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CHATHAM — The CCBL Home Run Hitting Contest is scheduled for next Sunday, but no one told the Chatham Anglers and the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox.
With the Chatham fog rolling in throughout the game, the two Eastern Division foes put on a derby of their own Sunday at Veterans Field, combining for five round-trippers and one home run robbery.
By the eighth inning, the fog had settled and a fog delay was called. Thirty minutes after the delay, the umpires called the game with Y-D (18-8-4) pulling off a 5-3 victory over Chatham (15-13-2).
“I saw a little bit early and I said ‘oh no’ because I had forgotten about it” Anglers manager Tom Holliday said. “As soon as it started coming, I was like ‘oh boy, here we go again.’”
Baseballs started leaving the confines of Veterans Field in the first inning. After Christian Koss (UC Irvine) drew a one-out walk, Andrew Daschbach (Stanford) crushed a Jeff Belge (St. John’s) pitch over the left-field wall. Nick Quintana (Arizona) then added a homer of his own an inning later to make the score 3-0.
Chatham knocked its first home run in the bottom of the second. Coming into Sunday’s matchup, Blake Sabol (Southern California) had hit a solo homer in the second inning in the A’s past two games. The recently-nominated All-Star continued the streak against Y-D, thundering a solo-shot — his league-leading seventh — over the wall in right.
The Red Sox manufactured a run in the fourth. Quintana led off the inning with a single before stealing second base. After Belge got consecutive outs, Adam Kerner (San Diego) singled to center and Quintana just beat the throw home from John Rave (Illinois State).
“I felt good but just didn't have my best stuff today,” Belge said. “They were hitting the ball pretty hard of me.”
In the bottom of the fourth, Jonny Deluca (Oregon) made one of the defensive plays of the season.
With Sabol on first base, Tristin English (Georgia Tech) blasted a ball to the deepest part of the ballpark — straightaway center. Deluca ran to the wall, leaped up in the air and caught English’s missile that looked destined to land over the fence. English tipped his helmet in appreciation.
Even though English was denied his fifth homer of the season, the Anglers would get their home run.
Following a Drew Mendoza (Florida State) fly out, Colin Simpson (Oklahoma State) continued his hot hitting with a two-run bomb that landed just to the right of the light post in right-center, cutting the Y-D lead to 4-3.
“First pitch he threw me was a changeup,” Simpson said. “I felt like I was on it timing wise. It may not have been a great pitch to swing at but my swing felt good and timing felt right on that pitch. Next pitch, he threw me another changeup and I saw this one start up a little more and it started in the middle of the plate, which makes it a hittable pitch so I reacted to it.”
The Red Sox added another home run in the fifth. Koss stroked a solo-shot of his own with one out in the frame.
Chatham had a chance to equalize in the seventh inning. Mendoza and Simpson slapped back-to-back singles to start the frame. Trenton Denholm (UC Irvine) got the next two batters out but walked Rave to load the bases for Greg Jones (UNC Wilmington). Denholm got the best of the Chatham shortstop, striking him out with a pitch in the dirt.
Belge gave up six hits, two walks and four runs in four innings of action. The southpaw did pickoff two base runners at first base. CCBL All-Star Troy Miller (Michigan) relieved Belge and gave up two hits and one run in three innings of work.
The fog delay started during the middle of Sabol’s at-bat with one out in the bottom of the inning. Because the delay started in the middle of an inning, the game reverted back to the last completed inning, so Greg Veliz’s (Miami) inning of work in the eighth was lost to history.
This is the third game to be called due to fog this summer. On June 21, the Anglers tied the Hyannis Harbor Hawks at three as the game was called after five innings. Three days later, the second leg of a doubleheader between Chatham and Cotuit was abandoned in the third inning because of the fog.
Simpson said he saw the fog early on and knew it would factor into Sunday’s contest.
“I didn't really think much of it,” Simpson said. “I saw it actually start rolling in the first inning and I figured once it got darker it would only get worse. I expected it throughout that whole game.”