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If only to matchup with Brewster starter Cody Ponce, John Schiffner shook up his lineup Tuesday and it worked. He put Ty Moore (UCLA) in the two-hole, hit Garrett Hampson (Long Beach State) eighth and plugged Jake Fraley (LSU) and Landon Cray (Seattle) in the five and nine spots, respectively.
The latter additions of Fraley and Cray, who each made their first appearances with the Anglers in the game, were at the epicenter of an offensive effort that included six runs and 10 hits — the most Chatham in the young season.
“Those guys were good,” Schiffner said. “It was good to get them in.”
Fraley started as the designated hitter and Cray in center field, and their combined production helped Chatham (2-4) to a 6-2 win that snapped a four-game skid. The Anglers will travel to Red Wilson Field to face Yarmouth-Dennis (2-4) at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, and two of the team’s newest faces will look to piggyback on their impressive debuts. Whether Schiffner decides to roll out Fraley and Cray for the second straight game will depend on his shuffling lineup card, and two definitive skill sets will be at his expense either way.
Hitting behind Chris Saw (Boston College) and A.J. Murray (Georgia Tech), Fraley showed the ability to drive the ball the other way and hit confidently in deep counts. Cray, whose speed is only masked by his off-field saunter, provided the Anglers with an assuring glove in center field and creative plate approach.
“We didn’t play in the losing streak but we wanted to help the team get out of it just as much,” Cray said after Chatham’s win over Brewster. “And I’m glad we could.”
Cray had a great spring with Seattle and earned All-Western Athletic Conference honors at season’s end. The 5-foot-9-inch, 165-pound outfielder hit .350 with 30 walks and six stolen bases, and added eight doubles, 26 runs, 22 RBIs and even two home runs to his final line. He showed off his ability to get on base and create scoring opportunities Tuesday, and also his ability to play a highly competent center field.
After Nick Collins (Georgetown) broke the game open with a single that scored three runs in the third, Cray extended the inning with a perfectly executed hit and run. Hampson was going on the pitch and Cray’s slap hit was gloved by Whitecaps’ shortstop Travis Maezes, but he had no chance to get the speedy Cray at first.
“That’s a center fielder for you,” Schiffner said. “That’s what we’ve been waiting for, a quick guy to play center and get on base.”
Before the game, Schiffner called Fraley a five-tool player who he expects to excel at the plate and in the field this summer. He didn’t get a chance to take the field as he was the designated hitter against Brewster, but took the opportunity to build on the impressive freshman campaign that he had with LSU. Fraley hit .372 while starting in 27 games for the Tigers, also collecting 45 hits, seven doubles, three home runs and 29 RBIs.
The left-handed Fraley had two hits against the Whitecaps — one to left and the other right — also reached by way of walk and fielder’s choice. He served as a viable bridge from the table-setting top of the order to the bottom third, which grabbed all four of the team’s RBIs.
Together, Fraley and Cray combined to go 4-for-7 with an RBI and run scored, a two-player implementation that proved antidotal for the Anglers.
“I felt good just starting out,” Fraley said. “I’ll do my best to get on base and get hits whenever I’m put out there.”
Broadcast coverage of the Anglers and Red Sox begins at 4:40 p.m. with the Anglers Extra Pregame Show. Watch and listen on TRZ Teamline or listen by phone 1-800-846-4700, code 3481. Visit Broadcast Central for more information.