Chatham allows Y-D to score in four consecutive innings in 7–4 home loss
In the sport of baseball, the closer role is indispensable.
Oregon State’s Aiden Jimenez didn’t find out he was going to play for Chatham until midway through the 2023 Cape Cod Baseball League season. But, seven Angler appearances and an All-Star selection later, Jimenez is undoubtedly Chatham’s best reliever.
So, it was surprising when Yarmouth-Dennis tallied a run on the righty in the top of the ninth inning—a position he typically thrives in.
In 10.1 innings pitched ahead of the Anglers’ home matchup with the Red Sox, Jimenez garnered a 1.74 ERA and a 2–0 record. Despite posting a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the eighth, the six-foot-two hurler relinquished a one-run single to Y-D’s Ryan Stafford in the following frame. It didn’t count as an earned run for Jimenez but the insurance score was just enough to put the Red Sox out of reach.
Just a day after completing a 10-run comeback at Cotuit Wednesday, the A’s manufactured just one run after the fourth inning in a 7–4 loss to Y-D. Chatham (9–20–2 East) compiled its best four-game stretch leading up to Thursday’s matchup, going 2–1–1, but runs in four consecutive innings for the Red Sox (18–14–1 East) proved to be the deciding factor.
“The commitment to throwing strikes was there today,” Chatham acting manager Marty Lees said. “The game today was decided on errors. We had three but it felt more like five, in my opinion.”
Tanner Witt bent over and fluttered his wrist. He rocked and delivered the first pitch of the game. Brady Day slid his bat through the center of the zone, sprinkling a looper to first base. The ball ricocheted off Kaeden Kent’s glove as Day safely landed on the bag.
Despite handing out a hit to Yarmouth-Dennis’ first batter of the contest, the Anglers recorded three straight outs to end the top of the first inning.
“A very confident man,” Lees said of Witt. “Even though he was drafted he feels like there’s more in the tank. For him, to come back is really important to him. These innings are valuable. His bullpens have been good and he just keeps on grinding. Kids that can do that—they’ll reap the rewards.”
Similar to the first inning, Witt allowed the first Y-D batter to reach safely in the top of the second, walking Ryan Stafford. Another strikeout and two induced flyouts, however, kept the Red Sox scoreless. Y-D starter Finnegan Wall produced a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the frame.
The pitcher’s duel continued for just one more half inning. Kent fired a missile through second base to put a runner on first and third with no outs. Deric Fabian paused for a brief second to let the ball sizzle past him before jogging to second base.
Tyler Wulfert placed his black-tipped barrel above his head, waggled, and blooped a single into right field to record the Anglers’ first run and advance Kent to third base. Nolan Schubart cranked an RBI sacrifice fly to score Kent but Wulfert was thrown out at first.
“Tyler can hit,” Lees said. “Big-12 newcomer of the year, he expands our lineup. He typically plays third for Oklahoma State but we’re kind of working on settling him in the outfield. That’s probably where we're the thinnest but being able to move him around gives us flexibility and he’s banging it up at the plate.”
In the top of the fourth frame, Manny Garza stung a low-rising single into center field to put two Yarmouth-Dennis runners aboard with two outs. Zander Darby pushed a near-identical hit to score RJ Austin from second base, cutting the deficit to 2–1.
Witt’s control loosened as he spiked a pitch into the dirt to advance the runners into scoring position. The Red Sox took a 3–2 lead when Jackson pummeled a single to right field.
The A’s quickly knotted up the game in the bottom of the fourth inning. In his second at-bat of the contest, Kyson Donahue blasted a moonshot over the left-field short porch. The hit marked Donahue’s first homer of the summer.
“I’ve been putting in a lot of work behind the scenes to get to this point,” Donahue said. “So I’m glad it’s paying off in a sense. I saw a lot of sliders early in the count and he was trying to come in with the heater. He just left it out over the plate too much and I got a piece of wood on it.”
Hunter Hines split a grounder into a double play in the top of the fifth frame but scored Theo Hardy in the process, recapturing a 4–3 lead for Y-D.
Chatham reliever Tommy Molsky, who replaced Witt in the fifth inning, kneeled above his left leg and dangled his throwing arm. Jackson loaded and swooped under a Molsky slider. Fabian, camped under the ball, raised both arms as it sailed just 10 feet past him. Paxton Kling ran home to add the Red Sox’s fifth run in the top of the sixth.
“Unfortunately, they had timely hitting,” Donahue said of Y-D’s at-bats. “I think it really came down to that. I never felt like we were out of it at any time.”
After Chatham left Schubart stranded on second base in the bottom of the sixth frame, Y-D’s leadoff batter, William Gleed, typed the exclamation mark with a no-doubter to left field. Gleed’s first homer of the season drifted from right to left and settled in the outfield batting cages to put the A’s down by three.
Grudzielanek helped the A’s answer back in the bottom of the seventh inning, softly dinking an RBI single through the middle of the infield, but that was all Chatham mustered. The Red Sox labeled a seventh run in the top of the ninth.
“We’re certainly playing for that,” Lees said of a playoff push. “There’s no other reason not to play for it. But, again, I think the playoffs and those things take care of itself when you just come out and play good baseball. We have enough that if we make it, we can do what we want.”