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Chatham manager Tom Holliday didn't have to 'waste an arm' Saturday night after Ben Hampton's complete game, leaving him with a full bullpen of four or five pitchers for Sunday's matchup against Harwich. He knew Lebarron Johnson Jr. would start, giving the Anglers two or three innings, before Carlos Rey would come in in their bullpen game.
Holliday followed the plan, but Chatham's pitchers couldn't contain Harwich's offense. Johnson gave up three runs over the first two innings, and Dennis Cook met with him for the last time after the first two batters reached in the bottom of the third.
Rey ran onto the mound, but he immediately struggled. He walked the first and third batter he faced and the second, Joe Vetrano, brought Nick Goodwin home with a sacrifice fly to center field. Two more singles brought in three more runs before Ethan O'Donnell broke his bat on a single to center field to bring home the fifth and final run of the frame.
'It was a struggle on the mound every inning and every out,' Holliday said. 'It was a bad baseball game.'
After an 'ugly' one-hit performance last night, Chatham recorded seven hits against Harwich. But the Anglers' early pitching struggles created a hole the offense couldn't dig out of in their 12-5 loss to the Mariners on Sunday at Whitehouse Field. Chatham is now three points behind Harwich and needs a win over Yarmouth-Dennis tomorrow to have a chance at making the playoffs before heading back to Whitehouse Field for its regular season finale.
'These are the dog days of summer, now is when you have to give in and go all out,' Rey said.
Marcus Brown dove into third base with two outs in the first inning, retreating his pursuit home. Jake DeLeo purposefully put himself in a pickle between first and second to grant Brown an opportunity to score the game's first run, but shortstop Kalae Harrison threw back to third.
Brown made it safely, but Harrison's throw went toward the Harwich dugout instead of into Brock Wilken's glove. Brown launched himself up from the dirt, turning around before sliding into home to give Chatham a 1-0 lead.
Harwich quickly answered back though against Johnson, Chatham's starter whom the Mariners scored two runs against in the teams' last matchup.Goodwin ignited the Mariners' offense, lining the ball into left field on the second pitch he saw. Lyle Miller-Green ran to his right but couldn't glove it, letting the ball bounce toward the fence. Goodwin ran to second safely, bringing Wilken into the batter's box.
Wilken watched two pitches land low before swinging at one that landed in the strike zone. He hammered the ball off the left-center field fence, making up Harwich's early defensive blunder and tying the game at 1-1.
Johnson walked Vetrano to open the bottom of the second before Harwich's third double came off a line drive from William Hamiter. Vetrano scored before Cook visited the mound, but Johnson continued to struggle as his next heave bounced in the dirt.
Hamiter advanced to third off the wild pitch before Bryan Arendt popped the ball into shallow right field, toeing the line between fair and foul. Caden Grice caught the ball, but Hamiter tagged up from third base for the Mariners' third run.
Goodwin rolled the ball down left field in the bottom of the third for his second hit, putting enough power behind his ground ball to get it past Anthony Nunez's glove. Johnson then walked Wilken before Rey came into the game.
Miller-Green responded to the Mariners' five runs in the top of the fourth with a solo home run which he belted over the left-center field fence. But Grice hit Wilken in the helmet with a throw as he tried to get him out at second in the next half-inning. Vetrano then smashed the ball into the infield, creating a high hop which escaped Roc Riggio's glove after it bounced. Wilken scored before a sacrifice fly to right field allowed Stokely to jog home for Harwich's 10th run.
C.J. McKennitt made his first appearance for Chatham, replacing Rey after two batters in the bottom of the fifth. He hit Goodwin with his first pitch in the CCBL before walking Wilken. McKennitt settled in, striking out Stokely before forcing Vetrano to fly out. It was the Anglers' first scoreless frame of the night, but the Mariners' offense had already done enough damage.
'We didn't deserve to win that game, it was over after five,' Holliday said.