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Every starter reaches base in Chatham’s 14-hit, 11-6 win over Brewster

by Andrew Crane, 08-03-2021

Every starter reaches base in Chatham’s 14-hit, 11-6 win over Brewster

Jamie Shevchik glanced toward the bullpen as he strolled back from the pitcher’s mound, with Garrett Martin cradling a bat and two Chatham runners positioned by the bases. The Brewster manager’s visit with one out in the third inning had given his reliever additional pitches to warm up, biding time until a potential pitching change, but his current one, Donovan Burke, still faced a jam. At second was Josh Rivera, who’d slapped an RBI single to right field earlier. Then there was Nolan McLean, who worked a four-pitch walk.

By that point, to force the Whitecaps to consider abandoning their starting left-handed pitcher and turn to another one, the Anglers had already scored for a second-straight inning by bringing their leadoff hitter across the plate. And Martin extended that stretch deeper into the inning by sending a ball to center field that Mac Bingham tracked until he couldn’t anymore, where it ricocheted off his glove and bounced to the wall.

“I know he wasn't throwing real hard, he was a lefty who had some tail on his fastball,” Martin said. “So I was just looking for a fastball out over the plate to hit, and I got a good pitch to hit.”

Rivera scored easily from second. McLean scooted in at third base. Both of those runners built the foundation for the rest of Chatham’s inning, crossing the plate, forcing a Brewster pitching change, finally, and giving Chatham a 5-1 lead. It turned into a 14-hit performance that featured every Angler starter reaching base — whether it be via a hit or walk — and carried them to a 11-6 victory over Brewster. For all the weeks the Anglers couldn’t string together wins, whether from not winning away from Veterans Field or not recording enough hits, they’ve found a way to throttle toward the end of their season with six victories in their past eight games.

“Guys got better, I mean that's all there is to it,” Chatham manager Tom Holliday said. “Early on, you know as soon as a left hander showed you could just fold the book. But no, we competed tonight a lot.”

The successful offensive innings flashed strides that’ve grown to define Chatham’s season, the ones that may have emerged too late but, as future seasons stretch on and start to define this group of players, will shape their collegiate and professional trajectories. It’s reached a point, just like Holliday wanted, where they can leave “feeling good about themselves.” Where, even if they can’t reach .500 with a win on Wednesday against Harwich, they became one of the CCBL’s hottest teams down the stretch, working with a “patchwork” lineup that features just a trio of players who appeared in the season-opener.

And perhaps the biggest stride came when Chatham knocked out Brewster’s two left-handed pitchers to open the game. It’d been a season-long struggle for the Anglers, failing to generate hits, or any hit, against pitchers throwing from that side of the rubber. That’s why the Whitecaps started a lefty every time they faced the Anglers. The strategy had worked, generating wins in three of five games, and on Tuesday Brewster turned to it again.

Lyle Miller-Green led off the second inning with a single up the middle, staying down on a breaking ball and slapping it over the second baseman’s head. He advanced to second on a wild pitch, and came around to score when third-base coach Randy Whisler waved him around following Maxwell Romero Jr.’s RBI single.

That gave Chatham an early lead, one that happened only because Trevor Martin escaped a jam in the second inning, when he issued three consecutive walks — to the bottom three batters in Brewster’s order — that loaded the bases. He struck out Bingham swinging, though, to end the inning. But in the next set of Whitecaps at-bats, Porter Brown launched a home run to deep right field, where Matt Hogan sprinted to the wall before watching it fly over, and tied the game.

Then the Anglers exploded for four runs, the deepest blast coming via Garrett Martin’s double, and everything that followed could be traced back to Hogan’s blooped single to right that opened the inning. Burke caught him leaning and picked him off at first, but a balk nullified the call and placed Hogan on second, a spot he scored from on Rivera’s RBI single after advancing to third on a sacrifice fly.

“There were some times early in the season where we had runners that didn't even advance on fly balls,” Holliday said. “Now, we took advantage of every opportunity they gave us.”

They found a way to score in five of the next innings too, even as Brewster chipped away at Chatham’s ever-growing lead and scored five runs — while also notching a run and loading the bases in the ninth. The Whitecaps loaded the bases against Garrett Crowley after he entered the fifth, piecing together a single and two walks, and added two runs when Spencer Jones bounced a single up the middle.

Rivera then recorded another RBI in his next at-bat, when Brewster’s right fielder and second baseman collided on his shallow fly ball and Danny Serretti scored. Romero Jr. added another tally to his RBI total with an RBI double that bounced over the first-base bag and tailed past the foul line. And two deep blasts, two of the deepest at Veterans Field this season, closed out the game where Chatham scored the third-most runs it has all season. The first came from Serretti, who sent a home run into the trees behind the center-field fence. The second came when Lyle Miller-Green hit it a few feet further, into a different set of trees, mirroring destinations of batting practice hits throughout the season.

"Just knowing that might be my final at-bat here ... that was pretty cool,” Miller-Green said.

This one, though, came against a lefty, a type of pitcher he’s struggled to hit all season. And it came on a slider, a type of pitch he’s failed to read, reset and recover in time to convert. That, in a 400-foot blast, captured the upward trend of Chatham’s season, even if it’s a finite one.