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'Situational awareness,' Wareham’s errors lead to Chatham’s 4th straight win

by Anish Vasudevan, 07-21-2022

'Situational awareness,' Wareham’s errors lead to Chatham’s 4th straight win

Blake Wright bobbled the ball twice after Marcus Brown hit it at him in two powerful hops. Brown reached first base before Wright could finally make the throw, sprinting home on a line drive from Chuck Ingram for Chatham’s first run in the second inning.

The next inning, Brown popped the second pitch he faced into shallow left-center and Wright backpedaled to make the grab for the final out. He couldn’t glove it again, allowing Roc Riggio and Jake DeLeo to score as the ball bounced in the outfield.

”Even if you reach on error, you want to put the ball in play with two outs,” Brown said. “You have to find a way to get guys home even if it doesn't help your average.”

Chatham continuously exploited Wareham’s mistakes, which included four errors, in its 11-2 win on Wednesday at Spillane Field. Roman Kimball led the Anglers on the bump, providing the “energy” for an offense which notched double-digit runs for the first time this season. They’ve now won four straight games and sit a point behind fourth-place Harwich in the East Division.

Kimball made his second start for the Anglers, entering the game with 13 strikeouts in seven innings. He struggled to find his command early in frames, walking the first batter he faced in three out of his five innings.

“He had a five-inning outing where he gave us a chance to win,” manager Tom Holliday said. “We could put up with the walks.”

Kimball threw four straight balls to Chase Davis in the first inning. He continued to check on Davis, communicating with catcher Jack Rubenstein before quickly turning his body and throwing to first baseman Caden Grice.

Davis got back in time twice during Max Anderson’s at-bat. After Anderson struck out though, Kimball finally caught Davis on his fifth pickoff attempt of the frame.

“The pickoff move for me has always been one of my strong suits,” Kimball said. “To be able to have that in my back pocket is really important, especially because a lot of guys in this league are looking to steal.”

Following the Anglers’ third run, Kimball walked Davis again in the bottom of the third. He continued to check on Davis at first, heaving the ball to Grice four times during Anderson’s second at-bat. Kimball ended up pitching nine times at Anderson, who continued to hit foul balls. But the final smack landed inside the fence close to Wareham’s dugout, providing an easy catch for Grice.

“You have to be persistent and stay confident with your stuff,” Kimball said about his increased pitch count in later innings of Wednesday’s game. “To be able to come out in those scenarios is a big thing for me and a big confidence builder.”

Brown said Kimball could force weak contact with a “heavy ball,” making batters think their timing is correct. The result of that can be grounders to the left side, which helped Anthony Nunez to start double plays in the fourth and fifth frames.

Nunez executed on the offensive end as well, launching a sacrifice fly to right field to bring Ingram home for Chatham’s fourth run before a sacrifice bunt moved Ingle to second base in the sixth inning.

“We had a situational awareness of what was going on,” Nunez said. “We just took advantage of every opportunity.”

Ingle scored after Guy Garibay Jr. followed suit of Nunez with his own sacrifice fly to center field, also moving Rubenstein to third base. “It puts a different kind of pressure on the offense,” Holliday said. “When somebody bunts up the runner, it’s telling you that your job is to bring them. That’s how you get a big score.”

DeLeo came into the batter’s box after Garibay’s fly out, watching the first pitch he saw land in the strike zone. He hammered the ball in between second and third, reaching second on Wright’s third error while Rubenstein scored with ease.

In the top of the eighth, Ingle rounded second base after knocking the ball in center field for his final hit. Wareham pitcher Josh Mallitz then lost Nunez’s pop-up under the newly-fixed light towers at Spillane Field, allowing him to slide safely into first.

And after Mallitz bounced the ball in front of home plate for a wild pitch, Ingle moved to third. Garibay and DeLeo then worked walks, sending Ingle trotting to home plate.

“You have to have walks, you have to have errors to score a lot in this league,” Holliday said. “You’re seeing us on a little bit of a roll right now.”