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Before Ty Moore (UCLA) walked to the plate in the top of the second, Chatham manager John Schiffner gave him some direct advice.
“He told me, ‘The first pitch you see high and inside you swing out of your shoes,’” Moore said. “That just happened to come on a 3-0 pitch and I listened.”
With a heavy wind pushing out to right field, Schiffner urged the lefty to jump on any and all chances to put a ball in the jet stream. Moments later, Hyannis starter Blake Hickman ran a get-me-over fastball into Moore’s wheelhouse and he crushed it over the right-field fence for a grand slam. Those proved to be the four winnings runs in the Anglers’ (12-9-1) 9-3 victory over the Harbor Hawks (10-12) at McKeon Park on Sunday night, Chatham’s fourth straight win and Hyannis’ six straight loss.
Charlie Dant (Dayton) started and earned the win for the Anglers and Hickman — after giving up five runs in the game-deciding second — was hooked for the loss.
“I feel like I’m getting boring because we are just doing everything so well,” Schiffner said. “We did everything well again and that’s why the results are so good. Another good team win where everyone showed up.”
As much as Moore’s slam influenced the final result, Dant’s arm was equally, if not even more, effective. On his 21st birthday, the right-hander threw six innings of three-run baseball, with two-thirds of the damage coming in the first. After striking out the first two hitters of the game, he yielded two runs before finishing the frame with another punch out. He went on to collect five more strikeouts for a total of eight on the night — including at least one in every inning but his sixth and final.
Dant doesn’t throw particularly hard and Sunday was no different. But he spotted his fastball well, worked inside on righties and leaned on his changeup as an out pitch.
“I just felt like I was commanding my fastball well early in counts and that let me get ahead of a lot of guys,” Dant said. “My changeup felt good and being ahead allowed me to throw it a lot so I kept working it.”
After Moore’s home run gave Dant a three-run cushion to rest on, the Anglers all but coasted to the finish. They set up Moore’s blast with situational two-out hitting, scratched two more across in the fifth and Kal Simmons (Kennesaw State) singled in two more — mere icing on the cake — in the top of the ninth.
And hitters contributed from all crannies of the lineup while relievers Bryan Goossens (Siena) and Kyle Davis (Southern California) bolstered Dant’s effort. A.J. Murray (Georgia Tech) extended his hitting streak to 11 games by going 2-for-3 with an RBI, run scored and three walks. Patrick Mazeika (Stetson) singled twice and has still reached base in every game he has played in this summer. Landon Cray (Seattle) continued producing runs with his bat and legs, going 1-for-3 and crossing the plate three times.
It was the kind of win, and the fourth straight win, that allowed Schiffner to smile as he walked out of the postgame huddle. But there isn’t time to celebrate in mid July. Only for the now 21-year-old Dant, who gave himself a present before calling it a day.
Said Dant: “Pitching well today was all I needed for my birthday.”