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BOURNE — It looked over — the Anglers close to limiting their sixth inning damage to just one. A strikeout from Dane Acker (San Jacinto) made it seem that way, at least. But a single extended the inning. A hit-by-pitch put a runner in scoring position. Soon, the bases were loaded.
Jeremy Wu-Yelland (Hawaii) came in relief, looking to limit a one-run deficit to just one run. Manager Tom Holliday went to Wu-Yelland for a lefty-lefty matchup with Braves catcher Peter Burns. Seven pitches deep, his fastball missed the plate, and Bourne plated a run. Then, it happened again — this time on four pitches. Quickly, the A’s were down 4-1.
“I had to pick my guys up and give them a chance to win, keep things locked down,” Wu-Yelland said postgame. “I didn’t do that today. I let them down.”
After striking first, the Chatham Anglers (7-5-1) gave up four unanswered runs to the Bourne Braves (5-6) in a 4-1 loss at Doran Park. Both teams struggled out of the gates — the game’s first hit came in the bottom of the fourth — but a fifth and sixth inning rally gave the Braves a lead it would never lose. Trying to recover, the A’s mustered just three hits on the night, including none in the final two innings.
“The game got away from us,” Holliday said. “If you want to play tight baseball, you can't make mistakes. We made a lot of them.”
Before the A’s even had a lead, both Chatham and Bourne struggled to manufacture any offense. Zarion Shape (UNC Wilmington), Wednesday’s starter for the Anglers, allowed two walks to his first three batters, but a double play ended the first frame.
When Bourne’s lineup — one that’s last in the Cape League in batting average and runs per game — returned, Sharpe struck out the side in 15 pitches, and ended his three inning outing with five strikeouts and no runs.
On Monday against Cotuit, the A’s also struggled to get on base, but a combination of situational pitching and a pair of home runs propelled them to best record in the Cape League (15 points). Pregame, Holliday admitted that “we may not be the team that beats you with a home run,” especially with Spencer Torkelson (Arizona State) leaving Chatham for Team USA.
To start Wednesday’s matchup, the Anglers kept the Braves off base. But Chatham couldn’t find hits, either.
“It was just one of those days,” Paxton Wallace (Wichita State) said. “I don’t like it at all.”
A pair of fly balls from Charlie Welch (Pepperdine) and Alex Toral (Miami) were feet from flying over the “395 feet” sign in straight center at Doral Park, but both were caught. Jamal O’Guinn (USC) walked with one out in the fourth, but he was caught stealing second with two outs.
Chatham’s lone inning of offensive production, including two of its three hits on the day, came in the fifth. Wallace dumped a ball down near the right field foul pole and a Bourne outfielder missed the dropping ball. After moving to third, Jorge Arenas (Stetson) hit a dribbler down the third base line that took a high hop and gave the A’s the first run of the game.
“I thought that was going to jumpstart us,” Wallace said.
The Braves, though, had an answer in the bottom half. O’Guinn dived for a deep fly ball to start the frame, but it got under him. With a walk to put a runner in scoring position, Burns placed a bunt down the third base line that didn’t reach first in time.
With no outs and the bases loaded, Holliday motioned for Toral to step near the bag for a double play, and right-handed pitcher Dane Acker (San Jacinto) threw three pitches low in the zone for a ground ball. The third reached second baseman Tyler Doanes (West Virginia), who turned a 6-4-3 double play. But the Braves tied the game.
“You get beat with the bases loaded,” Holliday said. “The game got away from us.”
Chatham couldn’t muster a hit the inning after, and Bourne’s Jake Mackenzie started the bottom of the sixth with a bullet down the third base line that bounced through the outfield grass.
“Probably my fault we didn't have Arenas down the line,” Holliday said. “Triple down the line was a major mistake.”
After rounding the infield, Mackenzie gave the Braves their second straight inning with a leadoff extra base hit. Two pitches later, he slid home head first on a wild pitch to give Bourne its first lead. A strikeout nearly ended the sixth, but Acker loaded the bases after allowing three straight hitters on base.
When Wu-Yelland came into the game, he thought he was overthrowing his pitches, leading to the two walks.
“It was kind of a mental lapse,” Wu-Yelland said. “Didn’t come in focused enough, maybe I was a little too wound up.”
Any sign of offense for an A’s comeback was short-lived. A ground ball single from Anthony Villar (Miami) never moved him off first, and a 1-2-3 inning, including two strikeouts, ended the eighth. The same happened in the ninth, and the A’s offense — one which hoisted five home runs and 12 runs in its last three games prior to Wednesday — could never find a pulse.
“We didn't do anything with the bat,” Holliday said. “We didn't deserve to win it and we lost it.”