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CHATHAM — For seven innings on Friday, the Chatham Anglers held the Brewster Whitecaps hitters in check, giving up only one hit — a solo home run to Conor Grammes (Xavier) in the seventh inning.
But during the second and the ninth innings, Brewster’s bats came alive. With the help of some defensive miscues from Chatham, the visitors scored nine runs, more than enough to separate them from the Anglers in an eventual 10-1 victory.
The second-inning scoring spree started when Jared Melone (West Chester) struck out on a pitch in the dirt but reached first as the ball passed catcher Jake Taylor (Oklahoma State). The next batter, Hunter Bishop (Arizona State), hit a single to right field but Spencer Torkelson’s (Arizona State) throw to the infield was wide of the cut-off man, allowing Melone to score as the ball trickled down the third-base line.
Brewster added a second run when Jackson Wark (St. Louis) threw another wild pitch that allowed Bishop to score from third. The Whitecaps added three more runs on a Jeremy Houston (Indiana) sacrifice fly, a Gage Workman (Arizona State) double and a Jesse Franklin (Michigan) single.
“Quite frankly, down five it's hard to come back with a wooden bat,” Anglers manager Tom Holliday said.
In the ninth inning, Benny Wanger (Yale) walked the first three batters to start the inning. Franklin then doubled to score two runs and Brett Centracchio (Davidson) singled home two more runners to put the final nails in the Anglers coffin.
Aside from the second and ninth innings, the Anglers pitchers threw very well. Colin Peluse (Wake Forest) — making his Cape League debut — struck out six batters in four innings and Cam Jabara (Orange Coast) bounced back from a shaky first appearance with a 1-2-3 fourth inning.
“I was trying to work on my slider more,” Peluse said. “I know during the year I struggled with that. Coach Cook helped me learn a new grip and learn a new way to throw it so I was trying to throw that in fastball counts or early in the count.”
The Anglers had a chance to cut into the five-run deficit in their half of the second inning as they loaded the bases with no outs. But Zach Linginfelter (Tennessee) tossed three consecutive strikeouts to strand all three runners. In total, Chatham left 12 runners on base.
For the second time this season, the only run of the contest for Chatham came off the bat of shortstop Greg Jones (UNC-Wilmington). In the third inning, Jones powered one over the left field wall for a solo homer.
In six of the their nine times at the plate, the Anglers had the leadoff batter reach base, but Jones’s third-inning home run was the only time one of those runners scored. In addition to his round-tripper, the rising sophomore walked twice.
“Im just seeing a lot more velocity here,” Jones said. “Just getting good swings on good pitches they just keep going.”
Every single batter in the Chatham starting lineup stuck out. As a team, the Anglers struck out 17 times with Kyle McCann (Georgia Tech), Ben Ramirez (Southern California), Blake Sabol (Southern California), Jake Snider (Louisville), Taylor and Austin Wilhite (Georgia Tech) all being punched out multiple times on the evening.
Holliday said the team is going to have to make adjustments going forward in order to cut down on the swings-and-misses and have better contact
“I think they are seeing now how good the pitching is here,” Holliday said. “We got to shorten the swings down. We got to go to more contact and quit hitting it and looking for it to go in the trees when it’s in the catcher’s mitt.”
Chatham will play again at Veterans Field on Saturday against the Hyannis Harbor Hawks with the game expected to start at 7 p.m.
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