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Chatham, Mass. — Four Harwich Mariners pitchers combined to turn in the second Cape Cod Baseball League no-hitter since 2013, blanking the Chatham Anglers on Wednesday night, 10-0.
The last no-hitter to occur in the CCBL came on June 20, 2015 when Devin Smetzler of Hyannis kept Harwich out of the hit column. Before that you have to go all the way back to 2013 when three pitchers for the Bourne Braves combined to no-hit Cotuit.
Peter Solomon (1-0) started the game off for the Mariners (23-13-2) by tossing five scoreless innings, striking out three while issuing five walks.
“In the fourth inning, I looked up at the board, saw we were winning and then I saw the hit total,” said Solomon. “It was pretty hush-hush in the dugout. I talked to the hitters, but nothing about me and then after I was done they all made comments about it, so not your traditional ‘don’t talk about the no-hitter,’” laughed the tall Notre Dame right-hander.
A highlight-reel catch in the fourth inning preserved the no-hit outing for Solomon as Antoine Duplantis robbed Donovan Casey of extra bases by making a full-extension, diving catch in deep center. Had the ball fallen in, it most likely would have scored a run as Chatham (14-23-1) had two base runners take off with the pitch.
“It was just an amazing play,” said Solomon. “I threw the pitch, saw the hit, and thought for sure a double. Then I saw Antoine out there running, tracking it down as hard as he could. . . .He made an incredible catch.”
Usually a struggle to take a pitcher out in the midst of a no-hitter, manager Steve Englert had little difficulty persuading Solomon to let the Harwich bullpen get the job done.
“When I came out he said ‘you’re at 86 pitches after the fifth.’ He just kind of gave me that look,” said Solomon. “He said ‘hey good job you started it off for us well,’ and our guys were able to finish it."
Three relievers came on in the last four frames to close out the job for their All-Star starting pitcher.
Zach Schellenger appeared in two innings of relief, sitting down five Anglers on strikes while walking one. Tommy DeJuneas pitched the eighth inning and struck out one, before turning things over to Nick Brown to finish things out in the ninth.
“I wasn’t so nervous as I was more amped up,” said Brown. “I just went in there and tried to throw strikes like always, but trying to throw strikes more to the edges, not so much to get it over [the plate].”
The Mariners’ stellar pitching staff has been dominant all summer, allowing a league-low 76 earned runs and crafting a team ERA of 1.97. In the 2016 Friendly’s All-Star Game, six Harwich hurlers were named to the East’s squad, including Solomon and Schellenger.
“I think all the guys just have the same mindset of attacking the zone,” said Brown. “That’s just the mindset and everybody’s up here for a reason so their stuff keeps us in the game.”
Though the Anglers failed to record a hit on the evening, Chatham did stretch across base runners on eight walks by Harwich pitching. When Brown came on to try and put the finishing touches on the no-hitter, he promptly struck out two batters before plunking Kyle Adams with a breaking ball, putting yet another Angler on base.
“I tried to throw that curveball as hard as I possibly could and I thought it was going to be good but it caught his knee,” said Brown. “The walks didn’t trouble me our guys have been around this all year.”
With the shutout victory, Harwich also tied the CCBL record for most shutout wins in a season by one pitching staff with nine. If the Mariners blank another team in their six remaining games, they will move past the 2001 Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox and become the outright owners of the record.
The breadth of the Mariners damage offensively came in two three-run innings, the fourth and the ninth. After opening up the game with a run off of Andrew Karp (1-3), who took the loss, Harwich widened its lead to 4-0 three innings later. A quick snag by Karp on a Pavin Smith comebacker started the fourth, however three straight singles plated a run before Nick Dalesandro’s two-run double made it a four-run game.
Chatham’s own All-Star pitcher Isaac Mattson kept the deficit at four by allowing two hits over two innings of work. After the University of Pittsburgh southpaw departed for the start of the seventh, Harwich rediscovered its offense.
Two straight singles began the frame before an error by Jake Palomaki resulted in two more runs for the Mariners. A groundball slapped by Pavin Smith skipped off the right knee of the Boston College product before ricocheting into right field to make it 6-0 Harwich.
Austin Filiere ripped a solo homerun to right in the eighth before a three-run ninth, which featured a two-run homerun by Pavin Smith, finished the offensive onslaught for Harwich.
With the loss the Anglers now find themselves three points out of a playoff spot with six games remaining in the season. After an off-day on Thursday, Chatham will look to regroup and exact vengeance on Friday at Whitehouse Field as they battle Harwich for the final time this season.