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COTUIT — Beau Brundage (Portland) was 0-for-4 heading into his at-bat against Nick Scheidler (UCLA) in the bottom of the eleventh.
But on the third pitch he saw, Brundage hit a home run over the fence in right to give the Cotuit Kettleers (9-8) the 4-3 victory over the Chatham Anglers (8-7-2).
“I would rather lose like that than I would a walk, a passed ball, a hit batsmans, a bloop single,” Anglers manager Tom Holliday said. “A guy hit it out of the ballpark, he earned it. Not a sympathetic loss.”
Alek Manoah (West Virginia) — who was consistently in the mid-90s with his fastball and topping out at 97 mph — was efficient and deadly as the Anglers’ starter. In four innings of work, Manoah threw just 42 pitches, locating 30 of those pitches for strikes. Only one runner reached base over the first four innings, as Manoah struck out six Cotuit hitters.
The rising junior also flashed the leather during his outing. In the third Eric Jones (Davidson), ripped one of Manoah’s heaters right back at him. The 6’7” righty stuck out his gold mitt and snagged the ball to easily get the out.
“I was getting ahead in counts with the fastball and the off speed,” Manoah said. “Everything was commanded well. I was just trying to attack every pitch. I felt like I had basically everything working for me.”
Through the first five innings, only one player — Chatham’s Drew Mendoza (Florida State) — managed to get on base for the Anglers. Mendoza had an infield single in the second inning, and then three frames later, he drew a two-out walk.
Spencer Van Scoyoc (Arizona State) replaced Manoah in the bottom of the fifth. After Greg Jones (UNC-Wilmington) made a diving catch in center for the first out of the inning, Longhorn teammates Ryan Reynolds (Texas) and Duke Ellis (Texas) hit back-to-back singles for the home team.
Cotuit’s Jones then walked to load the bases. Jonathan Robertson (Creighton) and Zachary Biermann (Coastal Carolina) then hit back-to-back singles of their own, scoring Reynolds, Ellis and Jones and giving the Kettleers a 3-0 lead.
Chatham answered in the sixth and cut the lead to one. Branden Fryman (Samford) and Jorge Arenas (Stetson) started the inning with consecutive singles. After Jones hit into a fielder’s choice and stole second, the Anglers had runners on second and third for Colin Simpson (Oklahoma State). Simpson hit a shallow fly to right field, and Fryman tagged up and scored from third.
The throw from right field got past Jones at the plate and ended up in the glove of pitcher Deacon Medders (Alabama), who was backing up his catcher. Instead of holding onto the ball, Medders tried to nail Jones — who was tagging from second on the play — at third, but his throw sailed into left field, allowing Jones to score.
The Anglers got runners on in the seventh and the eighth innings, but failed to capitalized on the opportunities.
Tristin English (Georgia Tech) roped a one-out double. His college teammate — Austin Wilhite (Georgia Tech) — pinch ran for English and advanced to third on a ground ball. The first pitch to Blake Sabol (Southern California) bounced away from Jones and Wilhite pounced on the opportunity. He dashed for home and got in to tie the game.
“I had my momentum going that way,” Wilhite said. “As soon as I saw it hit the dirt, I took one step in and then once I saw kick off and it was far enough away I knew I could get in there.”
The loss marks Chatham’s fourth in its last six games. It is also the second time the team has lost in extra-innings on a walk-off home run, with the previous loss being against Falmouth on June 26.
The Anglers managed six hits during the eleven innings. Only three of those hits came off of lefties. Holliday has said throughout the year the team has problems against left-handed pitching.
“We really struggle to hit left-handed pitching,” Holliday said. “We just don’t hit left-handed pitching very well.”