Sean Hard was the pitching matchup that Chatham power-hitter Lyle Miller-Green wanted. Even if Miller-Green didn’t know it.
While Harwich’s right-hander entered his third appearance of the season boasting a 1.28 ERA through seven innings, his statistics from college told a different story. In just two years at Boston College, Hard averaged an 11.85 ERA and allowed nine home runs. Facing a wood bat or not, Miller-Green exposed the real Hard in the Anglers’ home matchup with the Mariners.
Down 4–2 going into the bottom of the fifth inning, Miller-Green, who hadn’t homered since June 29, left yard right over the right-center field 357’ sign. The three-RBI moonshot didn’t only put Chatham ahead 6–4. It put the fans who were seated below Depot Road into a swarm for the ball, hungry for a souvenir.
“Felt like a must-win situation,” Miller-Green said. “Runners on second and third, I believe, with less than two outs. I was just trying to get a pitch I could drive in the air, just at least a sac fly. Luckily, I went over the fence.”
While one lucky fan went home with Miller-Greens bombshell, the same could not be said of Harwich (11–9–0 East) and a road victory. Chatham (6–13–1 East) posted eight runs combined from the fifth inning to the seventh to capture its sixth win of the season by a final score of 10–6.
“I’ll tell you what guys, I’d like to play them eight times in a row,” Chatham manager Tom Holliday said of Harwich, who the A’s defeated twice in a four-day span. “Knowing that a team doesn’t hit right-handed pitching—that’s a good thing to find.”
For the third game in a row, Chatham’s starting pitcher allowed a run in the first inning.
Jack Seppings’ first pitch of his Chatham career was clocked to center field by Harwich’s Jacob Humphrey, who advanced to third base on a Casey Saucke single to no man’s land. A Mason Geurra single to the shortstop scored Humphrey, but Lorenzo Carrier grounded out into a double play to puncture the Mariner’s rally.
The A’s put two runners on base in the bottom of the first inning, and one in scoring position, courtesy of a Deric Fabian walk and a Nolan Schubart single. But both players were stranded on the basepath.
It wasn’t an ideal start for the Ivy-League hurler, but Seppings shook off the rust in the top of the second inning. The Brown product fanned Devin Obee, Andrew Yu and Devin Hurdle to escape the frame without permitting a run. Despite only being on the Cape for a day, Seppings exhibited the exact thing Holliday said he hoped to see from his pitching staff—he got ahead in the counts.
“He handled it well,” Schubart said of Seppings’ first start. “I wanna say rough first inning, but he settled in really, really well and started pounding the zone and letting his stuff work because he’s got electric stuff. He was definitely a presence out on the mound and stayed calm when he had base runners on.”
In the bottom of the third inning, Chatham’s nine-hole hitter, Xavier Casserilla, slashed a single through first base, destined for the Mariners’ bullpen across the right-field foul line. Casserilla ran to second, took a moment to check third base coach Marty Lees’ signal, and transitioned into an all-out dash to third, where he reached for a triple.
Matthew Etzel placed a perfect bunt to the right of the mound to put runners in the corners with no outs, and Fabian ripped a single to left-center field to score Casserrilla. Etzel scored on a Schubart lineout to take a 2–1 advantage for the Anglers.
“Don’t let it get so big,” Holliday said of his message to the lineup. “In batting practice today, we talked about hitting the ball hard—don’t directional hit. Don’t worry about where you hit it. Just hit it hard.”
With a runner on first and second base in the top of the fourth inning, Seppings’ night ended at 72 pitches and he received a standing ovation for his efforts. Aiden Jimenez stepped in.
A throwing error by Casserilla at third base scored two Harwich runners, and a Saucke infield single made it 4–2 for the Mariners.
“Even tonight we continued to do some dumb stuff,” Holliday said. “You know, you catch your ground ball, you get flat-footed and then you throw the ball away. I don’t care if someone beats us with a bat. If they beat us up, they beat us up. When routine plays crush runs like that, you’re not gonna win.”
Nevertheless, the energy tilted back in the home team’s favor in the bottom of the fifth inning. Carter Trice pummeled a solo home run on the second pitch he faced, which left fielder Matt Scannell helplessly eye-balled as it soared into the foliage. Two batters later, Miller-Green bested Trice with his three-RBI nuke.
“Did you notice the difference the sound makes?” Holliday said of the two home runs. “They sound like home runs and that’s what we need. I guarantee last week we haven’t had three balls sound like that. Tonight, we had maybe four or five. Squared up balls tonight. That’s a breakthrough.”
Jimenez relinquished another two runs in the top of the sixth inning to knot the game at six apiece, but a shallow line drive from Schubart in the following frame resulted in another run for the Anglers.
North Carolina’s Ben Peterson dealt a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the seventh to keep Chatham’s lead at 7–6. Etzel added two insurance runs in the bottom of the frame with an opposite-side slinger to right field with the bases loaded, and Trice dribbled into a double play for a tenth Anglers’ run. Peterson locked down from there, tossing three shutout innings to secure the 10–6 victory.
“This has been a mind-struggling ballclub with all kinds of guys playing different positions,” Holliday said. “Just want them to think mentally about the game. We need to string it. We need to go tomorrow. We need to win the game on the road.”