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Grand Slam Propels Anglers Past Cotuit, 9-8

by Mike Morris, 07-21-2011

If you were one of the hundreds of fans present at Veterans Field on Thursday to see the Anglers (12-21-1) defeat the Cotuit Kettleers (12-20-2) by a score of 9-8, then you most certainly got your money's worth.

Or, because Cape League games are free admission, let's just say you were treated to over three hours of action-packed baseball.

Thursday night's contest was a makeup game of a makeup game. When the teams finally did play ball, though, it was well worth the wait.

Leading off the game for Cotuit was right fielder Mike Yastrzemski (Vanderbilt). Anglers' fans were forced to wait until July 21st to see Red Sox Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski's grandson play in Chatham, but once he arrived, he made his presence felt.

Yaz reached on his first at bat when a pop up landed on the infield, just out of reach of Dace Kime (Louisville), Chatham's starting pitcher. As is usually the case with Kettleer base runners, Yastrzemski took off for second base, sliding in safely. But Kime struck out two batters and induced a fly out to end the top of the first unscathed.

The same cannot be said of Cotuit's starter Kaleb Fleck (Pitt-Johnstown). The former Angler (Fleck pitched for Chatham in 2009) did make it out of the first inning, but not before surrendering six runs, all earned.

The majority of those runs came on one mighty swing. Right-handed batting Kris Bryant (San Diego) launched a bases loaded home run to the opposite field, after Joe Sever (Pepperdine) had already driven in a run with a single. For good measure, Darrell Matthews (Cal) dumped an RBI single to shallow left field, making the score 6-0 Anglers after one inning of play.

Bryant's grand slam was only the second of the season for Chatham. Coincidentally, the other, hit by Justin Fleischman (Villanova), also came against Cotuit in the first game of the 2011 campaign. That game ended in a 7-7 tie.

Until the top of the fifth inning, it looked like Thursday's game would be an easy W for the Anglers. Although the Kettleers managed to score an unearned run in the fourth, Chatham extended the lead to 8-1 in the home half of the fourth.

Matthews reached on an error by the second baseman to start the frame. Evan Marzilli (South Carolina) and Alex Calbick (Maine) each singled. Dane Phillips (OK State) then pushed Matthews across with a fielder's choice, and Marzilli jogged home when Cotuit reliever Keenan Kish (Florida) balked.

The 8-1 Chatham lead disappeared in the blink of an eye. In the top of the fifth, Kime allowed an infield hit to the number nine batter Kyle Wren (Georgia Tech). The lefty batting Yastrzemski took the very next pitch and deposited it over the right field fence for a two run round-tripper. Marzilli made a valiant effort in an attempt to rob Yaz's first home run of the season, but the ball sailed just over his glove.

The inning went from bad to worse when Kime plunked the CCBL's most dangerous hitter, Victor Roache (Georgia Southern). Roache is batting .365 and came into the game leading the league in total bases (64) and RBI (25). Roache, though, was neutralized, going 0-3 on the evening. Devon Marrero (Arizona State) laced a double down the left field line, followed by a 2 RBI base knock by Jordan Leyland (UC Irvine).

Kime left the game with his team still up 8-5. Chad Gallagher (Marist) entered for the Anglers, but was not capable of preserving the lead. Cotuit pinch hitter Alex Yarbrough (Ole Miss) cleared the bases with a double, but was then thrown out trying to stretch a double into a triple.

It was déjà vu for the Anglers, who have routinely got out to early leads, only to see them squandered later in the game.

The story, though, had a happy ending for Chatham fans.

In the bottom of the sixth, Calbick shot a single into the gap in right center. Phillips reached on an infield hit, pushing Calbick into scoring position at second base. On a 1-2 pitch from Michael Clevinger (Seminole JC), Joe Sever hit a long double over the head of Yastrzemski in right field, sending the go-ahead run across home plate in the form of Alex Calbick. Just add this one to Sever's growing list of game-winning hits.

The Anglers led the Kettleers 9-8.

A combined shut out effort by bullpen arms Gallagher, Tucker Healy (Ithaca), and Matt Koch (Louisville), who pitched the seventh, eighth, and nine innings respectively, resulted in the Anglers twelfth win of the season.

Koch put the icing on Thursday's victory by striking out the potential go-ahead run, Marrero, for the game's last out. The righty hurler now has three saves on the year to go along with a 1.37 ERA and 21 Ks in 19.2 innings of work.

Chatham travels to Bourne on Friday for a 5 p.m. matchup with the Braves.

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