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Chatham goes winless in doubleheader with Hyannis

by Chris Blake, 06-26-2022

Chatham goes winless in doubleheader with Hyannis

Johnny Castagnozzi gave the Anglers exactly what they needed in his 10th at-bat of the season. In the top of the seventh, his solo home run to right-center field tied the second game of Chatham and Hyannis’ doubleheader at 4-4.

“It felt good, but I’ve hit two so far that went to the warning track and I was like, ‘Oh, that’s got a chance,’ and they didn’t go,” Castagnozzi said.

The tie held, but Castagnozzi’s home run prevented a Hyannis sweep after the Harbor Hawks won the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader 7-3 at McKeon Park.

Castagnozzi’s blast came on the heels of the Harbor Hawks’ three-run sixth inning, which gave them a 4-3 lead in the doubleheader-shortened seven-inning game.

Chatham led 3-1 in the bottom of the sixth when Mitchell Jebb’s leadoff single ended Ben Hampton’s start and brought Magnus Ellerts into the game.

Ellerts’ command was off from the start. He walked the first batter he faced before sending two wild pitches past Hayden Travinski, bringing in two runs and tying the game at 3-3.

With two outs and a runner on second, Rocco Peppi sent Ellerts’ pitch to deep left field, but in the eyes of nearly everyone, the ball was a foot foul.

Home plate umpire Dave Perry signaled for a fair ball though. Nolan Schanuel crossed home and Hyannis led 4-3.

Chatham manager Tom Holliday exchanged words with Perry on the field, all but forcing the umpire to issue a warning, but it could do nothing to change what had happened.

A hectic final two innings overshadowed Hampton’s brilliant start. The lefty allowed only two base runners over the first four innings, but Travinski caught the first stealing and Hampton picked off the second. Over five-plus innings of work, Hampton struck out seven and allowed two runs on six hits.

While Hampton gave the Anglers a strong outing in the second leg of the doubleheader, Carson Whisenhunt’s start in game one fell on the opposite end of the spectrum. Whisenhunt allowed seven runs over four-plus innings, putting Chatham (4-8-2) in an insurmountable hole.

On cue, scouts lined up to make their evaluations of Whisenhunt. He quickly justified their trip to Hyannis, sending the leadoff hitter back to the dugout with a curveball on his third pitch. Tito Flores stepped in next and watched a ball and two strikes before waving and missing at a fastball for the second out.

Whisenhunt continued through the Harbor Hawks’ lineup, beginning the bottom of the second by freezing Cole McConnell with a curveball for his third strikeout. After setting another batter aside with a ground out though, Whisenhunt’s magic disappeared.

Christian Moore began the ambush, sending a curveball to left-center field for a triple. After getting ahead with a first-pitch strike to Dominic Pitelli, Whisenhunt fired four consecutive balls. He failed to cover the plate on a wild pitch in the next at-bat, allowing Moore to score from third easily.

Jebb then plated Pitelli with an infield single before Flores put Hyannis (6-5-3) ahead 4-1 with a double to left-center field.

Whisenhunt returned to form over the next two innings, allowing one base runner and striking out four, but his dominance was again only temporary. He came back onto the mound in the top of the fifth, but Jebb sent his 3-1 offering to left-center field for a leadoff single. Flores then notched his second hit and third RBI with a soft single to right field before Justin Janas chased Whisenhunt from the game with a double.

After both inherited runners scored off reliever Alex McFarlane, Whisenhunt’s ERA rose to 10.63 through three appearances this season.

It was questionable whether Chatham’s 10-hit, seven-run performance against Brewster on Saturday would turn a page for the offense, and the Anglers exited the doubleheader with an unconvincing yes.

In the top of the second inning in game one, Dominic Tamez stepped into the box with two outs and Cooper Ingle on first. After falling beyond 0-2, Tamez worked the count even before lacing a double down the left field line. Third base coach Randy Whisler waved Ingle around third, a decision that paid off as Ingle beat the throw home by a step. The next inning, Caden Grice sent a two-run home run over the center field fence.

In game two, Jake DeLeo scored Marcus Brown with a double in the top of the third. The next inning, Brown drove in Travinski with an infield single. Matt Hogan scored the Anglers’ third run, coming home from second on a fielding error by Schanuel at first base in the top of the sixth.

Across 14 innings Sunday, the Anglers tallied seven runs on 14 hits — six of which went for extra bases. Even so, Chatham came away from the doubleheader with a loss and tie — and still in search of its first win on the road.