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CHATHAM — The Chatham Anglers and Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox played seven official innings Sunday before a thick layer of fog — which hovered well above the field for the majority of the game — engulfed the vision of the subjects on the field.
Tuesday, the fog was a factor from the first pitch. It wasn’t thick like it was Sunday, but it certainly affected the judgment of the outfielders on fly balls and line drives.
Spencer Torkelson (Arizona State) — who was activated Tuesday morning after returning from Team USA on Monday — misjudged a routine fly ball in the first that would have been the third out. The ball nicked off Torkelson’s glove as Jesse Franklin (Michigan) strolled into second.
“He hasn't been in the fog in a while. I don't think we even had fog before he left,” A’s manager Tom Holliday said about Torkelson. “It's a different element. You can't say, ‘let's practice playing in the fog’.”
Four pitches later, Chatham starter Jack Conlon (San Jacinto) surrendered a two-run homer to Brandon Martorano (North Carolina). Torkelson took one glance at the ball over his shoulder before turning his back to the fence.
The long ball jump-started a scoring spree by the visitors, as the Whitecaps (8-21-3) defeated the Anglers (15-14-2), 8-6, on a chilly night at Veterans Field. The post-off day loss marks the third such defeat Chatham has suffered this summer, while Brewster achieved its fourth win in its last seven games. The A’s pitchers combined for 10 walks on the night, a factor Holliday said directly led to the loss.
“The one way to turn this game ugly is with walks, and we walked the world early,” Holliday said. “We were in trouble with every pitch. It makes for a very uncomfortable baseball game.”
The Whitecaps — who ranked second-to-last in the league with 11 homers coming into Tuesday — continued their power-hitting surge in the second inning, and again, it was a two-out home run.
Conlon walked Brewster leadoff hitter Justin Ammons (Tennessee) before Ray Alejo (Central Florida) blasted the Whitecaps’ second opposite-field homer of the game. Within an out of escaping the first and second frames, the A’s conceded four runs with two outs on the board.
“We turned this game ugly early,” Holliday said. “Our pitching, for a change, was not good from the get-go.”
Zack Noll (Point Loma Nazarene) — who arrived on the Cape on July 14 and was activated that same day — saw his first action as a Chatham player in relief of Conlon. The former Oregon pitcher started the third inning and instantly worked himself into a jam. Noll allowed a double and two walks to load the bases with one out, but retired consecutive batters to get out unscathed.
The 6-foot-6 left-hander tossed 2.1 innings and allowed three runs on three hits and was relieved by Nick Scheidler (UCLA) with one out in the fifth. Ike Freeman (North Carolina) and Christian Molfetta (Stanford) both reached base against Noll and scored against Scheidler, who conceded another run as the Whitecaps extended their lead to seven runs.
As Noll and Scheidler slogged through Chatham’s defensive innings, the Anglers’ bats slowly chipped away at Brewster’s lead.
Blake Sabol (Southern California) drew a two-out walk in the fourth, stole two bases and came home on a Jorge Arenas (Stetson) double down the right-field line that landed fair by a few inches. An inning later, Ashton McGee (North Carolina) was plunked to start the frame before John Rave (Illinois State) smoked his third round-tripper of the season, reducing the deficit to five.
In the bottom of the eighth, the A’s inched closer. Michael Busch (North Carolina) walked and Colin Simpson (Oklahoma State) doubled before Sabol drove in Busch with a groundout. Then, Arenas blasted a near-identical double to his fourth-inning two-bagger, scoring Simpson. Two batters later, Arenas dashed home on a Ryan Thompson (Illinois) wild pitch to make the score 8-6.
"We know that if we're going to be a championship team, we're going to have to compete in ball games like this," Arenas said about the A’s comeback effort.
Noll wasn’t the only Anglers pitcher to make their debut Tuesday, as Brock Riley (Salem State) took the bump for the first time.
Riley, who uses a submarine style of pitching, was the subject of hollers from the Anglers dugout during his outing. The right-hander threw two innings of one-hit ball, walking three and striking out two.
“This league is top-notch but I'm confident in my stuff,” Riley said. “I knew if I threw my pitches the way I know how to I'd be OK.”