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Falmouth had scored three runs in three games entering its matchup with Chatham on Thursday. After two innings, the Commodores had doubled their season run total. The Anglers fell behind early and, despite a late comeback attempt, lost 5-4 to Falmouth at Guv Fuller Field.
Anglers starter Hayden Durke ran into trouble from the start. Alex Mooney led off the bottom of the first with a single up the middle. Durke's battery-mate, Dominic Tamez, helped relieve some of the pressure by delivering a perfect throw to second base on Mooney's steal attempt to erase the runner. However, Durke repopulated the bases by walking Brayden Taylor. Maui Ahuna then drove a single to left field to put runners on first and second with one out.
As Andrew Pinckney grounded a tailor-made double play ball to third baseman Adonys Herrera, it appeared Durke would escape the tumultuous opening inning unscathed. Thomas Caufield collected Herrera's throw at second base and fired to first, but Pinckney beat it out. Meanwhile, Tamez had abandoned home plate, allowing Taylor, who started the at-bat on second base, to sprint home. Jacob Walsh then made it 2-0 Falmouth with an RBI single up the middle.
Chatham responded quickly. After retiring the first two batters in the top of the second, Commodores starter Grayson Hitt walked Tamez, Cooper Ingle and Caden Grice to load the bases. Batting out of the ninth spot, Caufield pulled a single into right-center field to tie the game at 2-2.
Durke's start was cut short when he exited the game two batters into the bottom of the second. Drew Brutcher shot a line drive up the middle and off Durke's right arm, which forced Tommy Molsky to the mound on short notice. Falmouth (1-3-0) pieced together its third run of the game as Brutcher stole second, advanced to third on a groundout and crossed home on Taylor's single to left field.
The Commodores continued their success against Molsky in the bottom of the third. Walsh reached on a one-out walk before Cross Factor scorched a double to deep right field. Kyle Russell plated Walsh with a sacrifice fly to right field. Brutcher then ripped a single to right-center field to extend Falmouth's lead to 5-2.
Both pitching staffs settled in during the middle innings as a result of impressive relief appearances. Nicholas Regalado entered for Molsky and delivered three scoreless innings for Chatham (1-2-1). The right-hander out of Florida SouthWestern State allowed no hits but walked four.
'Sinker and slider were working out for me a lot,' Regalado said. 'Kinda struggled a little bit finding the strike zone, but found it. Felt pretty good after that.'
Falmouth's Levi Wells went frame-for-frame with Regalado, matching his three scoreless innings. Wells allowed one hit and struck out six.
The Anglers finished the game with strong pitching. Flamethrower Mathew Peters followed Regalado and drew the attention of scouts with his fastball. Similar to Regalado, Peters mixed walks with strikeouts but put together scoreless innings nonetheless.
'I thought he was electric,' Chatham manager Tom Holliday said. 'Peters has got that kind of stuff where he can just say, 'Here, you wanna hit my slider' Here it comes.' And they're not gonna hit it very often. And the same thing with his fastball. Sky is the limit for that kid ' he's got a really, really good arm.'
The Commodores' pitching was not as steady down the stretch. Falmouth's plan began to unravel in the top of the seventh. Cole Cressend replaced Wells on the mound. At the same time, Holliday dipped into his bench.
'The seventh, eighth and ninth innings belong to me,' Holliday said. 'The first six belong to the players.'
The left-handed-hitting Guy Garibay Jr. pinch hit for Nate Nankil against the right-handed Cressend. The move immediately paid off, as Garibay Jr. sent a single to left-center field on a full count. Marcus Brown matched his teammate with a single, finding a hole in the right side of the infield.
Holliday then called on Matt Hogan to pinch hit for Chuck Ingram. Again, the move worked, as Hogan drew a walk to load the bases. Cressend gave way to Mikey Tepper on the mound after all three batters he faced reached base.
Noah Ledford was Tepper's first challenge. On the fourth pitch of the at-bat, Tepper hit Ledford, scoring Garibay Jr.
Now facing Herrera, Tepper delivered the Commodores' third wild pitch of the night, prompting Brown to break home from third. The pitch pinballed off the brick wall behind home plate and rolled directly to catcher Angelo D'Acunto, allowing him to tag out Brown before he scored.
The Anglers' misfortune stung more after Herrera ripped a single through the left side of the infield, scoring Hogan to cut the Anglers' deficit to one run. Still, the inning ended unceremoniously, as Herrera was caught stealing second and Nelson Rivera struck out.
Chatham went down in order in the eighth and ninth innings, striking out four times as the ink dried on its second loss.