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Chatham participates in intrasquad home run derby amid fog-out suspension

by Graham Dietz and Tyler Schiff
Friday, July 07, 2023

Chatham participates in intrasquad home run derby amid fog-out suspension
The year of the fog continues, as Chatham’s Friday home contest with Falmouth was postponed for players’ safety. Thick haze wiped out an Anglers game for the second time in three days and the third total time this season. Nevertheless, Chatham manager Tom Holliday used the night as an excuse for something perhaps more fun for A’s fans: an in-house home run derby.

“I’ve given up plenty of home runs in my day when I was a pitcher in college,” Chatham third-base coach Marty Lees, who threw during the derby, said. “It was similar to what I’ve been facing. It’s fun for the crowd with the teams not being able to play tonight. I see some energy in the stands tonight, something a little off the wall.”

On Wednesday, Chatham was fogged out in its matchup with Orleans. Deric Fabian tied the contest 5–5 with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fourth inning, but a batter later, the umpires signaled for a delay before officially invoking a suspension. The affair will resume in the same frame on July 28. Friday’s game against the Commodores, however, never started.

Chatham entered the contest on the bottom of the East Division with a record of 6–13–1 while Falmouth’s record of 8–12–2 put them in last place in the West. Texas’ Tanner Witt was expected to make his third start of the season. The six-foot-six righty produced five strikeouts and allowed just one hit in an 8–1 victory over Harwich on June 30. Instead, Witt was subject to watch as the Chatham lineup—and fellow pitchers Gabe Davis and Brian Holliday—belted balls out of Veterans Field. Or at least attempted to.

“I took Brian with the first overall pick,” Lyle Miller-Green, one of two captains for the evening, said. “I’m confident he has the most juice out of any pitcher on the team. Him and Ben Peterson.”

Chatham’s bats were split into two teams for the Derby—the “Lyle Miller-Green Marauders” and the “Nolan Schubart Swingers”—which Chatham public address announcer Peter Burns coined for the two sides before the derby started. Team Schubart wore the A’s Friday red jerseys while Team Miller-Green sported the classic Chatham blue.

“Just get as many swings off as possible,” Miller Green, the 2022 Cape League Home Run Hitting Contest champion, said about his strategy. “That was kind of my approach last year in the home run derby, swing as many times and just get the ball in the air.”

It all started as Carter Trice stepped up to the plate with Lees stationed behind an L-screen in front of the pitcher’s mound ready to throw to him.

Trice tossed two baseballs to Lees and stepped into the right-handed batter’s box. The two practiced with a couple of bunts to warm up before the clock started ticking.

“This is my specialty,” Holiday said prior to his turn at-bat. “I’ve been waiting on this moment to come out here to showcase my power and my two-way ability.”

Each batter was given a 20-second window to produce as many home runs as possible. Miller-Green’s Marauders jumped out to an early lead before Schubart tacked on three of his own to bring the Swingers back within distance. Davis, draped in red, had an opportunity to draw level as the derby’s final batter but fired a foul ball past the right-field foul line to give the Marauders a 7–6 win.

Chatham returns to Veterans Field on Saturday to take on Cotuit. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.

“There’s a really hot chance I whiff on all five,” Holiday said. “But I’m going to go out there swinging with a smile on my face.”