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McFarlane helps turn tide in Chatham's win over Y-D

by Chris Blake, 07-17-2022

McFarlane helps turn tide in Chatham's win over Y-D

The Anglers’ dugout celebrated as soon as Guy Garibay Jr. made contact in the top of the sixth. After Bryce Collins walked three batters to load the bases, Garibay drove his 3-2 offering into the right-center field gap. Cooper Ingle and Mitchell Daly crossed home easily, and Nelson Rivera raced around the bases to score from first, putting Chatham ahead 4-2.

The Anglers overcame a slow start to beat Y-D 6-2 on Saturday in a game shortened to seven innings due to darkness at Red Wilson Field. It was Chatham’s first road win this season.

Chatham (7-17-7) struggled against the league’s then-points leader early. With Garibay on first, Marcus Brown sent a double to the left-center field fence on one hop to give the Anglers two runners in scoring position with one out. Nothing came to fruition though as Roc Riggio lined out to second baseman Luke Shliger and Ingle struck out swinging after getting ahead 3-0.

Homer Bush Jr. grounded a single up the middle to lead off the bottom of the first. He advanced to third on two wild pitches during the next at-bat. Shliger then cashed in on Chatham’s long-standing difficulties controlling the base paths, tapping a ground ball up the middle that deflected off Cam Brown’s glove for an RBI single.

Cole Carrigg then scorched a line drive to left field for the Red Sox’s third consecutive single. Two batters later, Caden Connor gave Y-D a 2-0 lead on a shallow fly ball to left field that dropped in for an RBI single.

The momentum shifted with Alex McFarlane’s performance. The right-hander came out of the bullpen in the bottom of the third and shut down the Red Sox. Over five shutout innings, McFarlane retired the side in order twice and never faced more than four batters in a frame.

“That might be the best he’s pitched,” Chatham manager Tom Holliday said. “He went five innings tonight clean and his stuff was dominant.

“We’ve given up games in the last two innings … He didn’t give them a chance.”

From his three-quarter arm slot, McFarlane struck out six batters. He allowed one hit — a single that took an awkward bounce before skipping past Marcus Brown at shortstop — and walked two batters.

Riggio went 2 for 4 to continue his offensive surge. With Saturday’s contest, he moved to 10 for 29 (.345) over his past eight games.

Y-D (16-9-8) was its own worst enemy at points. Jared Lyons walked Rivera to begin the top of the third before hitting Jake DeLeo two batters later. With two outs, Riggio pulled a line drive through the right side of the infield. Braden Montgomery had difficulty handling the single, and after initially holding up at third base, Rivera came around to score.

“I’m the same guy every day,” Riggio said. “(I’m) starting to see the ball better, get better swings, get the pitches I like to hit, swing at the pitches I like to swing at and get better results.”

The Anglers pushed across two more runs in the top of the seventh with Riggio again in the middle of the action. With Marcus Brown on first, Riggio lined a single through the shift, placing runners at the corners with no outs.

Before Zachary Jacobs delivered the 1-1 pitch to Ingle, Riggio bolted for second base. Jacobs stepped off, but Riggio made it safely without a throw. Two batters later, he scored from second on a soft pop-up off the bat of Matt Hogan that bounced off Shliger’s glove.

Still, Holliday saw room for improvement. The Anglers left eight runners on base, six of which were stranded in scoring position.

“Nothing gives you more energy than a win, and you win a game and all of the sudden everything feels better, but we still have to keep plugging,” Holliday said.