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Chatham completes season sweep over Harwich with 4-1 win

by Peter Warren
Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Chatham completes season sweep over Harwich with 4-1 win

HARWICH — At Whitehouse Field on July 3, the Harwich Mariners held a 5-4 lead over the Chatham Anglers heading into the sixth inning. That lead would not hold as the Anglers turned the deficit into a four-run advantage with home runs from Michael Busch (North Carolina) and Tristin English (Georgia Tech).

While neither Busch nor English blasted homers Tuesday, the two players again were the keys to a Chatham win over Harwich at Whitehouse Field.

Busch tallied two hits, scored the game’s first run and knocked in two insurance runs while English pitched six scoreless innings as the Anglers (21-18-3) defeated the Mariners (17-23-1), 4-1. The A’s win was their sixth over Harwich on the season, marking the first time Chatham has completed a season sweep of a divisional opponent in over 15 years.

“I thought that might have been as good a pitched ballgame as we had in a long time,” Anglers manager Tom Holliday said. “Tristin was killing the strike zone and absolutely pitching to contact with no fear.”

In the third inning, Busch walked to the plate with two outs and roped a base hit to the right-center field gap. Running hard out of the box, Busch slide into second base with a double, providing an opportunity for Spencer Torkelson (Arizona State).

Torkelson delivered. The right-handed slugger turned on a 2-2 pitch from Jon Clines (Virginia Military) and sent the ball down the left-field line, allowing Busch to come home with ease.

Two innings later, Chatham tacked on insurance runs. College teammates Ben Ramirez (Southern California) and Blake Sabol (Southern California) started the inning with walks. Greg Jones (UNC Wilmington) laid down a successful sacrifice bunt and then reached when Clines’ throw to first was off target, loading the bases and setting the stage for Busch.

In a 2-1 hitter’s count, Busch slapped a hard-hit single up the middle that just evaded a diving Brian Dempsey (Boston College). The single scored Ramirez and Sabol and turned the A’s one-run lead into a three-run lead.

“[I was] Just trying to stay up the middle, try to hit the ball hard in the air,” Busch said. “Hit it on the the ground but it got through.”

Torkelson then hit a sacrifice fly to score Jones and provided an extra run of insurance.

English — making his first start of the summer — came into the game with only 5.2 innings pitched on the season. The two-way star lasted six innings in his best appearance of the summer.

The CCBL All-Star struck out five batters while allowing only one Harwich baserunner to get as far as second base. In four of his six innings, English threw 10 pitches or less and ended his outing with two straight one-two-three frames.

“It was mostly fastball-slider and then third time through the lineup I started mixing in the curveball as well, just give them something else to look at,” English said. “But mainly just attacking with the fastball. Try to locate away, in, up, down, just give them a couple of different looks at it.”

Jeff Belge (St. John’s) relieved English in the seventh inning. He threw two innings and allowed only one run — a home run to Danny Casals (Maine).

Kyle Hurt (Southern California) closed out the game for the Anglers, picking up his first save of the summer. The right-hander allowed a leadoff single but got three consecutive outs to end the game.

Since that first matchup at Whitehouse Field, a lot has changed for Chatham. The team has seen 23 transactional moves in total — including watching its three All-Star pitchers depart and Torkelson return — while going 12-11-1 during the span.

One thing that has been consistent through the time has been the steady play of Busch, who said his comfort level is the biggest difference between his visit Tuesday and his visit four weeks ago.

“I think I am getting more relaxed in the box and just with everything  — the guys, the coaches, the fields that we play on,” Busch said. “But it’s just another game of baseball and I have been doing that for the last two years every single day.”