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CHATHAM, Mass. – The home run is perhaps the most iconic play in baseball. A pure display of power and awe—it captivates the imagination of those in the stands young and old alike.
The long ball comes at a premium in the Cape Cod Baseball League. The best pitching in the country combined with young players who are generally far more used to aluminum rather than wooden bats yields few bombs.
But on Sunday night, 2,200 in attendance were treated to four towering blasts at Veterans Field.
Unfortunately for the Anglers, Harwich outpaced Chatham 3-1 in the home run department and 8-3 on the scoreboard. The Anglers’ (21-17) magic number to clinch a playoff spot remains at three.
“We were just a little flat tonight,” said Manager John Schiffner. “It’s the end of the season, and every team is tired. We just have to battle through it.”
The Angler who was responsible for the team’s lone blast was Jake Fraley (Louisiana State). Fraley’s opposite field rocket went halfway up the hill on right-center and was his first of the summer.
“I’ve just been trying to say middle-away like I have my whole life,” said Fraley. “I’ve just been trying to put the barrel on the ball like I was able to do tonight.”
The Fraley home run complimented Chatham’s only other major breakthrough in the bottom of the second inning. Will Craig (Wake Forest), fresh off a Cape League Home Run Hitting Contest appearance just a day before, led the inning off with a double ringing off the left field fence. His collegiate teammate, Nate Mondou (Wake Forest), followed by banging a single to put runners on the corners with nobody out. Jake Fraley then proceeded to record a one-out RBI single to bring Mondou home, and Garrett Hampson (Long Beach State) added an RBI single of his own in the next at-bat.
“We're just trying to stay relaxed and take it one game at a time," said Fraley. "That's all you can do."
After a pair of home runs from Harwich’s Matt Gonzalez (Georgia Tech) and one from fellow Yellow Jacket Connor Justus (Georgia Tech), a couple of Angler relievers combined for two of the innings as dominant as the Chatham pen has become accustomed delivering. Those two relievers—Cameron Stone (Stony Brook) and C.J. Burdick (San Diego) each struck out two batters in their respective scoreless frames.
Burdick has now not allowed a run in his last 10 innings, and Stone has still yet to allow a run in eight and a third innings on the summer.
“They both came in and did a great job for us tonight,” said Schiffner. “C.J. has really worked hard with [Pitching Coach] Rob [Bono] in the bullpen, and Cam has worked hard as well. Cam was a little dinged up, but now we got him back, and he’s throwing well.”
The Anglers next take an off-day Monday before they host the Hyannis Harbor Hawks (19-17-1) 7 p.m. Tuesday. Blake Quinn (Fullerton) is expected to go for Hyannis. Quinn is 1-1 with a 2.92 ERA through 6 starts this summer. Chatham has yet to announce a probable starter on Pointstreak.