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Offensive struggles return as Chatham falls to Falmouth

by Chris Blake
Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Offensive struggles return as Chatham falls to Falmouth

Despite Chatham's offensive woes throughout Tuesday, the Anglers were one swing away from tying the game in the bottom of the ninth. With Chatham trailing 4-1, Caden Grice stepped into the box with runners on first and second. Grice had homered the previous day, and another blast would have evened the score against Falmouth. But keeping with the theme of the night, the swing the Anglers needed did not come. Grice grounded out to first base, ending the game.

It was a story all too familiar for Chatham. The Anglers' offense failed to provide support for a pitching staff that gave it a chance to win. Chatham mustered five hits in its 4-1 loss to Falmouth at Veterans Field.

Before the game, it seemed the Commodores (3-6-0) would be the ones to struggle at the plate. Falmouth entered Tuesday's contest with the league's lowest batting average and second-worst slugging percentage.

Will Carsten took advantage of the Commodores' feeble lineup in the early portion of his start, beginning the game with two scoreless innings, but he hit a speedbump in the top of the third after a walk and a double put runners in scoring position with one out. Maui Ahuna then plated the game's first run with a groundout to second base.

The third inning was a sample of what was to come. In the top of the fourth, Falmouth shook off any notion of being an easy lineup for opposing pitchers. The Commodores took turns hammering Carsten's pitches. Jacob Walsh was first up, drilling a solo home run to center field. Colby Halter followed with a line-drive single to right field.

Despite the two hard-hit balls to start the inning, Carsten stayed in the contest. Chatham manager Tom Holliday said after the game that the plan was to pitch Carsten for four innings.

Drew Brutcher stepped in next and unloaded on Carsten's 2-1 offering, drawing cheers from Falmouth's dugout before the ball left the park. Nate Nankil turned around and took a few steps toward the fence before he resigned to watching the home run fly onto Depot Road.

'(Carsten) went through the batting order really well the first time through and then after that they sat on his change-up,' Holliday said. 'And this ballpark's dangerous. Left-handed hitters hit home runs in this ballpark.'

The Anglers' offense had trouble making up the 4-0 deficit ' it saw just seven pitches in the half-inning following Falmouth's outpouring.

Commodores starter Josh Hartle carved through Chatham (3-4-1) again in the bottom of the fifth, inducing three groundouts for another quick inning. The lefty threw just 55 pitches over five scoreless innings. He was in complete control, walking none and allowing three hits.

'We're not hitting left-handed pitchers at all,' Holliday said. 'You can't just (have) left-handers show up (and you) just get shut down ' and we get shut down every time. Very disappointed. Very disappointed against that left-hander. I mean, maybe he's gonna prove it out to be really good, but we were terrible offensively.'

The Anglers continued to struggle after Falmouth turned to right-hander Jake Peppers in the bottom of the sixth. Jake DeLeo ' who doubled in the first inning ' put solid contact on the ball, driving a pitch to the warning track in right field, but it was caught, making him the second out in another 1-2-3 inning.

Holliday has made it clear that the final three innings are his to work with, and his substitutions provided a spark late. Nelson Rivera and Guy Garibay Jr. entered as defensive replacements in the top of the eighth before starting a rally in the bottom of the inning. Rivera led off with a soft single to right field and Garibay Jr. drew a walk, but Noah Ledford grounded into the Anglers' second double play of the game. Rivera scored on a wild pitch during the next at-bat, but Chatham needed more to have a chance at a comeback.

Tuesday's offensive troubles stung even more after the Anglers seemed to have turned a corner with their doubleheader sweep against Wareham on Monday. Chatham scored five runs in its game one victory, which was shortened to seven innings for the doubleheader. DeLeo hit a grand slam for the Anglers' first home run of the season. In game two, Grice struck a two-run, opposite-field home run to continue the power surge.

The Anglers followed by going 5 for 31 (.161) with one walk and one extra-base hit against Falmouth.

'We got beat 4-1 and it feels like it was 10-1, which tells you we did nothing offensively,' Holliday said.