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Chatham gives up seven runs combined between sixth and seventh frames in 9–3 loss to Hyannis

by Graham Dietz
Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Chatham gives up seven runs combined between sixth and seventh frames in 9–3 loss to Hyannis
Kyson Donahue crouched in an athletic pose and tilted his head upwards to make a routine fly-out. Motionless, Donahue waited as the ball approached him.

Fans at Veterans Field probably didn’t think anything of it. Donahue was set to make the final out in the top of the first inning of Chatham’s home matchup against Hyannis Tuesday night. But when Donahue began to stumble backwards, they probably assumed something was wrong.

“That one, just the time of day and with the sun shining in and the crowd in the bleachers—it can get kind of tough to see,” Chatham center fielder Zach MacDonald said. “In center you get true reads but in both gaps, in the corner outfield, the ball is gonna do weird things.”

Donahue misjudged the trajectory of a Brandon Eike fly-ball, which cushioned between the blue-matted fence and the warning track in right field. Cameron Smith, an All-Star for the Harbor Hawks and a member of the All-ACC Freshman Team at Florida State, had already reached first base with a single. Eike’s hit, which Donahue should’ve easily snuffed out, scored Smith to put Hyannis up 1–0.

There is a saying in baseball that goes “it is a game of inches.” That saying stands true for most sports. For Donahue, it was probably a game of a few feet. But it didn’t stop Hyannis from capitalizing on the mistake, as the Anglers (10–23–2 East) dropped a 9–3 loss to the Harbor Hawks (22–13–2 West) and their third defeat in a row.

“They barreled a lot of baseballs today,” MacDonald said. “And it felt like a lot of them were barely out of reach.”

Donahue made up for his mishap in the bottom of the second inning, slapping a single through the left side of the infield to put a runner on first and second base with one out. Hayden Frank, however, fanned Jayden Melendez and Trace Willhoite consecutively to halt Chatham’s lineup.

A sixth strikeout for Frank ended the Anglers’ bid at the plate in the bottom of the third frame. Frank nudged a breaking ball into the dirt which took one hop and skipped into Hyannis catcher Brody Donay’s lap behind home plate. Chatham’s three-hole batter, Lane Forsythe, meanwhile, extended his barrel through the middle of the zone and checked just far enough to be called out swinging.

Melendez hustled out to meet Jack Sokol on the bump. Sokol, Chatham’s starter, allowed a single and a walk before Donay stepped up to the plate in the top of the fourth inning.

“He throws a pitch about every eight seconds,” Chatham acting manager Marty Lees said of Sokol’s tempo. “I think that’s a good rhythm. Throws bottom of the zone and doesn’t give hitters a chance to reset and go to the next pitch. That’s because of his pace.”

After walking Donay, however, Lees signaled a mound visit, corralling the entire Anglers’ infield. With the bases juiced, Eric Snow sliced a ball to Forsythe at short who couldn’t stop Will Taylor from scoring. Trey Lipsey grounded out, keeping the Harbor Hawks with a slim 2–0 advantage.

While Sokol made way for Chatham reliever Tommy Molsky to break out of a jam in the top of the fifth frame, two Anglers quietly snuck onto first and second base with no outs in the bottom of the inning.

After Melendez walked, Willhoite trickled a grounder right through Snow’s legs at second. Snow placed both hands on his temples, revealing a confused posture.

An errant throw to first base produced Chatham’s first run of the affair and ended the A’s 15-inning scoreless streak. Willhoite raced home to score on a wild pitch by Hyannis reliever Dennis Colleran, to knot the game at two apiece, and Bryce Martin-Grudzielanek laced an RBI single to right field to give the A’s a 3–2 lead. All three of Chatham’s runs weren’t labeled as earned runs for Frank, though.

“It’s good to be able to take advantage and get the button down,” Lees said. “I had an inkling that they would intentionally walk [Nolan] Schubart but I still felt good about the inning. That’s the chance you got to take and Bryce did that.”

The Harbor Hawks took the lead right back in the top of the sixth frame. After garnering his first strikeout of the contest, Molsky surrendered three base hits in a row—courtesy of Jonathan Gazdar, Donay and Snow—to create another one-run hole for the Anglers.

“Too many balls left in the middle of the plate,” Lees said. “They [Chatham’s pitchers] know that but you gotta execute better. Three hits in a row, they’re not in the corner just right down the middle.”

Chatham reliever Jack Brodsky, in the stretch, glanced toward third base before firing. Eike stalled as the pitch soared into the zone. Without taking a load, the righty Harbor Hawk sloped his bat, so his hands stayed above the tip of his barrel, and roped an opposite-field RBI single to right-center in the top of the seventh frame.

With the bases loaded, Brodsky walked Gazdar for Hyannis’ sixth run and Snow clobbered a sacrifice fly to left field to give the Harbor Hawks a 7–3 lead. Lipsey put the cherry on top as he clocked a two-run single into left-center. The low-flying shot zoomed right over the mound, which featured Trey Gibson instead of Brodsky.

“These are our last few games together as a team,” MacDonald said. “Last time we’re gonna play with some of these guys for the rest of our lives. I think we’re just going forward trying to enjoy it.”