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Chatham fails to bring offensive momentum into 1-1 tie against Hyannis

by Anish Vasudevan
Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Chatham fails to bring offensive momentum into 1-1 tie against Hyannis

Nate Nankil entered the batter's box for the fourth time Tuesday with two outs and the game tied 1-1 in the bottom of the ninth inning. Nankil maintained his usual routine, touching the middle of home plate then the right side with the tip of his bat, pointing it at the pitcher before setting up.

Nankil watched the first two pitches go high, the third hit the strike zone before he swung and missed on the fourth. Nankil finally made contact on Brandon Llewellyn's next pitch, sending a line drive single to center field.

Paul Winland Jr. came to the plate and quickly fell behind 0-2. Like Nankil, Winland Jr. cracked the ball, but it fell just foul down the left field line. On the next attempt, he swung and missed, falling to break the standstill.

'Baseball is about two-out base hits, two-strike base hits. That's how you separate yourself from other people,' manager Tom Holliday said. 'I don't like not being able to make a run on somebody, we couldn't even get into a situation to put a pinch runner in.'

Chatham (1-1-1) tied Hyannis (1-1-1) 1-1 to end a three-game homestand. While the Harbor Hawks hadn't allowed an earned run through their first two games, the Anglers scored with a double from Brown in the bottom of the first inning. But no runner advanced past third base after the third inning, and a season-high 11 Chatham batters struck out.

'What I saw tonight was a combination of thinking too much instead of hitting,' Holliday said about the lack of offensive production. 'We showed nothing offensively.'

Chatham's initial offensive momentum started in the third inning of Monday's contest, which it entered still lacking a run on the season. Following a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch to bring Dominic Tamez home, applause erupted from the Veterans Field crowd. The cheers escalated as Marcus Brown marched into the batter's box with the bases still loaded, seeking to give Chatham its first lead of 2022.

After eight pitches, with a full count and two outs still lurking, Brown launched the ball into center field. Cooper Ingle and Matt Hogan raced home, giving the Anglers a 3-1 lead en route to a 5-2 win.

Tamez said the team clicked against the Mariners on Monday because they were more 'loose' after spending more time together as a team. Brown said Chatham's quick innings in the field allowed it to focus more on the offensive end.

'We have a talented group of guys, we just put it together yesterday,' Brown said before Chatham's matchup with Hyannis.

Brown stayed in Chatham's starting lineup on Tuesday night, stepping up to the batter's box in the bottom of the first inning. With an 0-2 count and two outs, Brown smacked a double deep into right field, bringing Ingle home and putting Noah Ledford on third. But Guy Garibay Jr. couldn't continue Brown's momentary success, hitting the first pitch directly to first baseman Justin Janas.

Brown came up again in the bottom of the third in a similar situation ' the Anglers had Thomas Caufield and Ledford on base and Hyannis had tied the game at 1-1. On the fifth pitch, Brown connected on a grounder but hit it directly at second baseman Rikuu Nishida, who popped the ball toward shortstop Alex Haba to put out Ledford. Haba quickly threw to first, and Brown was called out for an inning-ending double play, nullifying Caufield's sprint home. Manager Tom Holliday came out to question the call from the first base umpire, but Chatham's fielderstrotted onto the field as another opportunity was unexploited.

Following another 4-6-3 double play that ended the fifth inning, Ledford walked again to start the sixth inning. In his third at-bat, Caden Grice's fly ball to right field fell short of the fence. Brown again launched a grounder toward first base, which bounced out of Justin Janas' glove. But second baseman Rikuu Nishida was there for the clean-up, putting out Brown while Ledford slid into second.

'Our pitch selection was really good in the first inning,' Ledford said. 'We kind of veered off after that.'

Holliday added that Chatham's bats were 'talking too much' about what was coming at them from the Harbor Hawks' bullpen instead of focusing on each at-bat. Brown said that Hyannis' pitching attack became more lethal later in the game due to more sliders and change-ups. He added that the Anglers were unable to pick up on that, leaving too many runners on base.

'The quality of our at-bats weren't bad by any means, but I definitely think we're where we need to be,' Brown said. 'We're a couple of swings away from winning that game.'

Tamez walked before Nankil and Winland Jr. were both put out at first base to start the seventh, sending Ingle to the plate. Ingle swung at the first pitch, sending a low liner which cut just right of the foul line.

After watching the second pitch go by for a called strike, Ingle set up again on the left side of the batter's box. He made contact, hooking the ball deep into center field. But as Tamez rounded third base, Cole McConnell snagged Ingle's smack to send the Anglers' offense back to the dugout.