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Chatham ties Brewster, 5-5, after rain wipes out the final 2 innings

by Anthony Dabbundo
Thursday, June 20, 2019

 Chatham ties Brewster, 5-5, after rain wipes out the final 2 innings

Kaden Polcovich (Northwest Florida State) stepped into the batter’s box for the first time on Thursday night with the bases loaded in the top of the eighth. Chatham and Brewster were tied at five.

Then, the rain came.

Polcovich didn’t have to swing his bat.Two pitches slid under the glove of Brewster catcher Brett Auerbach, giving Chatham a 7-5 lead in the top of the eighth on runs by pinch runners Drenis Ozuna (Oklahoma Wesleyan) and Tyler Doanes (West Virginia).

But the rain got harder. It flooded the infield almost instantly, a downpour that by its conclusion, ended any chance for Chatham and Brewster to complete the inning. It also washed away those two runs the A’s had scored.

What started as concerns that darkness would end Thursday’s game early, ended up with the A’s (4-3-1) team plundering back to their bus with a 5-5 tie against the Whitecaps (6-3-1) after seven innings. After the A’s led 5-0, a win would have vaulted them to a first-place tie in the East Division. Instead, each team will take one point.

“It’s super frustrating,” right fielder Cade Cabbiness (Oklahoma State) said. “At the end we get the lead there, and it ends up being a tie because we didn’t finish the last inning. That’s disappointing, you just want to get out there and play.”

The Anglers entered Thursday’s game with the lowest slugging percentage in the Cape League. They hadn’t played an official game since Sunday’s doubleheader, but manager Tom Holliday wasn’t concerned about his team’s power numbers. The arrivals of Spencer Torkelson (Arizona State), Alex Toral (Miami) and Cabbiness bolstered the depth and power. And combined with the players increased familiarity with swinging wooden bats daily, it resulted in Chatham teeing off on Brewster’s starter Jimmy Ramsey.

The A’s roped their opening three at-bats with swings that sent outfielders backtracking, but all three were outs. Eventually, their hard-hit balls would find gaps. Cabbiness had a better solution, though. In his first at-bat with Chatham — his first swing as an Angler — Cabbiness crushed a fastball for the A’s third home run of the season over the center field wall to give Chatham a 1-0 lead.

During batting practice, hitting coach Mickey Tettleton suggested that Cabbiness wasn’t standing upright enough through his swing. Once he tried it in batting practice, he hammered two balls over the right field fence. Once he tried it in game, Cabbiness had his first-ever Cape League home run.

“How about that,” Cabbiness said of the home run. “I saw a ball hang up for me, and got a good swing on it.”

The A’s don’t do much scouting of opposing pitching, but they squared up Ramsey easily. Once Cabbiness hit his first homer, Hall singled up the middle, and Torkelson smashed a double that one-hopped the fence to drive him in. Jamal O’Guinn (USC) continued his torrid start to the season with an RBI single that gave the A’s a three-run lead.

Three became five the next inning, after Jorge Arenas (Stetson) singled in Welch and Torkelson walked with the bases loaded. But from that point forward, leading 5-0, the A’s offense was quiet against the Whitecaps’ bullpen

“They all have big bats. They can do some real damage,” Cabbiness said. “All that matters is we get the right pitch and get our swings off.

.Dane Acker (San Jacinto) continued his dominant start to the 2019 season with three shutout innings. He allowed just two baserunners, and fanned four. Acker controlled his fastball to get ahead of hitters and on three separate occasions, struck out hitters looking.

The Whitecaps battled back with two runs in the fourth inning off of Jeremy Wu-Yelland (Hawaii), who was supposed to pitch Wednesday before the second half of the game was fogged out. After a walk, single and throwing error, Brewster scored its first run. And with a runner already in scoring position, a double down the right field line brought in the second run.

The Anglers’ fielding cost them another run in the seventh inning, but the stakes were higher this time. Leading by just one run , with RJ Dabovich (Arizona State) on the mound and runners on first second, Arenas misplayed a high pop-up that swirled in the wind and mist into shallow left. After the dropped ball loaded the bases, a wild pitch enabled the run to score and tie the game.

Unbeknownst at the time, Dabovich’s back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning and keep the game tied actually saved the Anglers from what would have been a loss.

As Holliday walked into the dugout, he had a simple message: “4 p.m., tomorrow at home.”

Tomorrow, Chatham will try, again, for the fourth time this week, to play a full game of baseball.