Chatham beats Brewster 7–4 in final home game, obtains 3-game win streak
by Tyler Schiff Wednesday, August 02, 2023
Orange merged with navy blue, making up one final sunset over Veterans Field.
Darkness neared and the rounded frames of six surrounding flood lights flickered on. Its beams accented classic pinstripe uniforms, scattered across an ageless green backdrop and a pristine, clay diamond.
Chatham’s 2023 season ended without a playoff berth. Yet, its last home game showcased an Anglers triumph.
A 7–4 win over Brewster on Tuesday marked Chatham’s third consecutive victory, its longest streak in 2023. Utilizing a 5–0 lead after five innings, the Anglers executed with comfort and composure without having to “chase the game.” Chatham collected 10 hits, highlighted by a Deric Fabian solo home run and a 4–4 night from Kaeden Kent, to clinch its first win against the Whitecaps this season.
“Sometimes it may seem like we’re giving up a little bit but we’ve been having competitive at-bats, trying to be as consistent as possible,” Kent said. “Being able to win here, in our last game at home, that’s pretty cool.”
Trey Gibson began his final outing of the summer with two 1–2–3 innings. He ended the first delivering six consecutive strikeouts and breezed through the second, inducing routine putouts from Jared Jones, Mason White and Brock Tibbits.
Kent dove. He slipped sideways to avoid a tag-out at first base and remained safe. Kent had started toward second after placing a floater in right field. The single drove Brennan Holt home in the bottom of the first. Holt previously arrived in scoring position following his 10th hit and fifth stolen base this season.
Entering the second frame, Brewster’s Darien Smith replaced starter Patrick Forbes. With a third straight postseason berth already clinched, Whitecaps’ manager Jamie Shevchik likely did not want to spoil Forbes, who holds a 2.20 ERA through 17 1/3 innings pitched.
Thrust into the contest, Smith didn’t miss a beat. While Forbes gave up a score, Smith retired Chatham’s offense in the second frame by forcing a fly-out from Bryce Martin-Grudzielanek.
Chatham’s three-hole batter Tyler Wulfert earned a walk, putting two runners on. A passed ball already advanced Kent to second with two outs in the bottom of the third. But, Zach MacDonald grounded out to first baseman Jones. He didn’t even attempt to run and walked back to the third-base dugout, hastily.
Gibson continued to pursue his bid for a no-hitter in the top of the fourth inning despite walking Michael Robertson and Jonah Sebring back-to-back. Chopping his right foot nervously at the mound, Gibson forced a couple of grounders to escape a jam and return the Anglers offense.
“Earlier in the season he was trying to pick at the strike zone,” Shelton said. “What he’s done in the last couple of outings is find the middle. He had dozens of ground balls. Most of hits outs were ground ball outs.”
Brewster cycled across two more pitchers before the end of the fifth frame. In the fourth, Brendan Walker, who later gave way to Luke Lyman an inning later, tossed a couple of errant pitches, bringing home Trace Willhoite. Fabian lined a one-run shot to right field to make things 3–0.
In the bottom of the fifth, MacDonald singled to tack on the Anglers’ fourth run. A passed ball from Walker gave Chatham a 5–0 lead.
Gibson’s no-hitter ended when Tyler Pettorini’s barrel connected on the opening pitch of his second at-bat. Gibson’s valiant efforts to silence Brewster’s offense were successful until the sixth inning. He was met by an ensemble of scattered applause.
Brewster’s Adarius Myers took one to right field for a double. Then, Hunter D’Amato sent a fair ball teetering along the first-base foul line to score Pettorini which retired Gibson’s shutout hopes.
Next, Gibson’s wiggling delivery raced past catcher Hudson White and collided with the backstop. Myers, who was perched at third base, went the final 90-feet untouched. The Anglers’ lead was shortened to 5–2.
Starting pitcher Trey Gibson (Liberty) on Aug. 1, 2023, at Veterans Field Emma Connelly / Chatham Anglers
White paid Gibson a mound visit. Home plate umpire, Michael Hinojosa, broke up a lengthy discussion but Chatham’s interim manager Todd Shelton emerged from the dugout. Shelton motioned to the bullpen, signaling for Shane Van Dam after Gibson’s 5 2/3 innings.
“He really just got tired,” Shelton said. “It’s a long summer and he was getting close to 80 pitches. He just got tired.”
Fabian re-established a commanding four-score advantage when he sent a home run towering over the left field fence. He celebrated by rounding second base in a Jordan-esque shrugging motion in the sixth inning.
Kent knocked his third hit in three tries to right field. Each of his swings illustrated a fluid, picture-perfect motion. Connection was imminent.
“He reads pitches and he reads pitchers,” Shelton said of Kent. “ He’ll pull the ball when they’re trying to get him in and he’ll hit the ball the other way when they’re trying to go away. He’s been very consistent.”
Van Dam, who helped Gibson escape the sixth inning, maintained Chatham’s 6–2 lead through the seventh. However, a hit-by-pitch, sandwiched between two walks, loaded the bases in the top of the eighth with no outs.
In response, Shelton brought on Jack Brodsky. Immediately, a failed pickoff try at first-base allowed D’Amato to scamper home. A fly-out to Holt in center field ensued and Brodsky struck out Tibbits to end the top of the eighth.
Kent took a ball to left-center field for his fourth hit of the evening. His shot scored Holt, extending Chatham’s advantage. And, the Angler bats never returned.
Equipped with a healthy cushion to work with, Brodsky relinquished one more run in the ninth but barred any further changes in a commanding home win.
“Especially lately, our pitchers have been rolling,” Kent said, “I think it’s a mixture of fighting through hard times and playing a little more free. Momentum is huge.”
For one final time in 2023, the illuminated, intricately carved, royal blue scoreboard went dark. Atop the display perched a dark red Anglers’ ‘A.’ It waved ever so slightly in the summer wind, bidding a final farewell.