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COTUIT ' Jake DeLeo walked into the batter's box for the first time of the night in the bottom of the sixth inning after Chatham allowed six runs in two innings.
DeLeo didn't take any time to settle in, striking the opening pitch into the infield grass. It reached shortstop Ryan Ritter in one hop, leading to a put out at first. Nate Nankil came in next pinch hitting for Paul Winland Jr., mimicking DeLeo's approach. Nankil's slap on the first pitch also rocketed toward Ritter for the second out.
Chuck Ingram entered the game for the first time as well, recording his first hit of the season in 14 at-bats. Noah Ledford was the only player in the inning who was already in the game, but he positioned himself in the right-handed batter's box this time. He popped the ball to left field, but Zachary Cole successfully ran in front of it, his toes treading the third base line to retire the side.
'We took our leftys out of our lineup and put our rightys in,' Matt Hogan said. 'You can't blame any one person, Cotuit had a really good day overall ' in cases like that it does become difficult for us.'
Chatham finished with six hits, two more than the average the Kettleers had allowed in their last four games. But after two quick runs in the opening three innings, Chatham couldn't get back on the board against Cotuit in its 9-2 loss. The Anglers left eight batters on base throughout the game.
In order to get back on track, the Anglers were slated against one of the toughest pitchers they've seen all year. Cotuit's Kenya Huggins, who struck out 97 batters this season and just returned to the Kettleers from the MLB Draft Combine, immediately reached speeds of 96 and 97 mph on his fastball. Leadoff hitter Roc Riggio watched the first two hit the strike zone, eventually sending a fly out deep to right field.
Marcus Brown entered the batter's box next, staying in the Anglers' lineup after an RBI single to give Chatham a 1-0 lead against Bourne last night. He swung and missed on Huggins' opening fastball, but he found the same spot as yesterday, sending the ball dribbling just inside of the right field foul line.
After Cooper Ingle walked and Caden Grice flew out, Matt Hogan walked towards home plate. He dug his left foot into the left-handed batter's box, then his right, before roping the third pitch he saw bouncing over second base. Brown ran home from second, giving Chatham a 1-0 lead ' the third time this season the Anglers' took the lead first.
'He was trying to show how hard he could throw and guys had a chance to T-up on the fastball and go for it,' Tom Holliday said about Huggins. 'We had some chance to hit the balls hard and I'm advocate for being the first team to score and we did.'
Joe Miller delivered for the Anglers' on the mound, facing four batters in the bottom of the second. Brown came back into the batter's box, but he hit a grounder directly at second baseman Chandler Simpson.
Ingle walked again and Hogan, who entered the second-best batting average on the team (.357), chipped two straight fastballs into the chain link fence behind home plate. But he made contact again after another foul ball, this time landing fair down the first base line. Hogan darted for first base and Simpson couldn't glove the ball properly, putting two Anglers on base.
'Usually when a guy is struggling with his command, you know that he's relying on his fastball,' Hogan said. 'That's what we took advantage of in the early half.'
Paul Winland Jr. found the same success as his teammates, watching one pitch hit the strike zone before notching his first hit of the year. The ball dropped into shallow right field, bringing Ingle home. Hogan advanced to third base while Winland Jr eventually got to second, but Guy Garibay Jr. swung and missed for the final out.
Cotuit didn't notch a hit until the fourth inning, though Cam Collier was able to come home on a wild pitch in the third. The Anglers succumbed to their first 1-2-3 inning, then the Kettleers tied the game with a bunt from CJ Kayfus bringing home a sliding Cole. And with their third hit, Ryan Ritter notched a two-RBI double to give Cotuit its first lead of the night.
Brown began the top of the fifth, facing Isaiah Coupet after Chris Stuart was pulled following just eight pitches. He made contact with the fourth pitch he saw, but it was a fly out to the left fielder in foul territory.
Adonys Herrera entered the game for Ingle, smacking the ball toward deep center field. It reached the warning track, but Cole made the catch. And Caden Grice swung and missed for the final out ' the second time Chatham went down the order.
Brown launched a single to left field in the top of the seventh after Riggio struck out, bringing Herrera back into the batter's box. In the middle of his at-bat, Cotuit manager Mike Roberts pulled Coupet for righty sidearm pitcher Jackson Kelley.
Herrera watched Kelley's first pitch hit the strike zone, taking a deep breath before getting back into his batting stance. His swing caught the ball, sending it straight into the air for an easy catch by catcher Caleb Lomavita. Brown had just touched home plate, but the catch was good for the final out, sending Brown back to the dugout in frustration.