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The Chatham Anglers came into their game against the Bourne Braves 2-5-2 in games their opponent scores first. When Dalton Rushing hit a two-out home run off Kolby Kubichek in the first, it looked like the first place Braves would extend that losing trend.
But just four batters into the bottom of the inning, Maxwell Romero Jr. hit a line drive down the right-field line that landed fair before bouncing deep into the outfield corner. Danny Serretti, who reached on a five-pitch walk, scored and Lyle Miller-Green, who reached on a single, stopped at third as the cutoff throw came in.
Two more line drive singles scored three more runs, and the Anglers entered the second inning up two runs on the best team in the league. The bats cooled down soon after Michael Sansone entered for Bourne in the second, but the three-run first inning and two-run second was enough as Kubichek, Dylan Carmouche and Cade Winquest held the Braves to two runs ' their fourth game in the last five with two or fewer scored. The Anglers collected double-digit hits for the third time this season, and defeated Bourne, 5-2, to snap a four-game winless streak.
'That's a good team, that's the best team in this league,' Chatham manager Tom Holliday said. '(Kubichek) moves the ball around the strike zone like a veteran pitcher.'
Logan Britt started the second inning with a ball lined deep into right field. Far too many times this season he's been a victim of balls hit directly to fielders, impressive outfield catches and line drives that would've been home runs had they been three feet fair. As the ball sailed into the right center gap and bounced off the outfield wall, Britt slid into second with a hit that finally didn't end in the glove of a fielder.
Serretti, who'd walked on five pitches in his first time at the plate, fell behind 0-2 on Bourne pitcher Hunter Omlid. But the Central Arizona righty sent a pitch that ricocheted off catcher Colton Bender, and Serretti stuck his tongue out and motioned for his teammate on second to take the next base. When Bender tried to plant his feet and make the throw, he slipped in the dirt and let Britt advance easily.
Holliday has stressed multiple times the importance of the 'little hits' ' the rallies that come after singles upon singles, not home runs that the Anglers had relied on time and time again. Against Wareham on Friday, they tied 4-4, but only on one hit that came when walks and hit batters loaded the bases for Lyle Miller-Greene's grand slam. With a runner on third and no outs, it seemed like the perfect chance for Chatham to take advantage of the little hits. A ground ball could score a run, and a single most definitely would. Far too many times this season had the Anglers pushed a runner into scoring position and failed to score him, but this time, Serretti delivered, sending an infield single straight toward Omlid to score Britt and force Bourne to make a pitching change.
Matt Hogan proceeded to pop out to the catcher right in front of the plate, and Serretti was caught stealing. A one on and no outs scenario had quickly turned into no runners and two outs in five pitches. But as he has all season for the Anglers, Miller-Green delivered again. As soon as the ball left his bat, everyone in the park knew it was gone. Miller-Green slowly trotted around the bases, the crowd rose to their feet and the Bourne outfielders didn't bother moving.
Perhaps more than anyone, Kubichek felt less pressure after the Anglers took a four-run lead. The Texas righty had a 2.54 ERA through his first nine starts in the college season, but allowed nine runs over less than six innings to finish the season, including an appearance he didn't record an out. Coming back to Chatham was a chance to reset. A chance to pitch again with the team where he recorded a 0.90 ERA in 2019 and play with a coach he was familiar and comfortable with.
And after a first-inning home run by Rushing that landed in the parking lot of the Firehouse in right field, Kubichek was nearly untouchable. He gave up a single to the following batter, but he allowed just one more base runner in the following three innings. After two groundouts to start the second inning, Joshua Moylan sent the first pitch he saw directly into Kubichek's foot. He immediately picked up the ball and threw it to first, but the throw sailed into the Bourne dugout, giving Moylan a two-base error.
Kubichek bent over clutching his ankle after making the throw. Pitching coach Dennis Cook and a trainer came over to make sure he was OK, and after a walk around the mound and a couple warmup pitches, he was ready to go. An off-speed pitch up in the zone struck out Tanner Schobel on three called strikes. Throughout the rest of his appearance, his velocity never decreased, even with a hurt foot. Holliday has said before that he expects his pitchers to have 50 pitches through three innings ' Kubichek didn't hit that through four.
'There was no way I was coming out,' Kubichek said. Holliday added that the adrenaline of the game helped cover the pain.
Carmouche then entered for the fifth, and the left-hander's approach contrasted Kubichek's ' confusing and shaking up a Bourne lineup that had a fairly even mix of left handed and right handed batters. He induced a flyout on the first pitch he threw, and escaped the fifth inning allowing two singles. But the sixth inning came with trouble, as has been an issue for Chatham after the starter leaves the game. The Anglers had allowed at least five runs in four of its last six games, with most of the blowouts coming at the hands of pitching collapses and occasional comeback wins.
Holliday said before the game that the next 10 games would 'tell the tale of the season.' Chapter one was defeating the league's top team. But even with the win, Holliday quickly pointed out room for improvement. The lineup struggled against lefties. They struggled with breaking pitches. The Anglers made four errors, with nearly all of them involving Miller-Green, an outfielder who's played first the past week after Hogan's arrival crowded that position. With eight straight games ' five at home ' after Tuesday's off-day, any game could make or break a season.
'The season's too short, we can't wait much longer,' Holliday said.