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Brewster ekes out 6–5 win as Chatham suffers second five-inning loss of season

by Graham Dietz
Sunday, July 16, 2023

Brewster ekes out 6–5 win as Chatham suffers second five-inning loss of season
From four rain-outs to five fog-outs, Chatham has experienced its fair share of bad weather this season. Sunday night, just one pitch into the top of the sixth inning during the Anglers’ home matchup with Brewster, play officially halted due to inclement weather too.

JJ Wetherholt positioned himself in the right-handed batter’s box and flung a ball deep into foul territory past the third-base foul line. Moments later, home plate umpire Dave Martinez suspended the affair due to lightning. While Brewster filtered into the visiting dugout half-hazardly, Chatham’s dugout gawked at the ruling. It wasn’t the first time weather threatened an Anglers’ loss in the middle of a game.

On July 1, Chatham settled for a 7–4 loss without playing a full nine innings. Pillows of haze drooped into the field, ending the affair after five innings without granting the A’s a chance to generate a comeback. Sunday, they suffered a similar fate.

After waiting out the lightning delay, an immense downpour engulfed all of Veterans Field. Team groundskeeper Robby Grenier flew onto the diamond on his cart to drape a tarp over home plate and the mound. There was nothing Chatham (7–18–1 East) could do and the matchup ended in a 6–5 loss to the Whitecaps (11–17–2 East).

Tommy Molsky stoically positioned himself for Brewster’s Jonah Sebring. Molsky cleverly hid his expression behind his bright-orange leather, concealing everything but his eyes. The Penn State righty recorded two outs on his first two pitches of the contest. Six pitches later, the A’s went down 1–0 in the top of the first frame.

Josh Pearson, the third Whitecap up to bat, locked in on Molsky. Pearson appeared to have tunnel vision on Molsky’s delivery. On the third pitch he faced, Pearson leveled a shot over Depot Road but it sailed right of the foul line down first base. Another hanging fastball didn’t fool Pearson, however, as the Louisiana State product laced a solo homer over the center-field fence.

Wetherholt knocked a double over Pearson’s flailing arm in left field but the A’s offense didn’t muster a single run in the bottom of the inning.

Trace Willhoite tossed his bat to the dugout like he had recorded a walk. Willhoite’s chances of reaching first base were robbed by Martinez, though, who called a strike to record Chatham’s second out in the bottom of the second inning. Jayden Melendez redeemed Willhoite with a walk to put two runners aboard for Bryce Martin-Grudzielanek and the righty sliced a single to right field to drive in the Anglers’ first score.

Brewster starter Javyn Pimental walked Xavier Casserilla and Deric Fabian back-to-back to produce a 2–1 lead for the A’s. From there, Sebring tracked down a Wetherholt fly-out to bottlecap Chatham’s two-out rally.

In the top of the third inning, Molsky juiced the bases with one out for Brock Tibbitts. Tibbitts didn’t deposit a hit but an RBI sacrifice fly tied the game at two apiece. Brewster All-Star Ike Irish looped a ground ball right down the middle to make it 4–2 for Brewster.

Despite handing out three runs in the frame, Chatham reliever Jack Brodsky stepped in for Molsky and finished the inning by fanning Jared Jones.

After Willhoite struck out for the second out in the bottom of the third frame, prompting Chatham acting manager Marty Lees to get into a light scuffle with Martinez behind the plate, Melendez roped an RBI single to shallow left field to make it 4–3.

Brodsky played cat and mouse with James Tibbs in the top of the fourth inning. After four straight foul balls off the tip of Tibbs’ bat, Brodsky walked Tibbs to load the bases with one out. A misfire on Pearson brought home the Whitecaps’ fifth run but Tibbitts lined into Martin-Grudzielanek’s glove who flipped to second base to record the final two outs.

Jaime Ferrer increased Brewster’s lead to 6–3 in the top of the fifth inning but Chatham responded right away.

Kaeden Kent pinch hit for Willhoite in the bottom of the inning with a runner on first and second base and no outs. Kent juiced the bases with a walk and newcomer Tyler Wulfert stepped up to bat.

Wulfert split a ball into a double play to score a fourth run and Martin-Grudzielanek prolonged the inning with an infield single to bring the Anglers within one. Chatham didn’t have a fair shot to complete its comeback, however, as rain became the real enemy in the Anglers’ 6–5 defeat after one pitch in the bottom of the sixth frame.