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BREWSTER ' Shadows occasionally obstructed Johnny Castagnozzi's view when the ball bounced off Brewster's bats.
He was ready for something to be hit hard in his direction, which came for the second time in the bottom of the fourth. Castagnozzi dove to his right, snatching Kurtis Byrne's line drive which came dribbling down the third base line. He rocketed the ball over to an outstretched Caden Grice at first base, leaving one runner on base to end the frame.
Castagnozzi stepped into the batter's box four innings later after Jake DeLeo and Marcus Brown both struck out with two runners on base. He made contact on the first two pitches ' one attempt flew into the third base grandstand and another into the back netting ' before swinging and missing for the third strikeout in the inning.
'Our defense kept us in that game, we had a couple of shots to get blown out,' manager Tom Holliday said. 'When you get an opportunity, we had two on and nobody out and we didn't score. That can't happen. The baseball Gods are telling you right there, 'You blew it.''
Chatham's defense and pitching continued to give the offense opportunities in its 2-0 loss to Brewster. Nicholas Regalado and Carlos Rey each allowed just two hits while the defense didn't have any errors. But the Anglers struck out a season-high 18 times, advancing to third base twice.
'We had a day off yesterday, everyone should have their eye on the ball right now,' Holliday said. 'Today, we should have played lights out. It's disappointing.'
The game began with a defensive battle between Regalado and Brewster starter Brian Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick struck four of the first five batters he faced on high fastballs.
Fitzpatrick hit Grice in the right arm in the top of the second, bringing Nate Nankil up to the right-handed batter's box. But like most Chatham at-bats before him, Nankil struck out swinging. Fitzpatrick struck out seven of the first eight Anglerst batters.
'They beat us today with a fastball, that's what's scary,' Holliday said.
Regalado followed suit in the bottom of the second, finishing the inning in four batters. He lost some command with his slider, walking Logan Bravo before hitting Grayson Tatrow in the shin.
The Florida SouthWestern pitcher eventually settled in, flinching his left arm and fixing his cap before each heave, before putting out the next batter.
'I couldn't find my slider that much, but the two seam and sinker were working a lot for me,' Regalado said.
Regalado didn't allow any hits until the fourth inning, when Carson Demartini smacked a single into deep right field. Tatrow mimicked Demartini's knock after Regalado struck out Bravo for the second out, dropping the ball in front of Nankil. Demartini got the wave from his third base coach, slowing down to get his balance before tiptoeing onto home plate.
Castagnozzi made his diving play to end the inning, sending Chatham's bats out with Grice in the batter's box first. He hit a grounder to first base, which was easily stopped by Parks Harber. Nankil followed with a single that dribbled over the mound and sat in the infield.
After Roc Riggio struck out following Nankil's hit Dominic Tamez launched the second pitch he saw into center field, but he threw his bat to the grass in frustration.
'Regalado is an energy guy on the mound, you should follow that energy with a bat, but we didn't,' Holliday said.
Rey took over for Regalado in the fifth inning, hitting the first batter he faced. He found his groove like Regalado did earlier though, putting out the ensuing three hitters before picking off a base runner the next inning to help himself out.
Rey ran into trouble in the seventh, allowing a single from Byrne before walking Michael Sirota. Harber bunted to advance both runners, though Rey was able to get to the dribbling ball and throw to Riggio, who was at first base for the out.
Chatham's infeld continued to creep in, expecting another bunt. Instead, Javier Vaz sent a bullet in between second and third. Brown dove to his right, able to trap the ball in his mitt before jumping to his feet. He wasn't able to catch any runners, but he saved a run.
Alex Freeland smashed a sacrifice fly to Nankil in right field, bringing home Byrne as an insurance run to Brewster's lead.
Castagnozzi struck out in the following frame, leaving Chatham's bats one more chance to at least push for a tie in the ninth. Holliday brought Adonys Herrera and Noah Ledford in as pinch hitters. Herrera got to first on a single but Ledford struck out on three straight pitches.
Grice sent a more powerful grounder, which reached the second baseman, but the throw to Freeland at second base was high . Herrera took off to third, reaching the bag while his helmet fell off in the process.
Nankil struck out with runners on first and third, and Riggio broke his bat on a foul ball with the fourth pitch he saw. Riggio stared at his new bat, hitting home plate twice before taking three practice swings. He watched one pitch miss the zone before swinging and missing, landing on his left knee to end the game.