Carson Benge entered Chatham’s contest at Harwich carrying a batting average of 1.000. The lefty went 3–3 in his A’s debut to help beat Yarmouth-Dennis. In his first at-bat against the Mariners, he started right where he had left off, knocking a single through the middle to reach first base.
Benge proceeded to tally a 3–4 batting line through the top of the ninth inning, when he came up in a position to win it all. With the bases loaded, one out, and facing a one-run deficit, Benge took ball after ball from Harwich reliever Joe Savino. But on a 3–0 count, another ball to the inside corner walked Benge to bring home the tying run.
“I’m seeing the ball pretty good,” Benge said. “Kind of just been staying with my approach, staying with my swing. I think if I do that, good things will happen.”
Benge knotted the game 4–4 to give the Anglers a chance to win it all, but Chatham couldn’t capitalize. After the contest went to extra innings, the A’s (3–6–1 East) yielded a walkoff single to Harwich’s (7–3–0) Ali Camarillo in the bottom of the tenth to lose 5–4.
“It’s a tough loss for the kids,” Chatham manager Tom Holliday said. “When you go to a 4–4 tie and play the extra inning, you know, one guy does it, one guy doesn’t. We didn’t do it so you lose the ballgame.”
While Chatham got nothing going except for Benge’s hit in the first frame, the same could not be said of the Mariners. After Aidan Meola missed a difficult throw from third base to put Hunter Fitz-Gerald on second, Kennedy Jones drove in the runner with an RBI single.
Josh Bostick kept the Anglers scoreless in the top of the second inning, fanning Nolan Schubart and Kaeden Kent in the process. Chatham starter Ben Peterson, on the other hand, hit Harwich’s Ryan Wilson before walking the next batter and handing out an RBI single to Andrew Yu. Kaelen Culpepper then dribbled a double down the third-base line to make it 3–0 in Harwich’s favor. Holliday replaced Peterson with West Virginia’s Maxx Yehl in the bottom of the third.
In the top of the fifth inning, Bostick walked Kent and Janson Reeder to put two Anglers on the base path for the first time all game. Bostick rebounded with a strikeout on Hudson White, but a double steal moved Kent to third base and Reeder to second. A wild pitch scored Kent and moved Reeder to third, but Sam Antonacci grounded out to keep it 3–1 for the Mariners.
“Heavy fastball that rose a little,” Antonacci said of Bostick. “He was able to mix a lot of good pitches for strikes. Just a good, quality pitcher all around.”
Yehl managed his third strikeout of the day in the bottom of the fifth inning, and a circus unfolded in the top of the sixth.
It started when Meola lifted a ball behind home plate which found foul territory. A chorus of Anglers players yelled “out!” as the ball sailed away from Yu, even though the ball stayed in play. Yu missed the catch, but the home umpire decided that Meola was out due to an infraction by the dugout, which raised Holliday’s temper to a point where he put the game under protest for a misapplication of the rules.
Holliday then yelled from the dugout and was subsequently ejected from the game, and the A’s failed to garner a run in the inning.
Harwich put a run on the board as Devin Obee roped an RBI triple off Chatham reliever Miles Langhorne in the bottom of the seventh inning, but the A’s offense got rolling again in the top of the eighth.
“Remember, I’m up on the hill, I got thrown out of the game,” Holliday said. “But Langhorne looked to me like he could turn into a pretty good pitcher. Doesn’t have any confidence in his fastball. That’s a sad thing because he’s got 93, 94, but when he lost his fastball he got wow’ed.”
Harwich inserted Dylan Delvecchio who immediately walked Antonacci and Meola to start the frame, and Benge hacked a ground ball through the left side to load the bases with his third hit of the contest. Looking rattled, Delvecchio then walked Chris Maldonado to cut Chatham’s deficit to just two runs.
Delvecchio continued peppering the plate with balls and hit Schubart on a 2–0 count to relinquish another run. His erratic pitching prompted Harwich manager Steve Englart to replace him with Savino.
With a potential go-ahead run in the hands of Maldonado after Benge walked with the bases loaded in the top of the ninth inning, Vanderbilt’s utility player grounded out into a fielder’s choice, and Schubart shot a foul ball to left field in the next at-bat. Harwich’s left fielder made a leaping catch in deep foul territory to secure it.
“Scoreboard doesn’t show everything,” Benge said. “I think at the end of the game, we started to turn things on. I think if we continue to play like we did in the last three innings, we should be really good moving forward.”
Aeden Finateri’s ninth-inning performance brought the affair into extra innings, and in the top of the tenth, with Schubart on second base, Tate Ballestero softly tapped a bunt to advance the runner to third. It didn’t matter, though, as a White bunt popped right into Savino’s glove who then forced an out at third base.
Camarillo’s walkoff single in the bottom of the tenth inning finished the job to make it a 5–4 final.
“We hit into double plays in the most unusual situations,” Holliday said. “We have guys who can’t put the ball in play with a runner at third and one out. That stuff has to be corrected, but it’s not a coachable thing. That’s a mental thing. That’s a, ‘Do you not want to be a star?’”