« Back to 2018 News Archives
BREWSTER — Ashton McGee (North Carolina) has not been an integral part to the Chatham Anglers’ success this season. The second-year A’s player has been in-and-out of the lineup since his late arrival and is often substituted into the game for defensive purposes for the final few innings. McGee — sporting a .095 batting average and two hits on the season heading into Thursday’s contest — saw his name penciled in the nine-hole on the lineup card Thursday.
After walking in his first at-bat and stealing two bases, McGee led off the fourth inning. As McGee stepped to the plate, Chatham manager Tom Holliday shouted his usual, simple instruction from the left-hand side of the first-base dugout.
“Come on Ashton, get on base!” Holliday said.
After working into a hitters count, McGee provided his response by lacing a seeing-eye single to right field, and Holliday applauded accordingly.
“I’ve been feeling pretty good with my swing over the past couple of games,” McGee said. “I got the start and translated it in today.”
McGee cracked a two-RBI single in the fifth inning to further propel the Anglers’ (16-15-2) eventual 17-3 onslaught over the Brewster Whitecaps (9-22-3) at Stony Brook Field. Chatham 17 runs ties the single-game record for the 2018 season.
Everything the A’s pitchers did wrong during the previous three-games, Austin Bergner did right Thursday.
Bergner used exceptional fastball command — throwing 58 strikes in 81 pitches — to fan seven Whitecaps batters while walking just one. He kept a low pitch count, allowing Anglers manager Tom Holliday to rest a thin bullpen. Most importantly, Bergner held the home team scoreless while the Anglers built a sizeable early lead.
“Baseball has a spirit to it,” Holliday said. “Whenever you come out and score first, you win the majority of the time. Whether you believe it or not, look it up. That’s a fact.”
When the Anglers score first, they are 13-2-1 on the summer.
Brewster’s James Acuna (Oregon), Bergner’s counterpart on the bump, struggled with command, making his life difficult from the get-go. Acuna allowed just two hits in his two frames of work, but four walks and five stolen bases by Chatham pushed five runs across the plate before Brewster collected its first hit.
The A’s plated three runs in the top of the first inning, marking the first time they have scored first in a game since their 8-3 win over the Harwich Mariners on July 14.
Greg Jones (UNC Wilmington) laid down a pretty bunt to become the first base runner of the game before stealing second and third. Both Spencer Torkelson (Arizona State) and Michael Busch (North Carolina) worked full counts before being walked, setting up Colin Simpson (Oklahoma State) with the bases loaded.
Simpson smacked a two-RBI single to right field to drive in Jones and Torkelson, boosting Chatham to an important 2-0 advantage. The utility man extended his hit streak to nine games, a span in which he’s improved his batting average from .135 to .240. Drew Mendoza (Florida State) put another run on the board in the opening frame when Busch came home on his groundout.
In the coming innings, the Anglers’ bats did not cause their flurry of runs. Rather, it was patient at-bats and aggressive,intelligent baserunning that put the nail in the coffin for Brewster.
Four different Brewster pitchers walked 15 batters, the most free passes any Cape League team has given up this decade — nine of which came after a full count. Three different A’s players stole two bases as the team tallied seven in total, which also set a new team single-game record for the 2018 season.
“We had a lot of really good at-bats,” Holliday said. "It’s so hard to score a lot of runs without walks. We milked a lot of walks, we had a lot of base hits.”
Chatham’s joint-biggest inning of the day was the fifth. The Whitecaps didn’t record an out until Jones, the seventh batter of the inning, hit a flyout to second base. That out came after two walks, three singles, a dropped third strike and two runs by the Anglers. The frame marked the first of two times the A’s batted around the order in a single inning.
Four different A’s batters tallied an extra-base hit while eight registered an RBI. Simpson filled the statsheet more than any other Anglers player, posting two hits, five RBI and two runs scored.
The onslaught means more than just an addition to the win column, Holliday said.
“It picks your spirit up,” Holliday said. “It makes coming to the yard tomorrow easier.”