to piece together in the final weeks. Six of Chatham’s nine hits came with runners on base, scoring five runs and holding up a pitching staff that only allowed three.

“They dropped one, it cost them an insurance run,” Chatham manager Tom Holliday said. “We’ve done that … it’s a lot nicer to have it happen (against us).”

It took four batters for the Firebirds to load the bases against starting pitcher Alex McFarlane in the first inning. Jared McKenzie led off the game with a single after a full count. A strikeout, walk and another single later, Trae Harmon came up to the plate with only one out and the middle of the order due up. With just one swing, one that launched a ball 20 feet away from the center field wall before hopping over and letting each batter advance two bases, the Firebirds led by two.

That gave Max Rajcic a lead before he even stepped on the mound. Like McFarlane, he allowed the leadoff batter to reach base, this time through a walk that Danny Serretti drew. Serretti was out on a fielder’s choice — a ball that was popped up just behind second base and wasn’t caught, but Peyton Chatagnier was able to get the force out — and the new runner on first was Caeden Trenkle, one of the fastest baserunners on Chatham’s roster.

When Josh Rivera launched a ball into right field, Trenkle wasn’t sure if it was caught. He slowly jogged toward second before settling in when the ball landed and running to third before sprinting home when third base coach Randy Wisler waved him over.

Then in the fourth, Chatham catcher Maxwell Romero Jr. led off the inning with a double down the line. Nolan McLean followed with a ball hit directly to McKenzie, who bobbled it and couldn’t get a throw in as Romero Jr. headed home and McLean stood in at second.

“He threw me a changeup, and I stayed with it,” Romero said. “I think that’s what the whole team did.”

For the second-straight inning and third time in the game, Orleans led off the fifth with a runner on base. David Marcano led off the inning with a walk, and McFarlane walked McKenzie two batters later. With two runners on, a single to left field by Chase DeLauter scored a run, tying the game again at three.

But when Trenkle singled in the bottom of the inning with one out, the Anglers were in a position to get that run back. Rivera followed by hitting a ball deep in the hole, but Marcano made it there to stop it. He flipped the ball to second for the force out, but it was too late. Trenkle was already standing up on the base, and he scored when Nolan McLean laced a single to center field.

“The kids have done a lot of work with the bat,” Holliday said. “It just took a little while longer, but we flip-flopped our roster.”

Five innings later, Sebastian Keane found himself in the same situation McFarlane did in the first. With the bases loaded and one out, Garret Guillemette popped a ball straight up. Romero Jr. originally thought the ball was fair and was ready to let it drop, but he scrambled to catch it once it started falling toward foul territory. A strikeout by McKenzie ended the threat, sending Chatham back to the dugout with a slim one-run lead.

Chatham still had time to extend that small lead, though. Kenny Levari got on base in the eighth after an error by Luke Keaschall, then made it to second when the throw flew by the first baseman. David Mendham singled, and Lyle Miller-Green grounded into a fielder’s choice to get out Levari, but he nearly made it home after Nicolas Luc bobbled the ball. Jake DeLeo hit a ground-rule double — his seventh hit in six games — to bring Mendham home for the final run of the game.

“Some of the kids that have been here all summer have made a big improvement,” Holliday said. “That’s good to see.”