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2018 EDS Playoff Primer: Chatham vs. Harwich

by David Schneidman and Peter Warren
Friday, August 03, 2018

2018 EDS Playoff Primer: Chatham vs. Harwich

UPDATED: Dates and times of the games have been edited from the original post after Saturday's postponement due to rain.

The 44-game Cape League regular season has concluded and the postseason has arrived. The Chatham Anglers (22-19-3) will battle the Harwich Mariners (18-24-2) in the first round for a spot in the East Division finals, where they will meet either the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox or the Brewster Whitecaps. 

Below are all the dates, names, stats and records pertinent to the upcoming series between Chatham and Harwich.



Game 1 – August 5 – 7:00 p.m. – Harwich @ Chatham – Veterans Field

Game 2 – August 6 – 6:30 p.m. – Chatham @ Harwich – Whitehouse Field

Game 3 (if necessary) – August 7 – TBA – Harwich @ Chatham – Veterans Field

Veterans Field will host game one of the EDS. (Julia Hopkins/Chatham Anglers)



Projected Pitchers

Game 1 – CHA | Austin Bergner (North Carolina) vs. HAR | Ricky DeVito (Seton Hall)

Game 2 – CHA | Alek Manoah (West Virginia) vs. HAR | Caleb Freeman (Texas Tech)

Game 3 (if necessary) – TBD vs. TBD


Regular Season Results

June 30 – Chatham 5, Mariners 1 – Veterans Field

 July 3 – Chatham 13, Mariners 6 – Whitehouse Field

 July 7 – Chatham 9, Mariners 6 – Veterans Field

July 14 – Chatham 8, Mariners 3 – Whitehouse Field

July 25 – Chatham 6, Mariners 3 – Veterans Field

July 31 – Chatham 4, Mariners 1 – Whitehouse Field


Chatham Playoff Experience

Last Playoff Win: August 6, 2017 over Orleans

Last Playoff Series Win: 2016 East Division Semifinals over Harwich

Last East Division Championship: 1999

Last CCBL Championship: 1998 over Wareham

Cape League Championships: 1967, 1982, 1992, 1996, 1998


Harwich Playoff Experience

Last Playoff Win: August 6, 2016 over Chatham

Last Playoff Series Win: 2014 East Division Semifinals over Brewster

Last East Division Championship: 2011

Last CCBL Championship: 2011 over Falmouth

Cape League Championships: 1983, 1987, 2008, 2011


Chatham Names to Know

1B/2B Michael Busch (North Carolina) — The hottest hitter in the A’s lineup, Busch has been one of the best players in the league since arriving on July 3. The infielder is hitting .322 on the season with six home runs. At school, Busch was predominantly a first baseman, but Holliday has played Busch at second base as much as he has at first.

Michael Busch has six home runs in 27 games. (Julia Hopkins/Chatham Anglers)


CF John Rave (Illinois State) — Rave was arguably Chatham’s most consistent player throughout the regular season. Appearing in 41 games, the second-most of any Anglers player (Colin Simpson, 42), Rave has been a menace at the top of the A’s lineup, smacking a team-leading 38 hits and stealing five bags. The Illinois native can provide a dose of power, too, as he cranked four homers in the regular season.

C/IF/OF/DH Blake Sabol (Southern California) — After a slow first two weeks of the season, Sabol quickly became one of the hottest hitters in the Cape League. From July 10 to 20 (10 games), Sabol tallied 13 hits, 12 RBIs and 15 runs scored. At one point, he blasted a second-inning home run in three consecutive games. Fitting Sabol into the lineup has been easy for Holliday, as the utility man has played six different positions this summer.

RF Spencer Torkelson (Arizona State) — After leading Division I with 25 long balls in the spring season, Torkelson brought the same hitting prowess to the Cape League. The right-handed slugger smoked five homers and 10 RBIs before departing for Team USA on June 25. Since his return on July 17, Torkelson has recorded a hit in nine of 13 games. The California native has slumped slightly as of late, striking out eight times and seeing his batting average plummet 45 points in his last five games.

LHP Jeff Belge (St. John’s) — Belge, a second-year Chatham player, led the team in innings (35.2) during the regular season. The left-hander has struck out 46 batters, the second-highest mark in the league, in four starts and five relief appearances. Belge will inevitably take the mound in the playoffs, whether it be as a starter or reliever is unclear.

Jeff Belge is tied-for-second in the league in strikeouts. (Julia Hopkins/Chatham Anglers)


RHP/DH/IF Tristin English (Georgia Tech) — English is expected to see time in the lineup and on the mound during the playoffs. The two-way star is hitting .300 with five home runs while having a 2.31 ERA on the mound. Whether English is in the starting lineup, on the pitcher’s mound or the first bat off the bench, the Georgia Tech product will be an important player for the team.

RHP Kyle Hurt (Southern California) — Hurt started the season in Chatham’s starting rotation, but after nearing his innings limit in mid-July, was reassigned to the bullpen. Now, he is the Anglers’ closer. The right-hander has pitched three scoreless innings in three appearances since starting his bullpen stint, allowing one hit and striking out two.


Harwich Names to Know

1B Andre Lipcius (Tennessee) — The biggest bat in the middle of the Mariners lineup, Lipcius leads the team in home runs (4), doubles (11) and RBIs (27). This follows a spring at Tennessee where he led the team in those three categories as well.

Andre Lipcius is one of Harwich’s three All-Star infielders. (Julia Hopkins/Chatham Anglers)


SS Tanner Morris (Virginia) — The starting shortstop for the East Division in the All-Star Game, Morris has been a constant threat in the Harwich lineup all season. The Virginia product leads the team in batting average at .331, including a .467 clip during the last week of the regular season.

3B Aaron Schunk (Georgia) — Schunk is a two-way player in Athens, but has not pitched at all this summer. As the everyday third baseman for Harwich, Shunk is hitting .287 after hitting .299 with Georgia.

RHP Ricky DeVito (Seton Hall) — DeVito had a stellar season in West Orange, New Jersey this spring. In 12 starts, the New York native was named Big East Pitcher of the Year with a 1.88 ERA. DeVito has continued this strong pitching this summer. In eight appearances (five starts), DeVito has a 2.45 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 29 innings.

RHP/DH Will Matthiessen (Stanford) — Matthiessen has made six starts for the Mariners, including two starts against Chatham. In six combined innings against the A’s, he had given up five hits and walked four batters. While a two-way player at Stanford, Matthiessen has done more pitching than hitting, but he has accumulated 17 at-bats. For the Cardinal, Matthiessen hit .293 with seven home runs and 13 walks.

RHP Austin Wood (Stetson) — Wood has not had the best season for the Mariners — he has a 12.17 ERA and 2.47 WHIP  in 11 games. In his last appearance against Brewster on August 1, he gave up eight earned runs in less than an inning of work. However, Wood has thrown decently well against Chatham. In six innings, he has given up only one run on eight walks and no hits.


Season Sweep

The Anglers won all six games against the Mariners this season, marking the first time Chatham has swept a six-game season series in institutional memory. All six of the A’s victories came by three runs or more.

Despite Chatham’s success against its first-round foe, Holliday wants to erase the past from the minds of his players.

“I'm going to do all I can to wipe it out of their mind [the fact that we swept the season series],” Holliday said. “That will never enter because you have to have respect for whoever is on the other side of the field. We have to beat them to win the championship.”

The A’s have handled Harwich especially well on the road, outscoring the Mariners 25-10 at Whitehouse Field this season. Chatham’s 13 runs at Harwich on July 3 is the second-most runs it scored in a game all year.

“They like playing on this yard,” Holliday said about Whitehouse Field.


Hitting prowess

Colin Simpson is hitting .429 against the Mariners this season. (Julia Hopkins/Chatham Anglers)


Many of Chatham’s players have had plenty of success at the dish against the Mariners. Sabol, Greg Jones (UNC Wilmington) and Colin Simpson (Oklahoma State) are all hitting over .400 against Harwich while four other players — Jorge Arenas (Stetson), Busch, Drew Mendoza (Florida State) and Torkelson — are hitting over .300. As a team, Chatham is hitting .290 with a .392 on-base percentage and 19 extra-base hits when facing their neighboring foes.


Shutdown pitching

The Anglers’ staff has allowed just 34 hits and 17 earned runs in six games against the Mariners this season. Of the 13 A’s hurlers to appear against Harwich, 11 have tallied more strikeouts than hits allowed. Belge and Manoah — who are both anticipated to pitch in the series — have struck out 28 batters and allowed 10 hits in 17.2 frames of work versus the Mariners this summer. Bergner, the game one starter, has not pitched against the East Division three-seed in 2018.