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Chatham's postseason aspirations were spoiled Tuesday when Orleans took down Wareham to secure the East Division's final playoff spot. The Anglers entered Wednesday's matchup as a team with nothing to play for, but they showed no indication of having such a designation.
In its final game of the 2022 season, Chatham rode back-to-back three-run innings to an 8-6 win over Yarmouth-Dennis on Wednesday at Veterans Field.
The Red Sox had plenty of motivation Wednesday. A win or tie would have secured their place atop the East Division ' a fact Chatham was aware of and used to orient its mindset.
'Spoil their night,' Anglers shortstop Marcus Brown said about the team's mentality coming into the game. 'It's nice that our team showed up, we showed fight in us. We weren't gonna let them take it from us.'
The Anglers trailed 4-2 entering the bottom of the fifth but put two runners on base with one out. Cooper Ingle then bounced a single through the right side of the infield to load the bases for Guy Garibay Jr.
Garibay scalded a ground ball toward first baseman Caden Connor, but Connor's throw to the plate skipped past catcher Ryan Proto, bringing Brown and Lyle Miller-Green home. Chatham took the lead on the next at-bat as Chuck Ingram plated Cooper Ingle with a groundout.
The Anglers expanded on their lead in the next inning against Dominic Freeberger. The right-hander issued free passes to the first two batters he faced, contributing to Y-D's walk total which reached nine by the end of the game.
'If we weren't patient, if we weren't into the game, we'd have been swinging at balls, we'd have been just getting it over with, but we took what they gave us, and they gave us a lot,' Chatham manager Tom Holliday said.
With runners at the corners, Brown lifted a fly ball into left-center field. Cole Carrigg and Homer Bush Jr. converged, but as the two narrowly avoided a collision, the ball hit off Carrigg's glove and fell to the ground, giving Brown an RBI double.
Brown came home on the second of back-to-back sacrifice flies to extend Chatham's lead to 8-4. He finished 1 for 3 with three runs, an RBI, a walk and a hit-by-pitch.
'I guess I was trying to get on base just to make things happen, and I thought I was able to do that tonight and I was kinda happy with the results, but the guys behind me in the lineup were doing their jobs and getting me home,' Brown said.
Chatham starter Owen Stevenson allowed four runs on eight hits in four-plus innings. Stevenson gave way to P.J. Labriola after allowing the first two batters to reach in the top of the fifth.
Initially, Labriola fared no better, surrendering a single on a soft line drive up the middle to load the bases with no outs. But the lefty fanned the next three batters, preventing the Red Sox from running away with the game before Chatham's offense kicked into gear in the middle innings.
'I thought that was pretty big for our team right there (with the) bases loaded,' Labriola said.
Holliday sent Matt Hogan, Jake DeLeo and Roc Riggio into the game over the final two innings to bolster the Anglers defense with a late lead. The moves also allowed three players who were among Chatham's longest-tenured players this season to be on the field for the final out.
The trio backed Ben Hampton, who came on for the ninth inning after winning the 2022 Ed Baird Outstanding Pitcher Award prior to the game.
Chatham's second error put the leadoff batter on base, and Y-D brought Gunner Antillon ' the tying run ' to the plate after Woody Hadeen reached on an infield single.
Antillon kept the line moving with an RBI single to left field, but Hampton closed the door on the next at-bat, inducing a grounder to first for the final out.
'The whole moral to the whole thing is they didn't quit,' Holliday said.