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Falmouth breaks Chatham’s two-game win streak as A’s fall 5–2

by Graham Dietz
Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Falmouth breaks Chatham’s two-game win streak as A’s fall 5–2
It took just one pitch for Falmouth to move into the driver’s seat at Veterans Field and spoil Carson Pierce’s Chatham debut. The pitch wasn’t even thrown by Pierce.

In the top of the sixth frame, Chatham acting manager Marty Lees waved Pierce for Angler reliever Gavin Brasosky in a two-out, bases-loaded situation. Before the sixth, however, Pierce had garnered five strikeouts and allowed just one hit.

After fanning two of the first three batters in the inning and giving up a single, Pierce consecutively walked Travis Bazzana and Kyle DeBarge to load the bases. Brasosky walked in, looking to quell the Commodores’ rally, but Kade Snell sprung a single to score all three runners.

The sprightly shot took liftoff into right-center, casting a blow to the Anglers’ 2–0 lead going into the latter half of the matchup. As Anglers’ supporters grew furious with the dagger, Falmouth third-base coach Brett Becker’s fluttering arm spun faster and faster. Falmouth’s runners trickled into home plate without being contested by Chatham’s cycle.

The Commodores rode their three-run sixth inning to take Chatham down in its second matchup of the day. After defeating Wareham 7–2 in the first game of a Tuesday doubleheader to record back-to-back wins for the first time this season, the Anglers (9–19–1 East) fell 5–2 to the second set of visitors, Falmouth (15–15–1 West).

“We extended Pierce probably about 10 more pitches than we wanted to,” Lees said. “But, I mean, Carson pitched really, really well today. It’s gonna be a very nice addition.”

Pierce didn’t hesitate to jump straight into attack mode. He registered a nine-pitch, 1-2-3 inning in the top of the first, fanning one Falmouth batter in the process. An Oklahoma product, Pierce carried a 3.94 ERA through the 2023 collegiate season in 29.2 innings pitched.

While it didn’t look super familiar for Chatham supporters to see Kaeden Kent in the leadoff position, the result of his first at-bat did. The team-leader in batting average, with a .306 clip, lifted an opposite-field single to chase the Anglers’ first base of the matchup. Nevertheless, Falmouth starter Evan O’Toole induced a ground-out double play and a deep popout to quiet the A’s in the bottom of the frame.

Pierce garnered another speedy inning in the top of the second with two punchouts. Despite starting the third inning by surrendering a roped single to Gavin Kilen, Pierce sat down the next three Commodore batters, adding his fourth strikeout along the way.

“Everything was working,” Lees said of Pierce. “I think he’s got a great fastball with good sync. He’s got a slider. He can get those two pitches anytime he wants. Threw a lot of strikes.”

Pierce zoomed through the top of the fourth frame. His jumpy, invigorated energy shined through as he quickly tallied his fifth total strikeout on Falmouth’s Kade Snell to end the frame.

O’Toole, meanwhile, didn’t fare a similar fate in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Nolan Schubart spit out a grounder to right field for Chatham’s third hit of the contest and his college teammate at Oklahoma State, Tyler Wulfert, dribbled a soft hit down the third-base foul line. Grabbing the ball from below his waist, O’Toole spun around and slung to first base. The ball sailed five feet over the head of Falmouth first baseman Tyler MacGregor, however, scoring Schubart.

“We’re in a position now where we can mix and match whenever we want to,” Lees said of the lineup. “We want to feel good that we can put anybody in the outfield and anybody in the infield. These kids got at-bats against high-level competition today and performed.”

Xavier Casserilla looped a single to put Angler runners on the corners for Kyson Donahue but the lefty from Hawaii struck out.

By Pierce’s 60th pitch of the game, the Sooner had already breezed through the first five innings without a scab.

“Being behind him in the infield and seeing his ball move, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a ball move as much as his ball did,” Kent said of Pierce. “He did a great job in the zone. He threw his pitches with aggression.”

In the bottom of the fifth frame, Kent littered his second hit of the night which just escaped the leather of Commodore third baseman Kyle DeBarge. Bryce Martin-Grudzielanek doubled into deep left-center to score Kent, who was close-lined by Falmouth catcher Luke Heyman as he flew into the bag, making it 2–0 in Chatham’s favor.

“Being in the Cape is tough,” Kent said. “So I’m just approaching every game with a good attitude. Trying to have a clear mind and a clear head. Trying to compete like it’s your last game every single day.”

The Commodore’s three-run frame ensued from there and Brasosky’s night didn’t get any prettier. MacGregor laced a single over Martin-Grudzielanek’s head in the top of the eighth inning to give Falmouth its fourth run. A four-pitch walk to Heyman loaded the bases but the Kansas left-hander fanned Kilen to sleep the Commodores’ lineup.

As Casserilla marched onto the mound from third base in the top of the ninth inning, Chatham’s dugout was the only group at Veterans Field who found it amusing.

Even though he allowed a moonshot to Nick Humphreys, folding his arms as the ball landed over the center-field fence to give Falmouth a 5–2 lead, Casserilla was backed by the Anglers’ dugout every step of the way. He smiled as he induced a double play to end the frame.

“Baseball is a beautiful game but it’s also a very frustrating game,” Kent said.