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Chatham's bullpen, defense struggle in 7-3 loss to Hyannis

by Anish Vasudevan
Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Chatham's bullpen, defense struggle in 7-3 loss to Hyannis

Noah Ledford lifted his left hand as Rocco Peppi reached first base, momentarily leaving the ground to haul in the throw from Trevor Martin. But the ball went over Ledford's head, smacking the fence closest to the first base dugout.

Caden Grice sprinted in from right field to pick up the ball while Jorge Corona touched home plate. Marcus Brown ran to third to stop Peppi, but the throw from Grice instead went to second baseman Roc Riggio. Peppi paused after touching the third base bag before dashing home, and Riggio's throw home bounced out of Jack Rubenstein's glove as Peppi completed the score.

'You play well, you win. You don't play well, you don't win,' manager Tom Holliday said.

The Harbor Hawks recorded three runs off errors and their final on a wild pitch in a 7-3 win over Chatham. Hyannis walked seven times and stole four bases.

The Anglers' defense broke down as early as the first inning as Mitch Jebb stole second and third base. Rubenstein threw to third to catch Jebb, but the ball skipped in front of Johnny Castagnozzi's glove and into left field. Jebb ran home, giving Hyannis a 1-0 lead.

'The biggest disappointment is that we didn't hold runners,' Holliday said.

Cooper Ingle didn't swing at the first four pitches he saw in the second inning, walking to first base. Grice followed suit of his college teammate whom he called the 'designated walker,' trotting to first after six pitches.

But the next three Anglers couldn't bring Ingle or Grice in. Noah Ledford and Castagnozzi struck out before Matt Hogan flew out to deep center.

Grice came up to the plate again in the fourth inning, fouling the first ball into the screen behind home plate. The next pitch from Jackson Baumeister was a fastball that traveled toward the middle of the zone, which Grice launched deep into the middle of the field.

McConnell ran back in center field, eventually reaching the warning track, but the ball landed over the fence, right above the 385 foot sign to give the Anglers their first lead of the night.

Wyatt Evans replaced Martin at the mound in the top of the fifth, walking two of the first three batters he faced. McConnell came up to the plate next, launching a single on the second pitch he saw to center field.

'We lost it on the mound, the walks gave them too many opportunities,' Holliday said. 'We don't have the experienced arms that we had early, these guys are going to have to grow up and learn how to pitch or that's going to happen.'

The Anglers loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth following a base knock from Riggio and walks from Ingle and Grice. After Ledford struck out, Castagnozzi walked to bring Riggio home and pull Chatham within two. But Hogan struck out, falling to a knee and slamming the top of the bat onto the ground.

'We had the tying run to the plate three times in the last four innings,' Holliday said. 'But again we had a few guys that struck out three times each.'

Peppi slapped the ball into shallow right field in the ensuing frame and Riggio ran the ball into the infield in order to prevent another error. The ball went toward Riggio again after a smack from Rikuu Nishida, and Riggio flipped the ball with his glove to first base as Corona touched home plate. It didn't reach Ledford, instead allowing Nishida to advance to second and Peppi to reach third.

Nishida's hit came off Brian Holiday, who took the mound earlier in the sixth inning. Holiday's control of his coveted curveball continued to escape him in the top of the seventh, the ball repeatedly finding the dirt in front of catcher Nelson Rivera.

Dominic Pitelli and McConnell advanced to second and third, respectively, after Rivera couldn't snag one of Holiday's curveballs. Rivera made a tag at home to put out McConnell, but another curveball bounced off his chest protector, bringing Pitelli home for Hyannis' seventh run.