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Game 11 Preview: Chatham at Wareham

by Graham Dietz
Friday, June 23, 2023

Game 11 Preview: Chatham at Wareham
For the second time this season, Chatham was rained out while the rest of the Cape Cod Baseball League played. The Anglers were scheduled to face Harwich Thursday at Veterans Field after losing 5–4 to the Mariners on their grounds, but the contest never took place. The makeup date was scheduled for Tuesday, June 27.

Chatham is now going to take its longest road trip of the season—the A’s will face Wareham at Spillane Field. Chatham currently holds the Cape League’s lowest mark for total runs scored (37) and the highest runs against total (58). For every game they’ve won this season, the Anglers have responded with a loss. Nevertheless, one of the three teams Chatham has defeated this season is Wareham.

Here is what you need to know before Chatham (3–6–1 East) makes the long trek to visit the Gateman (4–6–1 West).

Probable Starters

Hayden Durke (Rice): Making his return to Chatham from the MLB Draft Combine, Durke is expected to make his second start of the year for the A’s. The Rice product’s 12.60 ERA is not indicative of his first start this season—a four-inning one-hitter in a 7–4 win over the Gateman on June 16. Durke recorded six strikeouts and three walks in the affair. Before making his first start, Durke made a relief appearance for starter Parker Smith in the Anglers’ opening-day 10–10 draw with Brewster. He allowed six runs in just one inning.

Brett Wichrowski (Bryant): Wichrowski, a lefty who the A’s have not seen this season, has made two appearances for the Gatemen so far, averaging an ERA of 2.45. The six-foot-two senior out of Bryant recently pitched 0.2 innings of one-hit baseball in a 7–6 win over Bourne on June 18. Wichrowski’s more lengthy appearance came in a 3–2 loss to Cotuit on June 12, where he threw 3.0 innings with two strikeouts, one walk, two hits and one earned run.

Chatham Players to Watch

Carson Benge (Oklahoma State): If it weren’t for a strikeout he had in Wednesday’s loss at Whitehouse Field, the OSU product would be 8–8 at the plate this season. A two-way player, Benge boasts six hits, including a triple, and three RBIs in only two games for the A’s this season. Benge fastened a team-leading .345 batting average and .468 on-base percentage with the Cowboys in 2023 while also appearing in 10 games as a pitcher.

Mark Shallenberger (Evansville): While Shallenberger may not start for Chatham—he hasn’t started in the Anglers’ past two games—he can produce. The lefty outfielder leads the A’s roster with four RBIs, six walks, and two HBP (hit by pitch) in only 15 at-bats, which is 15 less than Chatham’s leader in at-bats, Janson Reeder. Shallenberger has done all this while displaying a .333 batting average.

Wareham Players to Watch

Nick McLain (Arizona State): In 22 at-bats this season, McLain has produced seven hits and two home runs. McLain is a switch hitter and has accounted for six RBIs this season. His .318 batting average is good for fourth on Wareham.

Jedier Hernandez (Seton Hall): A true righty, Hernandez’s .417 batting average in 12 at-bats ranks second for the Gateman. Hernandez has not registered a home run yet this season, but has only struck out three times.

Number to know: 2.032

Through two games this season, Benge has produced an otherworldly 2.032 OPS. OPS is a baseball statistic that is calculated by dividing a player’s number of plate appearances by the number of times the player reached base. An OPS in Major League Baseball that is considered “All-Star” is .900 or higher. Benge has only featured in two games, but if the OSU product can keep up anything that resembles his first two appearances, a Cape League MVP season could be on the rise.

Last Time They Played

In Chatham’s first matchup with Wareham, Durke was given the go-ahead nod for his first start of the 2023 season from Anglers manager Tom Holliday. Durke pitched the first four innings of the game, keeping it to one-run of damage, while the A’s jumped to a 3–1 lead in the bottom of the fourth and never looked back. Chatham scored in five consecutive innings from that point on, highlighted by a two-hit day for Nolan Schubart and a two-RBI home run from Shallenberger.