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Hampton's complete game helps Chatham tie Bourne

by Chris Blake, 07-30-2022

Hampton's complete game helps Chatham tie Bourne

Chatham manager Tom Holliday said infielder Anthony Nunez and outfielder Guy Garibay Jr. approached him before Saturday’s game to state their availability to pitch should the Anglers run low on bullpen arms.

In the final stretch of the regular season, the Anglers’ options on the mound were wearing thin, but their starter against Bourne was certain. With Chatham chasing a playoff spot, Ben Hampton, the Anglers’ steadiest pitcher throughout the summer, took the mound.

Chatham never needed Nunez or Garibay to get loose. It never needed to dip into its bullpen at all. Hampton went all the way in the Anglers’ 1-1 tie with the Braves at Veterans Field, throwing the first nine-inning complete game in the Cape Cod Baseball League since 2017.

“That was the best outing I’ve seen in my four years in Cape Cod,” Holliday said.

Hampton allowed four hits but prompted two double plays and picked a runner off to face just one more batter than the minimum. The lefty built on his league-leading strikeout total with four punchouts through the first two innings and nine over the course of the game.

“They always say big-time players step up in big situations, and so I just always try my best to remind myself of that, and I woke up this morning knowing how big this game was, so I was mentally getting prepared all day for it,” Hampton said.

Hampton made a single mistake, a 1-2 pitch that Christopher Brito belted into the trees beyond the left field fence for a solo home run in the top of the second. Hampton quickly moved past the mistake though, retiring the next six batters he faced.

The game finished in a blistering two hours and three minutes as a result of Hampton and Bourne (20-14-7) starter Anthony Arguelles’ efficiency. Through five innings, Hampton had thrown 56 pitches while Arguelles’ total sat at 59.

Hampton continued to roll, recording a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts in the top of the sixth. He ran into trouble after Matt Shaw led off the next inning with a single, but he worked around the hit and concluded the frame with a five-pitch strikeout of Brito.

“After the seventh I was still feeling fresh, and I told Tom that I was finishing this game,” Hampton said. “And he said, ‘I trust you.’ And so he let me keep going back out there, so that meant a lot to me.”

Hampton delivered, forcing two flyouts and a groundout in the eighth. In the top of the ninth, he induced a 4-6-3 double play to conclude his outing with 94 pitches.

“I told (Holliday) if there was extra innings I wanted the 10th,” Hampton said.

Arguelles matched Hampton’s dominance during his time on the mound, holding Chatham hitless through six innings. The Anglers (13-19-9) eventually broke through, with Roc Riggio once again at the center of the action.

After hitting a pop-up and striking out in his first two at-bats against Arguelles, Riggio connected with a 2-2 offering, sending a no-doubter over the right field fence to lead off the bottom of the seventh.

“I was just trying to get on base for my team and I got a good pitch to hit and I hit it out,” Riggio said. “It felt good to put my boys up and tie them.”

Riggio’s home run finished as the Anglers’ only hit, resulting in Chatham’s league-leading ninth tie.

“I guess if you’re gonna take a tie, we’ll take it tonight,” Holliday said.